12 Days of Giving, Day 11: C-Suite Shared Services Pressures & Perspectives

TLDR: Every C-Suite position has a unique perspective on Shared Services, which, when brought together, can create an innovative solution to drive improved experiences and organization efficiency. Interested in learning more about Shared Services? Check out our Shared Services eBook.

Welcome back to 12 Days of Giving! We’re in the home stretch, can you believe today is our second to last day? Us either.

Over the past three decades, enterprises have worked to develop a uniform service, shared across multiple business units – like HR, IT, Finance, Legal, and more – with the overarching goal to consolidate, standardize, and automate task-oriented and repetitive work.

While not a new archetype by any means, the Shared Services model (also called a Global Business Services (GBS) strategy) continues to evolve under the mandate of enterprise-wide Digital Transformation – a strategy that has, itself, significantly accelerated in light of business and social changes in 2020 and 2021.

As organizations shift from “separate” Service Centers to “co-located” Service Centers, and ultimately “Shared” Services, they transform into an integrated delivery organization with regulated governance, business practices and processes, and locations.

While previously beloved for its cost savings through the economy of scale and low-cost locations, Shared Services today carries greater responsibility than just driving valuable efficiencies. CIOs – and the entire executive suite – need to look beyond the traditional customer-provider relationship and into the future of Shared Services, one that creates a compelling experience for the people in your organization through Enterprise Service Management (ESM).

Which is why, for today’s 12 Days of Giving, we’ve prepared something a little different. In addition to giving you our Shared Services eBook, we’re also helping you step into the shoes of C-Suite executives. For each role below, we’re outlining their important role in Shared Services, their different pain points, perspectives, and value adds. For each role we’re trying to answer the following questions;

  • What is the biggest pain point of my job that Shared Services can solve?
  • Why is Shared Services difficult for me and/or my business to achieve?
  • How can my team and I contribute to the success of Shared Services?
  • How will successful Shared Services change my job?

Please note that each of the following blurbs are written from the hypothetical perspective of a fictitious position and do not represent any single individual or company. 

The COO Says…

Shared Services will assure that my entire organization has a comprehensive understanding of our processes. This is especially important as historically we have struggled to define all our business processes and map them to our value chain. Although we’ve made efforts in these areas, they typically result in overlaps and ambiguity among processes, absent a robust platform.

Without a single frame of reference in the way we operate, Shared Services is a daunting prospect. While we have defined an operating model, we aren’t socializing and governing the R&Rs of various entities. In addition, we’re managing touchpoints among departments, divisions, and programs ad hoc, and without an understanding of accountabilities.

Shared Services would provide a formalized taxonomy, which in turn helps compartmentalize enterprise activities. This structure is foundational to determining priorities, cost drivers, and efficiency.

To help make that happen, I must empower team members to think strategically by analyzing our Shared Services outcomes with more focus on departmental missions and our specific contributions toward the enterprise mission and strategy. That way, rather than spend most of my time troubleshooting our enterprise gaps in communications or suboptimal processes, I can quantify and analyze the time and investments on our operational processes. This will drive the required cost control and invite more reflection and time in customer-facing analysis.

The CIO Says…

Identifying the consumption of services and providing granularity among departmental consumers is critical in prioritizing our IT efforts. We also deliver new products for internal and external customers; the costs of our development environment and flexibility in standing up platforms are critical to our fast-paced environment. Luckily, both of these could be solved by Shared Services.

Right now, my team is working to point out day-to-day strains, and identify tasks that should be automated/streamlined in an effort to shape our Shared Services roadmap, framework, and priorities. Overall, IT’s mission lies in partnering with the heads of business units, understanding their strategic issues, and analyzing the technology landscape. Minimizing the time our staff spends on transactional processes or repeatable operational demands will drive that mission and leave more time for our team to focus on strategic gains.

The Head of Facilities Says…

Our spending on secured brick and mortar environments continues to rise, especially for data center services to our internal employees. In addition, we see continuing increases in hybrid models of employee support. Identifying opportunities for a hybrid and colocation strategy has been difficult to start. It requires the involvement of HR, IT, and the commitment of divisions in fully understanding what is possible for both their employees and the company.

However, we are committed to continuing to disclose the costs of facilities, in a granular fashion – by the department and by business process. We need the help of Operational and IT leaders to formalize this knowledge and analysis.

The CRO Says…

The growth of our employees, along with their well-being and satisfaction, helps the company support our customers. We’d like to focus on supporting these areas but many of our operational activities, such as onboarding, calendaring performance reviews, and administering case activities consume much of the day. While we have automated some of these activities, they are not integrated into employee profiles and respective career trajectories. Shared Services would enable us to maintain regulatory and statutory rigor in a streamlined fashion so we can then spend more time on employee development, team coaching, and individual support.

That said, connecting onboarding, compliance training, and other services (such as benefits administration) requires integration with IT, Legal, Operations. Identifying these dependencies makes these tasks cumbersome and slow.

The Chief Customer Officer Says…

The top roadblock we’re trying to solve with Shared Services is finding the right support for sustaining and advancing customer success . There are some activities where particular expertise is necessary to collate and then target specific services for a customer’s needs. But, there is a misunderstanding on the value of responsiveness; many perceive it to be reacting quickly, rather than proactively preparing. To that end, many misunderstand the value of Shared Services and the time investment in integrating our day-in-the-life scenarios has not been undertaken formally.

We’re doing our best to invest the time upfront in creating structured and categorized scenarios which can be embedded into a Shared Services Model. This would include team roles, support roles, and competencies that are tied to a customer profile, along with the history of that customer. An enhanced level of service would not just sustain a customer’s operation and satisfaction, but also open doors to new possibilities with that customer; we can spend more time discovering new requirements and needs that we can fulfill with other solutions.

The CFO Says…

Frankly, the cost of IT is misunderstood by divisional heads and is unclear on the delivered value. Recognizing the financial trends in supporting business processes, and allocating specific costs to a diverse set of departments makes IT seem like a black box. In reality, we don’t have a rationalized set of business processes throughout the enterprise – one that can then be understood in terms of IT spending and value.

To combat that, we are focusing on “translating” the general ledger views of finance toward an IT management view, in addition to showing analytical trend analysis on spending. We aim to support a cost benchmark initiative across the industry. In the future, I hope that we can partner better with IT and all corporate constituents, by better perceiving the technology costs and associated levers that pertain to specific areas, locations, departments, and processes.

Click on the image below to learn all about Enterprise-Grade Shared Services Success with ServiceNow.