Defining the Responsibilities of Global Process Owners (GPO)

Introduction

The use of Global Process Owners is an organizational design that has been around for a number of years now and is widely accepted at most companies utilizing a Shared Services organizational structure.  While the concept of the Global Process Owner is to provide consistency and standardization in major process areas, such as Purchase-to-Pay and Hire-to-Retire, the manner in which this critical role can typically be defined is one of the following approaches:

Approach 1 – Strategic and Policy Focus Only: The Global Process Owner has little or no day-to-day operational responsibility for the performance of the process, but instead focuses solely on the overall strategy, design, policies, transformation, and standardization of the process area.

Approach 2 – Overall Operational Responsibility Combined with Strategic and Policy Focus: The Global Process Owner has overall day-to-day operational responsibility for the performance of the process, as well as responsibility for the overall strategy, design, policies, transformation, and standardization of the process area.

Both of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, including the issues of having both strategic and operational responsibility being too large of a workload for one person to carry out effectively and another around having a disconnect when one person is creating strategy and policy while another is dealing with the daily challenges of the operation.  This research paper looks at what major companies across the globe are doing in this important area of process design and ownership.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent poll was created using the iPollingTM technology by the Director of Global Business Services at one of Peeriosity’s member companies that had to do with the responsibilities of Global Process Owners.  The first of two poll questions looked at how the Global Process Owner role is configured at the companies participating in the research.  For 50% of the companies, the GPO is just responsible for the strategic aspects of the process (process strategy, policy, design, transformation), while the day-to-day operations are managed elsewhere.  At 31% of the companies, the GPO is responsible for both the strategic and operational aspects of the process, while 15% of the companies do not utilize the Global Process Owner structure.

The second poll question then asked about the effectiveness of the current Global Process Owner configuration, with 80% indicating that it is either very effective (17%) or effective (63%).   An additional 13% were neutral and 7% indicated that the design was not effective.

The following are some of the comments that Peeriosity members made in conjunction with this poll:

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: GPO was formally given operational responsibility mid-2018.

Computers & Electronics Member: We have recently introduced GPOs for our Accounts Payable and OTC functions. This has had a positive impact in the short term.

Consumer Products & Services Member: I believe the separation of process ownership and service delivery enables the process owner to get more done, not being dragged into the day-to-day, while the presence of dotted lines keeps them close to the employee/vendor experience.

Computers & Electronics Member: The historic role of the GPO within Finance/Accounting tends to be more of a BPO (Business Process Owner) role vs. that of a GPO. Our company is revisiting this currently and will add some clarity between BPO vs. GPO roles which more than likely means we will have more BPOs and less GPOs than what we have today. The role of the new GPO will most likely be responsible for the strategic aspects of the process (articulating process strategy, setting policy and designing and driving transformation).

Closing Summary

For most companies that utilize the GPO structure, having the operational responsibilities separate from the strategic and policy roles is their preferred approach.  However, regardless of whether your company has included the operational aspects of leading an end-to-end process area as part of the Global Process Owner role, as the research indicates above, the GPO structure has been adopted by the vast majority of companies and most are pleased with that decision. 

What is the status at your company with respect to the use of the Global Process Owner structure?  If you are using this structure, does your approach include the operational aspect of the 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 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 iPollingTM.

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.


Segregation of Duties in a World of Robots

Introduction

The addition of Intelligent Automation to business processes can eliminate many of the routine work steps human processors are required to complete, with the added benefit of zero errors, assuming each step is defined properly, and the impact of ongoing process or system changes are accounted for as they occur.  Being able to perform reviews and audits of automated processes is critical, and none more critical than ensuring the proper segregation of duties is maintained to prevent intentional manipulation or misuse of company resources.

With the launch of Peeriosity’s Multi-Developer User Group for Intelligent Automation, practitioners from the world’s leading companies can network and interact directly with peers, in an environment that is private, candid, and nonbiased.  With hundreds of users already participating, members of Peeriosity’s Multi-Developer User Group for Intelligent Automation are able participate in multiple Peercasts every month, learn directly from others using iPollingTM, communicate with peers using Peer Mail, and access libraries of shared content and contributed research. 

This research paper is a top-level summary of a recent poll that was conducted in Peeriosity’s Intelligent Automation research area.  For Peeriosity members, full visibility to all the details of the poll is available, including the ability to interact directly with participating peers.

iPollingTM Results Review

Recently, Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used by a Process Improvement Lead at a member company to understand the approaches companies take to ensure compliance with segregation of duty requirements. Responses were posted real-time, with visibility to company responses available to all Peeriosity members, allowing for direct communication with peers using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer MailTM capabilities.

