Overcoming the challenges of shared services @ #SSOWeek

The Shared Services & Outsourcing Week Autumn conference is in full swing! This event brings together shared services and IT leaders alike to discuss key issues influencing the performance of shared services centers, whether just in their infancy or fully mature global business services.

The Hyland team is thrilled to be here this week talking to business leaders about the benefits of enterprise content management (ECM) and process automation. If you’re at the conference too, stop by and see us at Booth #1.

Or, read on to see what our friends at The Outsourcing Institute say about automation being the best solution to help shared services leaders manage the complexity of their environments.

The challenge of shared services

Shared service solutions for accounting, document processing and other areas are seeing unprecedented adoption rates. In fact, over 53 percent of respondents said they used shared services to perform three or more functions, up from just 20 percent in 2013, according to a 2017 Deloitte survey.

The reason for this adoption is clear. Centralized services shared among business units help eliminate redundancy, improve consistency, increase productivity and reduce costs. Shared services are also continuing to contribute increasing value to companies, as 73 percent of respondents to the survey said adopting a shared service increased productivity by 5 percent or more.

Yet despite these benefits, as many as 72 percent of organizations not using global shared services do not plan to implement them in the future.

There are many reasons why companies are hesitant to adopt a shared service model. Although these solutions offer many benefits for those looking to improve their finance, document processing, accounting, invoicing and HR services, they can also come with increased complexity, initial investments and sometimes dramatic changes to day-to-day operations.

Moving services to a shared environment can decrease process visibility from the business unit’s perspective and create problems with integration into existing ERP and other systems. Organizations invested in disparate services broken up among business units will need to make a coordinated effort to consolidate and ensure internal adoption.

How automation improves shared services

Given the numerous challenges associated with shared services, many companies are looking for new ways to streamline the process and increase the benefits of adoption. At the forefront of this trend is automation. Innovative solutions dramatically improve shared service visibility, governance, usability, integration and productivity, helping to compensate for the challenges of adoption.

Here are three ways automation helps you overcome the challenges of shared services:

1. Better visibility and governance

Moving a service from a business unit can make it difficult for end users to have visibility into the process and exert control over operations. Automated solutions offer a centralized platform for tracking, adjustments and analysis. This improves coordination between business units and allows for better governance. It also makes standardized processes easier to follow and provides more control for compliance and risk management.

2. Increased productivity

Implementing automation can further increase the productivity benefits of using shared services. Automation can significantly upscale the workforce, allowing employees to do more. This effectively lowers the cost of the service, making it a more attractive alternative to decentralized services.

3. Seamless integration

Many shared services are difficult to integrate into existing systems and processes, such as ERPs. Automated platforms are usually better suited to communicate with other solutions and allow you to more seamlessly integrate them into your established ecosystem.

Make it a dual strategy

Companies looking to make the switch to global business services, but are feeling nervous about the increased difficulty introduced by the model should consider making automation a part of their strategy. By using automated solutions, companies can make shared services more productive, more usable and better integrated into existing workflows. This can amplify the benefits of shared services while minimizing many of their downsides.

If you’re at #SSOW Autumn, come talk to the Hyland at Booth #1 to learn more about how OnBase can support your shared services operations.

Michelle Beal is the business systems analyst supervisor at Gleaner Life Insurance Society. She has been with Gleaner Life for 20 years, starting on the business side of operations and moving into an IT role as the system administrator, shortly after the organization implemented OnBase in 2002. While the number of systems she and her team oversee has grown tremendously over the years, OnBase remains her favorite. Michelle currently serves as the Vice President of the Insurance VOGUE (Vertical OnBase Group of User Experts).

Michelle Beal

Michelle Beal is the business systems analyst supervisor at Gleaner Life Insurance Society. She has been with Gleaner Life for 20 years, starting on the business side of operations and... read more about: Michelle Beal