One of the major efforts carried out by every leading Shared Services organization is to develop and implement a standardized global operating model to drive consistent back office processes (i.e. Order-to-Cash, Purchase-to-Pay, Record-to-Report). The model sets the structure and provides a needed framework to guide efficient and effective processes that leverage shared ERP infrastructure, common operating procedures, and well-coordinated service delivery worldwide. A robust yet flexible governance methodology is necessary to ensure enduring operating model integrity while remaining responsive to changing business needs over years and decades post-implementation.
A recent PeercastTM in our Shared Services Leadership research area featured a global company with over $30B in annual revenue discussing their approach to governing, controlling, and defending their Global Operating Model. The company established its design for Global Service Delivery from 2013 to 2015 which included a dramatic transition from 50 legacy ERP systems around the world to an SAP environment using a single instance globally. This common technology architecture supported additional changes including:
- A move from disparate technologies across affiliates and sites to standardized processes and technologies.
- A move from affiliates and sites that were supported by their own Finance and Operations teams, to leveraged Shared Services resources that provide support to all locations.
- A move from divergent headquarters, affiliate, and site processes to integrated business capabilities across the company’s global footprint.
To support these significant changes a BPO Governance Structure and Oversight process was created. Key components included:
- An Outsourcing Governance COE is responsible for contract change management, service-level monitoring, external benchmarking, and billing administration.
- Affiliates, sites, and functions responsible for KPI Analytics, operating model evolution, issue escalation, and audit and controls liaison.
- The BPO partner is responsible for delivery, metrics and measurement, FTE onboarding and offboarding, innovation, and robotics.
- And finally, Global Process Leads, responsible for continuous improvement, operating model changes, model efficiency tracking, and efficiency analytics.
Robust performance measurement is critical, with a metrics platform that can evolve to match the maturing processes and continually address the changing needs of the business. Over several years Core Metrics evolved into KPI Dashboards, which changed to Integrated Details with transaction-level drill-down, that evolved into Continuous Monitoring, which is now transitioning to exception-based Targeted Outreach.
Governing and controlling changes to the model are accomplished using a Continuous Improvement Request process which is a formalized governance process for adapting and improving the global operating model. The approach uses a “community forum” to represent business stakeholders so that they can voice their needs and propose changes to the operating model. The process also provides visibility to Shared Services global process leaders and enterprise IT, managers. Finally, it serves as a demand intake channel, using an informed vetting process and control mechanism to allow needed change and improvement while maintaining the integrity of the global operating model.
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Having a robust global operating model for Shared Services is a requirement for guiding efficient and effective processes that can leverage standardized operating procedures, with well-coordinated worldwide service delivery. Critical components to defending and controlling your global operating model are to have clearly defined end-to-end process metrics, with a formal process to allow the organization to adapt based on changing business requirements, with clear channels for input and review by key stakeholders.
How does your company defend and control changes to your Shared Services operating model? What role does your performance measurement process play, and how do you manage the required changes and modifications to your operating model that are needed as business needs and the mix of available opportunities change?
Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?
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