The first polling question asked where or not a separate account is created for each process when building a new RPA bot.  For 58%, each bot (process) has its own user ID.  21% indicated that each bot has a user ID and that the bot is used for multiple processes.  No one responded that bots use existing employee accounts, and the remaining 21% indicated that some other approach is followed.  Here are the details: 

To the question of how companies resolve potential segregation of duty conflicts, only 6% indicated that bots are not validated against segregation of duties so that they have all required access to do their job (and since they are programmed robots and not people, traditional segregation of duties parameters do not apply).  At 72% of companies, if needed, separate accounts are created to avoid segregation of duties conflicts.  Finally, 22% indicated that some other approach was followed.

Here are some comments from responding companies:

  • This really depends on the type of process we’re talking about. Some of the larger processes require multiple user ID’s that are assigned individually to the bots, while other smaller processes can be scheduled appropriately and share a User ID.
  • We have created a separate User ID per functional area which can be used by several bots built for that area.
  • User accounts are based on the need to uniquely identify the actions associated with the roles/responsibilities assigned in the ERP.
  • We are still determining if SOD validation is required in this situation.
  • The main service Bot IDs are utilized for multiple processes, but each automation process also has an individual SAP ID. These SAP IDs are created with the specific SAP access needed including consideration of segregation of duties. The security team is running a risk analysis to ensure SODs are properly reviewed, before applying.
  • All of our future bots will be configured to follow the same SOD policies and rules of our employees.
  • We use a separate User ID for each application/process within a Bot. If we touch 5 applications, 5 IDs.
  • All of our RPA BOTs are Named Service Accounts. Each process that is performed, regardless of the BOT, is performed using specific and unique IDs for each process assigned to the process and then the BOT. This helps us make sure that we are minimizing our risk.

Closing Summary

Re-engineering processes involves the fundamental rethinking of processes steps, often changing the underlying nature of work activities. Significant changes need to be analyzed and reviewed carefully to ensure continued compliance with fundamental business controls, including the responsibility for appropriate segregation of duties.  While perhaps not the most exciting part of an Intelligent Automation project, it is definitely a necessary step.

What is the approach your company takes to ensure an appropriate segregation of duties when you implement Intelligent Automation solutions? 

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 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.

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.


Implementing a One Card Program for PCard and T&E

Introduction

With a One Card program design, many companies have reduced their overall process effort and cost, simplified the program administration function, and enhanced overall employee satisfaction with their cardholder services.  Some of the benefits of the One Card model include higher spend rebates, consolidated account management, enhanced expense reporting, a streamlined data feed, simplified accounting, and increased ease of use for the cardholder.  However, there are some inherent challenges with implementing the One Card design, including transition costs, cardholder training, the potential need for new technology, more complex spend controls, program administration re-engineering, and increased card liability management.

iPollingTM Results Review

Recently, a poll was administered to the Peeriosity Corporate Card membership utilizing the iPollingTM technology that dealt with the use of the One Card program structure.  The first poll question looked at the status of utilizing the One Card design, with 35% having implemented it.  Another 12% are currently evaluating this design and 6% went through the evaluation process and decided not to proceed.  The remaining companies have either not evaluated this option (41%) or tried to implement it and were not successful (6%).

The second poll question then addressed what is (or was) the biggest challenge to moving from separate T&E and Purchasing Card programs to a One Card solution for those companies that have done so.  The results are interesting, with 25% of the participating companies indicating that the biggest challenge was the difficulty in finding a global solution for both programs combined.  Another 13% found that their ability to focus on implementing a One Card solution is limited as a result of other pressing issues, while 12% said that change management issues such as those related to cardholder training were most difficult.  Of the 50% of the companies that indicated other challenges as the most difficult, some of those included differences in credit limits, higher potential for risk, the desire to limit which employees receive purchasing card capabilities, and creating appropriate and effective Merchant Category Code (MCC) blocks.

Some of the comments from Peeriosity members regarding this poll topic include the following:

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member:  We’ve for now decided against this due to a potential increase in risk, differences in purchasing limits between the two cards, and how we expense each type of transaction today.

Computers & Electronics Member: In the US and Canada, we have a PCard program on AMEX, which is a corporate liability card. We also use AMEX for our travel card in North America and Asia, but Citibank is used for Europe. Both the AMEX and Citibank travel cards are employee liability cards. The reason for the difference between the PCard program and Travel card program is only certain administrative folks who have taken special training get the P Card, while we want all our employees who travel (about half the employee base) to have a Travel card.

