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What Does value Mean to Your Shared Service Centre?

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Susie West
CEO, sharedserviceslink

Shared service centres are generally created with the intention of saving the business money. Increasingly, mature shared service centres are focussing not only on cost savings, but value adding activities, providing better services and becoming a business partner.

The term that’s most often used to describe this trend is ‘moving up the value chain’. Yet ‘value’ and ‘value chain’ tend to be vaguely defined at best. Even if you have a definition of ‘value’ internally, is it the same definition that your customers are using? If you haven’t defined it how do you know if you are providing it?

Based on some recent research we’ve done with senior shared services professionals, here are some thoughts on what value means to shared service centres and their customers.

Maximising productivity through automation. By increasingly automating your end to End process in areas including Procure to Pay , Hire to Retire,  Record to Report and Order to Cash you will free up your employees from repetitive actions to enable them to perform value added analysis. This shift means that the dynamic of staff in an SSO is changing. Teams are no longer crunching and entering data (automated and electronic tools are there for this purpose), but instead judging and advising. To your clients you become more efficient, turnaround time improves with automation, as should the quality of your services.

Expanding the scope of services and functions.  Expanding in scope sees a further layer added to the shared services framework, and this is in the activities away from the obvious. Expanding your scope of services, (e.g., HR Talent Acquisition, Supply Chain indirect spend procurement activities, etc.) can help you capitalise on your economies of scale. To your clients you become a hub of activity to which they can receive better value.

Efficient organisational design. Right-shoring, or placing the business components and processes in locations that provide the best combination of cost and efficiency, whether that’s onshore, offshore or outsourced. Outsourcing can sometimes be right for your business, but not necessarily. It is a good exercise to bring in some outsourcers and hear their value proposition. Ultimately, you want an organisational design, where the system is doing the heavy work and there are data analytics on “front line” activities (e.g., sales, product roll-outs, etc.) in addition to back office (e.g., spend data control alerts). To your clients, you become a valued business partner that is able to feedback valuable information.

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