Global leaders today strongly believe that Shared Services, whether in-sourcing or outsourcing are key contributors to driving efficiencies and tackling market pressures. The approach enables companies to eliminate non value-added activities, automate essential processes, and benefit from standardization, economies of scale and specialized skills. Large companies have built their own shared services centers (SSCs), aimed at reducing costs, and increasing controls & compliance initiatives. However, many of them are still struggling to get the desired impact and cost benefits. Strategic Business units (SBUs) spread across distributed locations are not happy with the services and SLAs delivered. Also, it is difficult to convince internal customers to follow the restructured processes, leading to delays in approvals and conflict betweens the operations team and finance users. With shared services, organizations are unable to track resource productivity & real time transaction status, creating difficulty in equal distribution of work among users. Exceptions handling consume 80% of resource time as they struggle to streamline transactions originated from distributed locations. Above all, payment delays are leading to vendor and business stakeholder dissatisfaction.
Most organizations would relate to the above issues. These are common challenges, which decision makers from financial shared services, globally, are facing today. Even after ‘years’ of BPRs, investments in IT, and process standardizations SSCs are still unable to meet the desired goals & productivity.
We all know that organization structures, including People, Process and Governance are the key to the success of such initiatives, but collaborating all of them is always an up-hill task. Today, technology provides multiple options for automation but choosing the right solution is quite complex. Many organizations have already made huge investments in technology, but are struggling to work as per the process flows defined by these disparate software products. Therefore, they end up doing significant amount of manual work over and above the work done by rigid, complex and expensive software solutions.
Global surveys by leading business consulting & advisory services companies and our customer interactions suggest that ERP, Self Service, Case Management, Agile Workflows, Reporting, Imaging/Scanning and Call centre tools are the top priorities for CXOs running successful shared services. Most organizations have already invested in ERP, Self Services and reporting, yet they are still searching for ways to streamline & automate the manual process flows, exceptions, and approvals.
For overcoming these challenges, some companies implement AP (P2P), AR (O2C) and GL etc. related point solutions to automate the processes being managed by financial SSCs. However, such out-of-box, point solutions are not flexible enough to adapt with the dynamic organization needs. Customizations are complex, and they always lag behind the ever changing business needs. Moreover, with point solutions many shared services fail to motivate & convince internal stakeholders, to work on their rigid rules, as they don’t quite adhere to company’s structure, culture and core values. Also, they fail to meet the unique industry challenges in an efficient manner.
In order to meet the dynamic needs of all functional departments and regional business units, smart companies automate their process ecosystem using an agile Business Process Management platform. BPM capabilities enable organizations to master routine and unpredictable work for optimized performance.
An agile BPM platform enables SSCs to:-
- Quickly and effectively automate core business processes like Accounts Payable, Accounts receivable etc.
- Centralize transaction spread across distributed operations
- Capture transactions’ real point and time of origination
- Auto route transactions to scattered business users for approval
- Efficiently manage exceptions
- Auto notify users before they miss TATs and SLAs
- Load balance work, based on business priorities without any human dependence
- Auto escalate idle transactions, assuring no delays
- Timely act on discrepancies before they become a problem
- Easily integrate with one or more ERP systems for auto validations & posting
- Increase the productivity of knowledge workers
- Service internal and external customers, meeting all SLAs
- Measure business KPIs on a real time basis
- Seamlessly integrate the human centric KPIs with employee KRAs
Another major benefit with BPM platform is that Shared Services can easily extend sub processes and various non-core business needs on a single, collaborated BPM platform.
Highlighted below are a few examples:
- Helpdesk or query management process to service internal & external customers
- Request management system for managing various ad-hoc needs of distributed business users
- Exception management process for managing discrepancies in reconciliations
- Self services for internal employees, customers and vendors
Automating these sub process on a unified BPM platform, along with core shared service processes, motivates business users to actively contribute by increasing the overall user adaptability for system.
We at Newgen have automated various global financial shared services, and enabled them to meet their objectives. In our experience, no two financial shared services are same with each having their unique needs and challenges. Therefore, BPM based automation is ideal for realizing the end goals. Newgen’s BPM platform adds further value for shared service automation needs, as it organically comes with inbuilt imaging, data extraction, document management and reporting capabilities, thus reducing dependency on multiple applications and delivering one unified system for all operational needs.