Manufacturing Member: T&E and PCard are viewed as two separate programs serving separate needs. Both are processed through our expense management system, so administering is not an issue.

Consumer Products & Services Member: I think our biggest challenges have been getting people to understand that it is only one piece of plastic. The other piece is being able to get mostly consistent on MCC blocks across the globe – this has been more challenging than we anticipated due to different MCC structures in different countries.

Non-Profit Member: Having a one-card program is more convenient, but we have had challenges finding a global provider.

Closing Summary

Many companies have found the One Card program design to be an effective approach to their overall Corporate Card strategy.  However, while providing increased simplicity, cost effectiveness, and higher program rebates in most cases, some companies have determined that the two-card approach is better suited to their overall corporate culture and operating structure. 

What is the status at your company regarding the use of the One Card program design?  Is your current solution meeting your needs or is it time to take another look at this potential alternative?

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 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 iPollingTM.

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.


Administering One-Time Payments to Non-Vendors

Introduction

In the world of Accounts Payable processing for large companies with billions in annual revenue, streamlining processes and eliminating complexity wherever possible is critical.  In some cases, the efforts required don’t seem to be justified based on the nature of the transactions performed.  For example, the process for administering one-time payments to non-vendors, defined as special one-off transactions to process refunds or purchase rebates to a customer or a customer’s customer.  The transaction won’t be repeated, and the nature of the relationship doesn’t support the rigorous validation steps that characterize the set up process for trade vendors, where tax IDs are provided, signed W-9’s are collected and filed, with addresses and other pertinent information independently reviewed and verified. 

This topic is an example of the hundreds of processes that exist in Shared Services, where the nature of the transaction suggests there must be a better way than the traditional approach.  Fortunately, for Peeriosity members, it’s easy to draft an iPollingTM question and instantly find out how other members tackle the problem, with the ability to directly follow up with other participants for further discussion and dialogue.   If you went to your supporting consulting firms for the answer where the minimum charge is several thousand dollars, you’d get a response that is packaged beautifully, based on insights from a handful of clients the consultant was able to reach for input.  With Peeriosity, your poll will go to hundreds of members for possible response, with those that have knowledge providing inputs that are likely to be directly on point to solve your issue, all at no cost to you.  Plus, the exchange is completely private, with only member whose companies provided an answer to the poll questions able to access the detail results and findings.

iPollingTM Results Review

Regarding this particular issue, a recent Peeriosity iPollingTM question was created by a member company’s Director of Process Improvement, to ask how companies administer one-time payments to non-vendors.  The results indicate that 68% of member companies add these special payment “vendors” to the vendor master file and pay them through the normal Accounts Payable process.  None of the responding companies indicated they fully outsource these types of transactions, and the remaining 32% follow another type of process to complete the transactions.  Here are the details:

Here are a few of the comments from responding companies that provides additional insights to the approach’s member companies take to these types of transactions:

  • Our Customer/Supplier master data is shared so Accounts Receivable can create their own payment batch for refunds.
  • We add the supplier to our system for audit and tax compliance purposes. Payment is issued based on invoice approvals and processed on the next payment cycle.
  • Today, we add the payee to the master vendor file, but we are looking at outsourcing these types of payments.
  • We have the ability to make a one-time payment without adding them to the vendor master.
  • These are handled through direct bank payments with the necessary control procedures embedded.
  • For AP, it must have an invoice. For this scenario, there isn’t any invoice, hence this would be a Cash Management process whereby CM will be making payment by coding the transaction to a GL account. If it is a payment to an existing customer, AR will be able to put through an automated entry in SAP to transfer the amount to AP and pay.
  • This unfortunately is quite a varied process, as customer payments is not really managed by our AP/P2P group. In some countries that is done via AR directly within the AR transactions. In LA we do a deduction between AR & AP, and in others we have an interface from AR to AP using a one-time vendor for an ad hoc customer, with on-going customers setup as vendors.
  • This unfortunately is quite a varied process, as customer payments is not really managed by our AP/P2P.
  • We are considering a couple of options (1) For consumer affairs related payments under $400 we are considering using a Zelle type application. (2) For external candidates, we are evaluating using a 3rd party administrator for payments under $200.

