The community for leaders in finance shared services
Keywords: shared services, finance shared services, global process owner, Shared Services Leaders’ Summit, Atlanta, conference,
Blog Post | 17 October 2012
Author: Susie West
I find at conferences that some of the best conversations happen in the ladies’ loos. It’s commonly assumed that we are all in there powdering noses and applying lipstick.
But any man daring to put a cup against the door at a venue where a sharedserviceslink.com conference is happening will tune into an intimate conversation on shared services.
Last week I chaired our Shared Services Leaders’ Summit in Atlanta. One ‘must do’ that I urged the delegates to ‘get on with’ as the event kicked off was to establish a global process owner.
In the last two years I would rate this as one of the most exciting developments in shared services. Especially purchase to pay. It’s a telling sign that suggests a company treats processes as end to end, and has an alignment between functions, like finance and procurement. It means the company is taking continuous improvement seriously.
So, whilst closing the lid on my lip stick, the lady to my left turned to me and said: “Susie, in my company, IT is going ahead and making decisions on systems that affect finance, and they are not involving me. Is this normal?”
I referred to this conversation later in the conference when I drew, yet again, on the importance of a global process owner. With a true global process owner in place, their place at the table where systems decisions are evaluated and made is guaranteed. If IT see the global process owner as its customer, and vital to the sign off of the implementation and investment, days of silo-decision making will fade, thankfully, into the past.
I caught up with the lady over lunch. This time her boss was sitting with her. “Well”, said the boss to the lady, “as a result of this conference we need to write everything down, outlining what needs to be done, but it looks like we really need this global process owner you talk about Susie.”
He turned to his colleague, explaining, “It will mean quite a bit of travel, to China and beyond… but I think you’d be perfect for the role”.
She turned to me almost bursting with excitement. This was a breakthrough moment. A company cannot afford to deny itself of a global process owner, and so long as these two delegates follow through on the idea, they’ll be contributing to the profit margin in no time.
Photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer
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