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Leveraging Shared Services Experience to Drive Broader Business Simplification Initiatives

With the great success experienced by companies across the globe in consolidating and streamlining processes through the use of the Shared Services model, those skill sets are becoming quite valuable to companies as they strive to simplify the operations across the company as a whole.  Such complex initiatives as major system implementations, process mapping and design, and workforce reorganizations have provided Shared Services teams with ample opportunity to develop skill sets that can translate well into other operations within a company. 

On a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, a major beverage company based in the Asia-Pacific region shared how they have built on the capability of their mature Shared Services organization to drive a business-wide program of business simplification, and how in turn this program interacts with Shared Services.  Having grown quickly through a series of acquisitions, the company is now dealing with the complexities of running four separate businesses under the corporate umbrella with different ERPs. Each system has varying levels of maturity, functionality and controls, which has led to inconsistent business processes and policies across the company. The current opportunity is to bring divergent processes and systems together through business simplification into a single policy, process and systems landscape.

Carrying out the project over the next three years, there are three distinct phases that will be executed sequentially:

Phase 1: Fix the Foundations - Get the basics right by building on work done to date and prioritize.

  • Review and improve core business processes
  • Drive certain technology projects that deliver a better customer experience
  • Create common policies 
  • Create a common platform that supports all of Finance
  • Implement robotics across some key business processes
  • Move more activity from Finance and Logistics support to Shared Services

Phase 2:  Start Value Chain Collaboration - Invest in delivering new capabilities to streamline processes across the value chain.

  • Roll out a common system across the businesses in Australia and NZ
  • Streamline and standardize all processes during rollout of common system
  • Leverage other digital technology to provide better customer service at a lower cost

Phase 3: Collaborate for Value - Explore new ways of collaboration and engagement across customers, employees and suppliers.

  • Upgrade the system platform in the remaining business to the new platform across Australia and NZ
  • Leverage the systems to create a common systems architecture across the two divisions
  • Implement common procedures across all business units and functions

Some of the key takeaways shared by the feature company regarding Business Simplification include that it is driving improvements that could not have been delivered by Shared Services on its own, that creation of the Shared Services operation has enabled the Business Simplification effort to be more effective, and that the role of Shared Services will evolve as robotics takes over many of the routine tasks and more value-added activities move to Shared Services.

In a related poll generated using Peeriosity’s iPollingTM functionality, the companies were asked whether Shared Services is considered a model within the company as it relates to their expertise in business process improvement and simplification.  The results are impressive, with 69% responding that they either strongly agree (42%) with that statement or agree (27%) with it.  Of the remaining 31% of the companies, 27% indicated that they are neutral regarding that statement, and just 4% disagree with it.

The second poll question then addressed how the skill sets in Shared Services related to overall business process improvement and simplification are being leveraged across companies.  Looking at the poll results, 27% of the companies indicated that skilled individuals are in significant demand by areas outside of Shared Services and those individuals have the opportunity to move to those areas to better leverage their skill sets and broaden their overall experience.  Another 38% of the companies said that individuals with these skill sets often participate on teams outside of Shared Services to help with process improvement and simplification in other areas.  Finally, 20% responded that Shared Services is generally not leveraged for expertise in this manner in other areas of the company.

These poll results well demonstrate that in many companies the accomplishments of Shared Services have not gone unnoticed and that team members with skills sets related to technology, process design, standardization, etc. are in high demand within the company.

Some of the poll comments made by Peeriosity members related to this topic include the following:

Consumer Products & Services Member: Our Shared Service groups are considered process experts in their service/function, but are not generally tapped for improvements outside of their domain of expertise. We have a separate Continuous Improvement team that works across the company to drive process improvement and simplification.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: The expertise is generally applied to functions owned or primarily executed by Shared Services.

Consumer Products & Services Member: We’re still early in our journey, but gaining greater credibility for the skills every day.

Manufacturing Member: Individuals with this skill set are requested as participants on cross-functional improvement teams.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Our Process Optimization Team would fall under multiple choices listed. The team is seen as experts in this area, both in and out of our Shared Service organization. And they also provide training to others outside of the organization.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Right now, other areas are asking us how we did what we did as they are interested in moving into a Shared Services model. However, we haven’t been asked to provide individuals to work with them as they are standing up. They are asking a lot of questions, but providing our knowledge experts to them hasn’t happened.

How are the accomplishments of Shared Services perceived at your company?  Is there an opportunity to expand the influence of Shared Services through a broader Business Simplification initiative?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to 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.

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