Closing Summary

Large multi-billion-dollar companies must process hundreds of thousands of transactions, with the cost of compliance to sound business controls which can be excessive for transaction types that are unique and non-standard.  Rather than continue down a path of following processes that don’t cleanly fit, Peeriosity members can quickly and easily check in with their peers to openly explore alternatives, with all interactions completely free of consultant or vendor influence or bias. 

How does your company process one-time payments to non-vendors?  When you have a process constraint or bottleneck where you know there has to be a better way, do you have a way to connect directly with peers at leading companies to explore options that might work better?

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 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.

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.


Consolidating the Account Reconciliation Process

Introduction

For companies with operations in many locations domestically and around the globe, the number of accounting transactions to record every minute detail of business activity can be daunting, as can the process of reconciling those transactions for completeness and accuracy at month end. Management and legal reporting activities must comply with specific rules and standards, and the account reconciliation process is no exception.  Centralization of work processes into Shared Services can further complicate the process, since much of the transaction activity still resides within local operations, where the knowledge about those transactions often resides.  This often suggests a shared responsibility for account reconciliations, with overall ownership either local or centralized, depending on the specific attributes of each account.

With the addition of advanced technologies and tools, many companies are shifting towards greater consolidation of the account reconciliation process, often into regional Shared Service centers, but sometimes even more globally, with the effect of eliminating as much local site responsibility as possible.

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our General Accounting (R2R) research area featured a global manufacturing company with $5B in annual revenue, sharing their approach to transitioning the Account Reconciliation process to a consolidated location.  Here is an overview to their transition timeline:

  1. Pre-2014 – Single VP for Shared Services, but structured as a decentralized organization
  2. 2014 – Move to consolidate European Shared Services into a single low-cost location in Europe
  3. 2015 – Implemented Blackline solution and consolidated European Shared Services reconciliations into the European Shared Services Center
  4. 2016 – Added North American Shared Services reconciliations to the European center on an opportunistic basis
  5. 2017 – Focused effort to add non-SAP and non-Shared Services reconciliations to Blackline using Shared Services standards
  6. 2018 – Positioned to absorb non-Shared Services SAP reconciliations

Some of the success from the consolidation of account reconciliations cited include:

  1. Consolidation into a single location improved consistency of reconciliations and the teams desire to streamline and simplify the reconciliation process.
  2. Having a critical mass of personnel in one location reduces the risk created if key personnel leave the company, since the knowledge no longer resides with only a few people
  3. Several staff members have been promoted into regional roles as a result of having greater knowledge about other geographies

Additional details regarding the efforts of the feature company can be found on the Peeriosity member website, exclusively for members of Peeriosity’s General Accounting (R2R) research program.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was recently used to better understand how standardized the account reconciliation process was structured at member companies.  The results suggest that while 85% of member companies report having a standard structure/format for the preparation of account reconciliations, only 35% indicated that they were very satisfied with their implementation.  An additional 32% indicated they were somewhat satisfied, and 18% reporting that the process, while implemented, needs improvement.  The remaining 15% of companies either haven’t yet implemented or are currently evaluating the opportunity.

Here are several of the added comments from members:

  • Introducing standardization in preparing GL account reconciliations can be very helpful from a uniformity standpoint and may result in increased stakeholder satisfaction for such groups as the external reporting team, auditors, tax experts, etc.
  • Implementation via a tool used as a centralized repository of accounts reconciliation – still need to further standardize the account reconciliation process.
  • We have recently implemented Blackline for all account reconciliations globally. Overall, its working fairly well. We are just working on some fairly minor issues, like how to deal with new accounts (how to assign) and some reporting issues (like how to show which reconciliations are pending).
  • Once implemented it requires investment to maintain the standardisation and quality levels over time and through resource attrition.
  • Standard, automated process across all regions.
  • Standard templates are being suggested. In the process of reviewing and prescribing use of one of the standard templates per account.

Closing Summary

Many companies who have a stable global Shared Services organization, with multiple regional centers, have the opportunity to successfully pursue the centralization of account reconciliation activities into one global location, particularly when the effort takes into account the many benefits of advanced reconciliation software solutions.  Determining the path that is right for your company can be simplified greatly by having direct access to the experiences of your peers, without influence or bias from external consultants or solution providers.

What approach does your company take to consolidating the account reconciliation process?  If you have a standard structure/format for the preparation of account reconciliations, how satisfied are you with your implementation?

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.

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.


