Are multifunctional shared services the future?
Finance, Finance shared services, HR, IT, Leadership / Governance, Process excellence / Compliance, Procurement, Public sector, Talent
As most of our readers will know, shared services centres are established to help businesses become more efficient and allow the company to focus on value-adding activities. When companies reach a certain size and scale, the needs for automation and standardisation of certain functions become essential.
Once a shared service centre is established and the benefits of automation and standardisation realised, (cost savings, process efficiencies, etc..) a natural question to ask is what else can we move to the shared services model?
Finance is often the first function that is chosen for shared services, as functions such as accounts payable are ripe for automation. The next most popular areas to move to shared services are typically IT, HR, Procurement, Customer Service and Sales and Marketing.
There are many Multifunctional Shared Services Centres that have proved that a joined up effort can help a company operate efficiently and support the business through growth and expansion.
However it is important to remember that simply having several functions in a shared services model is not the same as having a Multifunctional Shared Services Centre.
What you don’t want is to have several shared services which stand independently from each other and aren’t coordinated. When this is the case, you’re creating the same kind of silo operation that shared services are supposed to cure.
What you do want is a joint and integrated effort. Beyond simply co-locating your shared services, you can achieve great savings from joined up technology procurement, shared governance models and leadership. This integrated approach can also help you attract and retain talented individuals who might be interested in a diverse career with lateral career opportunities.
Expanding your shared services should help you save and add value. If your shared services are expanding in scope, how are you trying to ensure you maintain value and ensure you have knowledgeable leadership in each of the functions?