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After the Gold Rush…

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Editor Coda

RPA is SO exciting – and once stakeholders see proof-of-concepts that reduce 90 minute processes down to 2 minutes, business leaders tend to want to see RPA everywhere.

2018 will be a year when adoption continues to climb, with 6 out of 10 SSOs having fully implemented or piloting RPA by the end of the year*. But a word of caution: be sure you make considered steps. See that the underlying process is ‘good’ and make sure you avoid having to unpick poorly installed robots which were installed in haste. Keep a keen eye on best practice methodologies when moving to implementation, and understand it’s not a silver bullet – you will still need your enabling technologies, so don’t neglect focus on this.

A Brilliant Mind

What is coming down the pike next really is revolutionary – and not all of us know this yet. The intelligence that Machine Learning and AI will offer your shared services world is almost too big to take in. We have to lift ourselves out of our everyday habits and workings and expectations, to begin to comprehend the significant results AI has to offer. 2018 might no be your year of AI implementation (you are too busy installing robots, after all), but let it be your year of study. Study AI. Understand what it can do, and what it can tell you. Find out which providers already have AI baked into their offering (Coupa, Celonis, High Radius, for example), and get close to these providers. When you are ready to implement AI-based technologies, your shared services offering will see a significant shift. 

Budgets and Decisions

RPA has brought a lot of good – for instance the impact it’s having on how companies make decisions. The shared services industry sometimes stagnates because decisions that should be made quickly take far too long, or are vetoed by people outside the process. This means technology decisions take months and sometimes years to push through, and the champions driving decisions are often left exhausted and demotivated. We are seeing a sea change here, with people in the process (Global Process Owners, for example) being granted more power. They get to lead solution assessments, get to lead the decision, and get to spend their own budget. This change is quite subtle, but it’s there, and in 2018 we will see more of it. The change needs to happen quicker, though. GPOs need more power to drive through decisions at a faster (not to be confused with reckless) pace, and to buy solutions from their own purse. If you are a GPO, and this doesn’t describe you, what needs to change so it does…?

Lift and Shift Outsourcing is Looking a Bit Ugly

2018 will likely be the year when standard outsource agreements see a steep decline. We are already seeing it. Large enterprises that are in the middle of long-term contracts are trying to ‘back out’ of part or all of the agreements, and conversations like this: ’should we outsource or should we roboticize?’ are bubbling up. The outsourcers that focus on lift-and-shift, and offer very limited continuous improvement, will inevitably feel the hit in 2018. Those that focus on transformation, and have already acquired RPA and AI companies, likely have growth ahead of them. 

The Beautiful Same-Old

One cannot get away from the truth of what shared services is all about – centralize, standardize, automate, and improve, while offering the best service to your internal customer/business partner, and fulfilling its needs. Some dare to think this sounds simple, but it’s not – it’s huge, it’s complicated, and there are often thousands of people affected or involved on the way. We look to kind, compassionate leadership to help us make the right decisions, communicate intelligently, and nurture our teams. Our work force is becoming a lot more diversified – Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials all have different wants and expectations. Leaders need to train new leaders in order to secure succession planning, but also to keep teams happy and productive, and customers pleased.  With technology now front-and-center of most people’s thinking, 2018 needs to be a time to hold focus on strong leadership, communications, and nurturing people to help them flourish.


If any of the above topics are of interest to you then take a look at our upcoming summits, as there will be plenty of case studies shared and discussions had. 


*taken from a sharedserviceslink study.

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