Effectively Defining the Scope of HR Shared Services

Introduction

Determining the process areas that best fit within the scope of HRSS depends on a number of factors that can vary from company to company, including geographic design, culture, and technology infrastructure.  This research abstract highlights the experiences of a major corporation that recently shared their experiences in determining their Human Resource Shared Services (HRSS) scope of services and how they keep that up to date as Shared Services and the company continue to evolve.

Company Experience

During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, the Senior Director of Human Resources for the Global Shared Services organization at Peeriosity member company presented the evolution of their HRSS operation.  The company is a global manufacturing company over $10 billion in revenue and 50,000+ employees in more than 100 countries.

The company first shared its business drivers for their HRSS operation, which included an increased effectiveness for the HR business partners with a singular focus on driving business results, increased efficiency for HR Shared Services through improved employee support and more consistent delivery or HR services, and enhanced risk management and compliance by establishing deep expertise, control, and audit in HRSS.    

As part of the process to determine the services to be provided, HRSS management met with key HR leaders to review the HRSS model.  They reviewed a list of all HR activities performed, analyzed where and how the work was being done and by whom, and then agreed to a list of activities that would move to HRSS based on answers to questions regarding staffing & activities considerations, systems considerations, and regional pain points. 

Some of the lessons learned in carrying out this effort include the following:

  • Implement key systems with language capabilities prior to creating HRSS
  • Standardize/Harmonize processes & policies prior to HRSS go-live
  • Aim for one center per region
  • When possible, move people from their current work locations to a Shared Service location
  • Hire/transfer the right talent
  • If moving people internally, only move duties that fit the HRSS model 

The presentation concluded with some next steps, including implementing global systems                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         for Cloud HR and Cloud Payroll, moving the payroll function from HRSS to Financial Shared Services when Cloud Payroll goes live, and training all HRSS staff in Transactional Lean.

iPollingTM Results Review

Determining what process to delivery using a HRSS model isn’t a “once size fits all” proposition.  As one example, a recent poll initiated by a Peeriosity member provides some insights related to the inclusion of the Employee Relations process area as a part of HR Shared Services.  Looking at the results, 59% of the surveyed companies include this type of activities in their HRSS operation, while 21% do not.  For the remaining 20% of the companies, they do not currently utilize the HRSS structure.

The second poll question then addressed the length of time Employee Relations has been a part of HRSS.  For 42% of the companies, it has been for one to five years, while for the remaining 58%, it has been over five years.

Some of the Peeriosity member comments related to this poll include the following:

Consumer Products & Services Member: We migrated 2 regions for Employee Relations support to a SSC model. It’s not easy, but can be done. You will need senior level talent and great process documentation.

Computers & Electronics Member: The Contact Center in HR has a Level 1 support and also a virtual support considered Level 1 just for the US. Level 2 and 3 services are provided with less resources and longer response time.

Consumer Products & Services Member: The Employee Relations services within our HRSS organization are focused on non-union employees only.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Our organization isn’t quite there yet in terms of HR wanting employee relations to be centralized. Maybe someday!

Closing Summary

As transaction-based activities continue to be automated through the use of advanced technology, such as Intelligent Automation, the need to keep the HRSS service offering both robust and relevant should be a high priority for every HR Shared Services leader.  Through careful evaluation and consultation with senior HR leadership, the service offering can be fine tuned as needed, and even revolutionized when necessary.

What is the status at your company with respect to evaluating and enhancing your existing HRSS service offering?  Is your current offering meeting your needs or is it time to take another look at this critical area?

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 iPollingTM.

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.


Lessons Learned in Rolling Out a Shared Services Branding Initiative

Introduction

Ensuring that your Shared Services operation is appropriately branded can help to properly position this critical organization within your company.  Due in part to the transactional nature of many processes typically found within Shared Services, employees, business partners, and even key stakeholders may not understand the role of Shared Services and the value it delivers to the company. Hence, the need for an effective branding strategy.

Company Experience

During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, the Global Lead for Change and Communications at a major global manufacturing company with over USD $50 billion in annual revenue and more than 200,000 employees shared their recent experiences related to Shared Services branding and what has proven most effective to this point in time. 

The presentation began with a discussion regarding what makes a great brand.  Five branding attributes were cited as being the most important:

  1. Recognition – Your consumer needs to recognize your brand right away without even knowing it.
  2. Confidence – Your brand needs to exude confidence so your buyer feels confident using it.
  3. Clarity – Don’t confuse people. Less is more. Clarity is paramount.
  4. Subliminal – You’re not hitting people over the head with your message, but it’s speaking to them in a way they don’t even realize.
  5. X-Factor – You can’t put your finger on why but you feel like you must have it/be a part of it.

