Paring costs has been critical for organizations that were hit hard during the recession.
Shared services centers (SSCs) are growing in popularity as organizations increasingly understand the savings potential that can be realized. But what exactly is an SSC, and how can your organization benefit? In simplistic terms, ‘shared services’ is the consolidation of business operations used by multiple business units within the same organization. The idea behind setting up an SSC is to be able to centralize and standardize processes across all services domains to reduce operating costs, drive economies of scale, establish and follow best practices to improve service levels, and build efficiencies by removing redundancies.
Deep savings can be achieved by organizations that manage their shared services initiatives effectively. A recent survey done by MeriTalk found that an SSC model for IT, for example, could save the U.S. federal government as much as $28 billion annually.
While the SSC model has the ability to deliver huge savings for organizations, manual processes around managing an SSC’s service can eat into much of those savings and be a major challenge for the various stakeholders, who include the SSCs themselves (service providers), the internal clients (service consumers), and the company executives (decision makers at the organization level).
Here are the main challenges each face:
Shared Service Centers:
- No visibility into the services delivered to the various internal clients, or the associated costs
- Extreme difficulty in approving and managing numerous service requests while maintaining service levels
- No capability to give accurate project estimates to clients or execs
- Inability to understand or forecast the future pipeline of service requests and the resource demand
- Unable to manage the productivity of their resources
- Lack of insight into the services that are being offered and delivered by the various service centers
- Lack of control over the costs incurred for the services consumed by their teams
- Lack of awareness of the project status or resources they are utilizing
- No visibility into services delivered globally across service centers
- Chargeback models are a constant source of friction between the internal clients and the SSC, and often require executive intervention
- Lack of visibility into SSC service level adherence and other metrics for delivering similar services
- Lack of integration with systems like ERP and HRIS due to disparate systems used by SSCs
Cloud-based solution takes pain out of managing SSCs
The above challenges can be easily overcome by automating the tracking of resource time spent on projects. A Shared Service Management solution can help each stakeholder:
- Get visibility into metrics that are important to their functioning
- Optimize economies of scale, and centralize efficiency, control, and accountability
- Provide detailed views into services delivered by the SSC and consumed by the internal clients
- Easily capture time and costs of all services delivered
- Manage SSC resources effectively to get most out of them
- Manage the future pipeline of service requests and resource demand
- Compare productivity metrics across similar SSCs to uncover inefficiencies, skill gaps, and training needs
- Streamline the chargeback process and eliminate internal departmental friction