The benefits of shared services | A brief guide
Interest in shared services is rising, driven by the need to squeeze more value and costs out of organizations, both public and private. But driving down costs is only one of the reasons for adopting a shared services approach.
Below are just some of the key benefits – often organizations get many additional improvements from a shared services approach.
The Key Benefits of Shared Services
- Increased Efficiency / Reduced Costs
Achieved through centralizing dispersed operations and gaining economies of scale, as well as the opportunity to locate the operation in a low (or relatively low) cost location to reduce staff and infrastructure costs as well as taxation.
- Process Standardization
Having central control of key operations means you can more easily impose (and update) standard processes across the organization. This allows you to adopt best practice and in turn can drive efficiency and improved service.
- Improved levels of service
Often cited as a key outcome of a shared services approach, centralizing key operations allows you to adopt best practice in delivering services internally and externally, respond to changing requirements and undertake continuous improvement.
- Increased professionalization
Centralizing specialist services often gives a better opportunity to focus on the training and skills deployed in their delivery, which can often be overlooked or not practical when they were dispersed around the organization.
- Improved staff prospects
Centralizing teams focused on key processes often results in better career prospects for good staff, helping motivation and driving up skill levels.
- Better technology
As well as improving processes and professionalization, centralizing services often means you can replace multiple dispersed IT systems with a single, modern one exploiting the latest technology and contributing to improved service levels and efficiency.
Technology for Shared Services
Getting the right business systems in place is critical for a shared services centre; the right choice will enable a fast set up, make bringing new divisions or customers on board a straightforward task, and will support the ability to cope with changing business requirements.
Large, monolithic systems are time-consuming to implement, hard to change and difficult to integrate with other applications, meaning that ‘Big ERP’ is often not the right choice for organizations. Setting up a shared services center can be the ideal time to also review your technology and benchmark your systems against what is available on the market.
UNIT4 offers exciting alternatives as a platform for your shared services operation:
- Agresso Business World is an ERP system for service-intensive organisations. It is an integrated solution offering unrivalled post-implementation agility – the ability for users to swiftly and easily change the system to reflect changes in business process, structure or reporting, without the need for armies of external consultants. It has a strong track record in the shared services market, with highly successful SSCs in areas like Health, Local Government, Emergency Services, Professional Services and other public and commercial sectors.
- CODA Financials is a best-of-class, international finance system that offers straightforward integration with multiple existing systems that customers may have in place. Used across all sectors, its ability to handle even the most complex and fast-changing multinational accounting is widely recognised. CODA is at the heart of many shared services operations worldwide, particularly where there are many different operational systems in place that must be linked into a central, global finance platform.
We also offer unique process management tools that can be used to control and automate processes across a SSC, including month end close and compliance processes. In addition we offer a number of other specialist solutions that are ideal for shared services centres: OCRA Consolidation and Cash Management and Sustain4 environmental performance management solution.
If you'd like to know more about our shared services options contact us.