The feature company then shared how their recent transition from being known as Shared Business Services to Global Financial Services was an important part of their overall branding strategy.  While this might be considered as a step backwards by some, by emphasizing “Financial Services” instead of a broader scope of “Business Services”, the new name helped enable the organization to be aligned as one global team, providing consistent services offerings throughout Asia, EMEA, and the Americas, better defining who they are and what they do, and providing a voice for sharing their story with the rest of the company.  With the tagline of “Global Financial Services – We are One World”, they are well positioned to define who they are.

Some other tools the Global Financial Services organization utilizes to promote its brand include a Newsletter and a Yammer site, both of which help the organization to build a sense of pride in what they are doing, as well as adding engagement, cohesiveness, trust, and transparency to the operation.

Additional details regarding the feature company’s efforts in this area can be found on the Peeriosity member website in the Peercast Results section.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology provided some interesting background for this PeercastTM.  The first question looked at the current effectiveness of the branding of Shared Services, with the results being almost equal for each of the response options, which varied from strong to adequate to somewhat lacking.  The good news is that 74% of the surveyed companies consider their branding as either strong (39%) or adequate (35%).

The second poll question then addressed what factor has been most effective in creating a strong brand image for Shared Services.  Strong leadership and their ability to communicate the value of Shared Services was the top response at 45% of the companies, followed by strong results delivered over time with 36% of the responses.

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

Manufacturing Member - It’s really a combination of the strong leadership and proven results, but I prioritize the first slightly higher.

Consumer Products & Services Member – Initially it was strong leadership and endorsement/tone from the top (CFO) and over time is has to be replaced by strong performance. We did create new branding at the on-set to succeed any local historical and geographic centers with our global program and branding.

Retail Member - All about understanding your stakeholders and speaking in terms of their priorities.

Manufacturing Member - Shared Services branding becomes strong when the business partner’s interests are respected, prioritized, and delivered upon.

Consumer Products & Services Member - Leadership should have a big role in communicating the purpose of the Shared Services area; especially when the transition of several areas under this organization. A clear and constant communication and emphasis on branding should be done in order to clearly state the benefits of the changes.

Real Estate & Construction - This is an area we need to embrace so I look forward to comments/recommendations.

Consumer Products & Services – Strong leadership that evolves to meet business needs and articulates the value delivered to those business creates a strong brand/equity.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member - Finance Shared Service is known and well-regarded among most areas of the global organization, but somewhat less understood among the US/HQ finance functional groups who so far have had less exposure.

Closing Summary

As demonstrated by our feature company, if the proper resources and effort are focused on developing and enhancing a brand image for Shared Services, strong results will follow.  The relationship with key customers and suppliers is so critical to the success of Shared Services and developing a strong brand image will only enhance those important relationships.

What is the status at your company regarding the development or enhancement of a brand image for Shared Services?  Is it time to address this important aspect of your operation?

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 iPollingTM.

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.


Member Case Study #7 – Implementing Intelligent Automation

Introduction

Since launching our Intelligent Automation research area in late 2017, every month we have delivered insightful Peercasts featuring member companies’ experiences, sometimes using a panel format with multiple member companies discussing the pros and cons of available solutions, and at other times with one member company featured on a specific topic.  During the past year, seven of these Peercasts have followed an open format, best described as “Our Story – Implementing Intelligent Automation”, where the feature company shared their experiences, including lessons learned, with Peercast attendees, where attendee questions were answered candidly and honestly. 

Because Peercast attendance is restricted to member practitioners, there is never any reason for bias or restraint, with all attendees able to talk openly about their experiences.   Best of all, members can easily follow up privately with the feature presenter for a one-off conversation, or exchange comments or questions privately with other attendees using Peeriosity’s integrated Peer Mail capabilities. 

Company Experience

A recent PeercastTM in our Intelligent Automation research area featured a global technology company with over $50B in annual revenue, discussing their story for implementing Intelligent Automation within their Financial Operations Shared Services organization.  Their Finance digital transformation focused on the following areas:

  1. Financial Analysis & Reporting
  2. Strategy & Forecasting
  3. Business Process Automation
  4. Risk Management

Within the category of Business Process Automation, the feature company shared experiences about deploying Robotic Process Automation in 5 areas, including bots for SAP reports, bots to create 1,500+ financial management reports, bots to assist with the royalty contract process, and a multi-lingual chatbot to help automate procurement and payment support.

