A shared services center (SSC), also known as a global in-house center (GIC), is an internal organizational set up that delivers services to all other business units. Typically, SSCs encompass departments, namely human resources, finance, accounting, sales and marketing, production, legal, and administrative. These centers aim to create value for their customers by consolidating processes and centralizing back-office operations.
Traditionally looked at as a transactional function, SSCs have emerged as a key player in the value chain of an organization. Today, many leading SSCs have transformed and are extending strategic assistance while enabling intelligent decision-making across various units of their organizations. If we take a closer look at some of the SSC pioneers, some common characteristics set them apart from their peers.
Attain Business Objectives and Improve Business Outcomes
Take a look at the key traits that enable SSCs to achieve various business objectives such as:
- Maintaining leaner operations
- Gaining a competitive edge
- Delivering superior services
- Minimizing operational costs
- Maximizing operational efficiencies
- Boosting workforce productivity
- Expansion Strategy: Shared services initially serve a single geographic location and focus only on processing high-volume transactions. While it is a good place to set their footing, the failure to create a future expansion roadmap could lead to disjointed operations and limited functionality. Successful SSCs opt for a global delivery model and establish standardized policies across all geographies to plug the missing gaps and bridge data silos. They continuously expand the scope of their offerings to avoid getting stagnated as a transactional unit.
- Focus on Automation: In modern times, the significance of digital cannot be overlooked. Thus, the leading SSCs drive digital transformation by leveraging a wide gamut of new-age technologies, such as enterprise mobility, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence. Rules-based processes and machine learning capabilities help in maximizing efficiencies and reducing day-to-day operating costs by a significant margin. Further, automation activities over a centralized platform improve the turnaround time, service level agreement, enhance users’ productivity, thereby creating a nimble and competitive business unit.
- End-to-end Standardization: Global process owners (GPO) help in maintaining uniformity and standardization across various processes involved in SSCs, such as procure-to-pay, records-to-report, order-to-cash, e-invoicing, among others. GPOs take a holistic view of overall operations and ensure that they deliver an omnichannel customer experience across different locations via different channels. They monitor the industry best practices and set a standard benchmark for business users to ensure consistency in service delivery. This helps in eliminating redundancies, optimizing overall costs, and ensuring process quality. A defined framework also makes it easier to embrace agility and increase the scale of operations in the long run.
- Customer Experience Management: Customer-centricity may sound like a buzzword, but it is at the base of success for all organizations. Instilling a sense of trust and confidence in stakeholders is crucial for building a progressive SSC. To derive maximum value from shared services, the SSC pioneers primarily identify users and execute well-defined strategies to exceed their expectations at every stage. They leverage a built-in communication framework and engage with their users to tailor offerings based on their specific requirements.
- Continuous Process Improvement: Technology is changing fast, and the needs of modern consumers are evolving rapidly. Those SSCs that are pushing the boundaries to foster a culture of innovation are on a continuous lookout for enhancing their processes. They often utilize pre-defined rules for managing process changes in a dynamic environment. Doing so helps them in identifying and bridging process gaps that may exist in a process. Further, they brainstorm for new ideas to be able to future-proof their organization.
The Way Forward
Digital is at the heart of an SSC’s success and acquiring the industry’s best practices will help in deriving greater business value. These five aforementioned characteristics of best SSCs transform their shared services from transactional entities to knowledge-driven powerhouses that deliver improved business outcomes and exceptional services.
Authored by:- Mr. Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President – Technology, Newgen Software
(The views expressed in this article are by – Mr. Virender Jeet, Senior Vice President – Technology, Newgen Software. Technuter.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)