There are a variety of approaches to providing the appropriate level of support to customers and suppliers of Shared Services, depending on such factors as the geographic scope of the company, the types of services provided by the center, and support levels offered by other organizations within the company. For multi-national Shared Services operations, the challenge of supporting a large number of time zones and multiple languages adds a whole new layer of complexity to determining the best support levels and may require several attempts to get it right.
Recently, a poll was administered to the Peeriosity membership using the iPollingTM functionality. This poll looked at the current support configuration for both the days operated and the hours/shifts utilized. Looking first at the days of operation, the overwhelming response was weekdays only, with on-call (after hours) support for urgent issues, for 78% of the companies participating in the research. Additionally, 13% of the companies provide weekday-only hours of operation, but with no on-call support for urgent issues. Lastly, just 9% of the companies offer seven days a week support to their Shared Services customers and/or suppliers.
The second poll question then addressed the hours of operation and shift configuration utilized in the Shared Services organizations. Again, with a variety of different alternatives and configurations available, how companies approach this can vary significantly based on a number of different factors. Looking at the poll results, the traditional 8-10 hours a day schedule supported by one shift is by far the most popular configuration, with 76% of the companies utilizing that design. Another 18% of the companies utilize an 11-15 hour a day support schedule with two shifts. Interestingly, just 6% of the companies have a 24 hours a day support structure.
With the move to global and multi-regional centers, these results could be considered somewhat surprising in view of the geographic scope that often covers diverse time zones that don’t have a significant overlap for what would be normal working hours. However, with on-call support provided by most Shared Services operations for urgent issues, combined extended hours, or multiple shifts, the impact of not having round-the-clock support is minimized.
Some of the comments from Peeriosity members related to this poll include the following:
Computers & Electronics Member: We have one SSC located in Malaysia and another in Costa Rica, so most of the day is covered.
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Since we primarily work with other businesses in similar time zones, we are open only during normal business hours.
Manufacturing Member: Depends on the business we are supporting. Some we support seven days a week.
Computers & Electronics Member: We have three centers supporting EMEA, North America, and Asia-Pacific which work weekday shifts aligned with local time zones.
Manufacturing Member: Weekdays only, with no on-call support.
Media & Entertainment Member: Our revenue accounting departments work 7 days a week, but all other areas (AP, Payroll, AR, Accounting Services) work 5 days a week.
Manufacturing Member: No support for urgent issues outside core hours of 8 am to 5 pm.
Consumer Products & Services: Most of our processes work on a standard one-shift, 8-hour day. Our Information Systems Support Center operates 24×7, 364, utilizing three 8-hour shifts. Some services operate in “non-standard” business hours to accommodate differing time zones, while still operating on a one-shift, 8-hour day.
Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Monday – Friday, no on-call support for urgent issues. Phone and email coverage from 7 am to 6 pm. Shifts that start at 7 am or 9 am.
What operating schedule does your Shared Services organization utilize? Is it time to re-evaluate the support levels provided to your customers and suppliers?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.
Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers. Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted. To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.