Here are some additional details regarding their experience for business process automation related to FP&A reporting.  The process change was to automate the refresh and preparation of over 10,000 monthly queries from various source systems to create 1,500+ unique financial reports, which reduced Shared Service delivery costs and eliminated human error.  When implemented, bots refresh report data, perform manual slicer tasks and prep reports for human operators based on a daily work schedule, notifying when jobs are completed and ready for analysis using a built-in resolution workflow.  The results were impressive:

  • A 20% reduction in the FP&A back office team
  • Elimination of human errors in the data refresh process
  • A 40% reduction in data refresh time

Additional details regarding the efforts of the feature company can be found on the Peeriosity member website, exclusively for members of Peeriosity’s Intelligent Automation research program.

iPollingTM Results Review

Peeriosity’s iPollingTM was used to provide supporting data for the Peercast by asking members to comment on the business problem the Peeriosity member company was hoping to solve when initially implementing Intelligent Automation, with details for the primary long-term objective of the program.

Regarding the initial business problem, 71% of member companies indicated that cost reduction was the primary reason.  Of the remaining 29%, 13% reported the primary reason was undefined, with 8% focused on creating capacity, and 8% focused on digital transformation.

When looking at the primary long-term objectives the emphasis shifts, with 40% selecting cost reduction, 28% focused long-term on capacity creating, and 16% focused on digital transformation.   Here are the details:

Here are some of the added comments from members:

  • Our primary goal is creating value for the business by decreasing manual work. At times this value may be realized through cost reduction and at other times it is realized by being able to do more with the same resources.
  • It’s hard to pinpoint just one problem we were solving for because there are other factors we considered, such as capacity creation, quality improvement and even job enrichment. But it all began with our goals of including digital transformation in our strategy.
  • I’ve only responded from an HR SSC perspective. Indeed, our aspirations are driven by several reasons, but the primary ambition is to do a better job for our (internal) customers.
  • It was tough to narrow down to one selection per question as we aim to: reduce costs, enable job enrichment by redeploying time to more strategic efforts, create capacity within a given G&A footprint, and further enable compliance and quality through standard, repeatable processes.
  • Cost reduction was the initial goal, but then we learned all of the benefits of automation. We’re still developing our RPA strategy and long-term objective.
  • Primarily cost reduction, but we are continuing to explore and add to our RPA/AI functionality.

Closing Summary

Every month Peeriosity members participate in private and exclusive discussions with Peers as members of a practitioners-only research community that delivers primary, “from the source”, research with details for how leading companies are evaluating and implementing Intelligent Automation.  Each Peercast is supported by member research, using Peeriosity’s iPollingTM capabilities to highlight the range of approaches followed, with the ability to see details by company, and with the option to follow up directly with peers for additional discussion.

When considering the reasons member companies are implementing Intelligent Automation, for 71% the primary driver is cost reduction.  When taking a longer-term view, the emphasis on cost reduction continues to be the largest objective, but with a shift to include capacity creation and digital transformation as significant objectives.

What approach does your company take to access primary research for how leading companies are implementing Intelligent Automation?  If you have already started your Intelligent Automation journey, what is your primary objective today, and do you expect that to shift over time?

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.

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.


Defining a Captive or BPO Sourcing Strategy for Shared Services

Introduction

Outsourcing back-office processes that are often found in a Shared Services center continues to be popular as external service providers improve the quality of their services and methods for how to best transfer and manage work processes becomes routine.  Outsourcing isn’t a “one size fits all” approach, nor is it possible to flip responsibility for entire processes to a third party. 

For companies that outsource there is always a mix between captive and BPO, with varying degrees of process level and higher process ownership rights either shifted to BPO or retained, depending on each company’s circumstances and risk thresholds.  It is important that Shared Services leaders develop a strategy related to outsourcing so that they clearly understand how outsourcing alternatives fit into the overall strategy.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent Peeriosity iPollingTM question asked about the overall strategy related to outsourcing Shared Services processes.  The results suggest that 54% of member companies follow either a captive, or a captive with selective outsourcing approach, with 12% indicating that BPO was the primary approach followed.  34% of responses indicate an even mix between a hybrid approach that was trending to more captive, and a hybrid approach that was trending to include more BPO.  Here are the details:

Regarding the primary location of service centers for member companies, 42% are in North America, 21% are in India, 8% are in Eastern Europe, and 4% are in Europe, with 25% having a broad mix across geographic regions.  This isn’t surprising, since the profile for many of Peeriosity’s member companies, where over 50% have revenue greater than $10B per year, is to have headquarters in North America with global operations for manufacturing and sales. 

