A Shared Service Center (SSC) in an organization handles the delivery of operational tasks such as human resources, IT, accounting and payroll. An SSC is usually a spin-off of corporate services, separating transactional tasks to allow corporate headquarters to undertake a more strategic and leadership function. While an SSC is designed to reduce operational costs, the rise of new technologies in optimizing businesses also offers an opportunity for shared services to increase cost-efficiency as well as add value to the organization.
The success of SSCs depends on the people, process and technology. Below describes how the interaction among these three important elements contributes to the successful implementation of SSCs.
Willingness to Adopt New Technology
When a business automates its processes, SSCs should not take a back seat. Innovations such as cloud integration, mobile apps, ERP, CRM and RPA are just some of the options for automating shared services activities that will enable businesses to become more agile and competitive. Automating shared services functions will speed up processing time and approval of transactions, reduce human errors and enhance data accessibility. Automated shared services will allow HR, finance and IT teams will have more time to focus on improving processes and policies in order to provide customers and stakeholders better service.
Continuous Process Improvement
SSCs must continue to seek ways to improve service quality to increase customer satisfaction and lower costs. Driving continuous improvement through investment in training programs such as ISO, Lean Six Sigma and other frameworks will equip employees with new skills that may help them provide a better customer-centric experience.
The High Level of Employee Engagement
A business will not run on its systems and equipment alone. SSCs are comprises a significant percentage of the workforce, making them an important focus of employee engagement initiatives. Highly-engaged employees are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that customers are happy and satisfied. They also work with passion and a positive attitude, inspiring other employees to feel the same. These types of employees are open to innovations that will help move the business forward. An engaged workforce will translate to increased productivity and profitability, better attendance statistics and lower attrition rates.
Effective and Inspiring Leadership
Much of the activity in SSCs happen at the front line. While it is important that the front line is handled by highly-skilled professionals, SSCs should also have a leadership team that can drive and inspire its workforce to deliver a positive customer experience. A strong leader not only provides expertise but must also act as a stable anchor for the team, displaying resilience and confidence when faced with setbacks and obstacles. They should also provide a challenging work environment that will foster teamwork, innovation and communication.
Optimizing Shared Service Centers by using the technology, focusing on talent management, searching for opportunities and practices to improve will result in a competitive business. It may not be a fast and easy journey, but keeping the above critical factors in mind will guide businesses in the right direction.