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Shared Services and the Importance of Global Process Documentation


Simplifying processes to eliminate unnecessary complexity and work steps has the greatest impact when the scope is across a large client base, spanning multiple business units and geographies.   With common systems and a global organization increasingly the norm, more companies are pushing to complete the puzzle by implementing common work processes that require standardization, with local statutory requirements as the only exception.

iPollingTM Results Review

Recently, Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to better understand the shift to global work processes for members who had global operations.  The poll results show that 95% of global companies have documented global processes, with 35% having one standardized documented way to perform a process, and with the other 60% having more than one.  Only 5% of global companies have minimal or no documented global processes. 

shared services operation having global process documentation ipolling results

The follow-up question asked how extensively processes were documented globally, and whether or not the scope included all processes or only key processes.  At 43% of the companies, key processes are documented globally and, at 19% of the companies, all work processes have global documentation.  For 24% of Peeriosity member companies, global documentation is sporadic, with the remaining 14% reporting that they have no global documentation, and instead, they rely on each major site to have their own documentation.

description of shared services processes that are documented globally ipolling results

Here are several of the comments added by members:

  • We try to keep one global process as much as possible, but the folks in the Regions fight us on it almost daily, so it’s a constant battle.
  • We have detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all of our processes performed at our largest Shared Service Centers, but we do not have global ownership of those processes.
  • While it is always the goal to standardize and document all processes, as companies are being integrated it takes a while to not only standardize but also document.
  • Generally, we have global processes documented. There can be regional variations (which are also documented as part of the ‘global’ documentation).  There can also be variations on how to perform the process depending on the service line within shared services.

Closing Summary

Having standardized systems and processes can be a significant factor in reducing complexity and achieving lower costs and higher levels of quality.  The good news is that most Peeriosity member companies with global operations have been successful at documenting key processes globally, with many who have documented all processes globally.   The positive impact of having a global process design can extend well beyond benefits to Shared Services, by providing a consistent look and feel to processes for external customers as well as internal customers and employees as they work between geographic regions or different lines of business. 

Are your Shared Services work processes documented globally? If yes (excluding local statutory requirements), are you moving towards implementing one standardized process?

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 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.

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