Here are a few of the comments from responding companies regarding Shared Services center location:

  • A mix between US, Western Europe, Latin America and India.
  • We have four regional centers, two of which are supported out of India.
  • USA, Canada, LATAM.
  • Mix between India & Malaysia, with more than 70% in India.
  • Shared service centers in Mexico, Ohio, Czech Republic, and Malaysia.
  • We use a spoke and hub model. 70% of our resources are divided between two hubs, 40% Hungary, 30% Brazil and the remainder split between our spokes in the US, Canada, and Australia.
  • We have 3 similarly sized captive shared service centers located in the US, Latin America, and Russia. The majority of our BPO shared service resources are in India.

Closing Summary

Business Process Outsourcing is an accepted and common part of the landscape for the design and delivery of Shared Services processes, and one of the many tools available as members work to delivery high quality and cost-effective solutions for their companies.  The mix can vary between what work is captive and what is BPO, with process ownership always a retained responsibility.  Where the line splits between the ultimate process owner and front-line processing varies depending on the capabilities of both the BPO provider and the company who decides to outsource.

What is the mix of captive and BPO for Shared Services at your company?  What is your mix for onshore or offshore processing, and do you follow a regional or a global design for work process location?

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 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.

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.


Successfully Transitioning to a New Corporate Card Provider

Introduction

While the benefits of switching to a new corporate card provider can be obvious, the actual transition can be challenging if not carried out with the appropriate levels of caution and due diligence. 

In this research abstract, we will look at the experiences of a Peeriosity member company that carried out this type of transition and learn what they consider to be the proper steps to take and difficulties to avoid during this type of project.

Company Experience

Recently a large global consumer products company was featured on a Peeriosity PeercastTM to share how they were facing significant challenges with their existing corporate card program.  Those challenges included not having a global contract with a provider, having different service providers for the North America and International regions, using different bank feeds to interface data in the financial system, and not effectively achieving their potential rebate levels.

Some of the desired attributes of their new corporate card program included the following:

  • Global penetration of banking partner
  • Local currency & central billing was possible
  • Program administrator roles can be performed centrally
  • Strong reporting capabilities of the banking partner

The Peeriosity member company faced a number of challenges while carrying out the selection of the new banking partner and the subsequent roll-out of the program.  Those included the level of card acceptance, having central billing not technically available, an inconsistent payment mode, the required documentation of the new program varied for each country and didn’t follow global contract guidelines, as well as bank system issues. 

Some of the lessons learned during the transition included connecting with Peers using the same partner to understand the process in lieu of your design, involving their local teams earlier so they understand the documentation requirement, ensuring project timelines are aligned and adhered to by the bank, and stopping at the right time to make corrections if the standard process is deviated.

Additional details regarding the feature company’s transition can be found on the Peeriosity member website, including the PeercastTM recording.

iPollingTM Results Review

The results of a poll associated with this PeercastTM provide some insight to the Purchasing Card brand utilized and the related satisfaction level of the company with that relationship.  Looking first at the brand utilized, MasterCard was the most popular, with 33% of the companies using it.  This was closely followed by Visa with 29%, and American Express with 19%.

Reviewing the results of the second poll question, 88% of the surveyed companies are either Very Satisfied (35%) or Satisfied (53%) with their relationship with their PCard provider.  Just 6% were Indifferent and another 6% said it was too early to tell.

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

Non-Profit Member: We also use MasterCard. We run a global program in many countries and have not found one single provider that can service the whole world.

Computers & Electronics Member: AMEX is pretty responsive and has a lot of great features, like good reporting and generous rebates. The one issue is acceptance. Many smaller vendors push back on taking the AMEX card.

Manufacturing Member: We currently have very limited use of the PCard. In the early evaluation stage of rolling out a PCard program.

Manufacturing Member: Our company uses US Bank with a one-card account in the United States.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Our North America PCard program is with MasterCard, while our Europe/Asia PCard program is with Visa. Majority of spend is in North America vs. Europe/Asia.

Closing Summary

Regardless of the amount of upfront planning and preparation, the transition to a new corporate card provider can be a challenge for any company.  As was the case with our feature company, while the related risks can be effectively mitigated in most cases, there will be unanticipated issues that will complicate the implementation.

What is the status at your company regarding your current corporate card provider?  Is your current solution meeting your needs or is it time to take another look at this important area?

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 iPollingTM.

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.