Today, more than ever, organizations across the board are looking for ways to improve their bottom line by reducing operational costs and turnaround times and improving productivity and efficiency. An increasingly popular and effective way to achieve this objective is to establish a shared service centre.

However, to tap into the wealth of opportunities that a shared services model provides, organizations need to become familiar with the management, technological, and process challenges and develop an efficient framework to support SSC deployment. Done correctly, after a strategic evaluation of processes, a shared service centre can bring significant benefits to businesses. Some of the benefits of a SSC are:

  • Centralized back-office functions with predominantly a transactional focus
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better service quality
  • Access to a pool of skilled staff with specialized skills
  • Adoption of best practice approaches
  • Shifting the focus of staff from redundant operations to innovation
  • Continuous performance improvement

Although a shared service model has so many benefits, many early adopters of this model failed to realize true strategic value from this proposition. Why? The two key determinants of success for a SSC are customer satisfaction and continued cost reduction. To achieve sustainable measures for both these indicators, a strategic evaluation of the processes to be transferred and a sound understanding of the tools, design and implementation of a shared service centre are imperative. Identification of the business processes best suited for a shared services conversion is critical to SSC success. Efficient functioning of noncore business units and optimization of processes to reduce costs and oversight, not only allow businesses to offer better pricing, but also improved customer service and shorter turnaround times.

The shared service phenomenon is all about simplifying enterprise processes and driving continuous process improvement. To optimize the benefits of moving to shared services, organizations should implement a business process management solution (BPM). BPM improves overall visibility into the business and provides enterprises with the necessary tools and skills to quickly respond to marketplace developments. While SSCs strive to stabilize processes, BPM helps the parent organization in continuous process improvement and acts as a catalyst for change. BPM enables SSCs to adapt to the changes faster and hence contributes directly to helping the parent organizations in faster realization of sustainable business value.