Shared services as a strategy has had a long-standing reputation for being an unattainable business model that is too out there or can’t be adapted to a company, as much as they feel it would be a good fit. Furthermore, some people confuse shared services with outsourcing or centralizing, and that’s not really what it is, though those functions may be part of the equation. Here is the deal: shared services is way more than what it’s cracked up to be, especially when intelligent process automation comes in the mix. Let’s explore how shared services and IPA can completely revamp your internal operations and create a better customer experience through it.
As this Deloitte article points out, shared services is not simply an attempt to centralize processes in a company, but rather the centralization is one of the goals it hopes to accomplish. Shared services can be best explained in the following manner: let’s say you have employees in HR, IT, and finance that among their responsibilities, also have tasks that coincide or require support from one another. These departments most likely operate completely independently from one another and also might communicate differently, causing delays in resolving issues and general bottlenecks for the company as a whole. Instead of keeping the status quo, companies should undertake a “shared services” approach, where the lines of business that interact come under one umbrella to fulfill the objectives they were required to from before, unilaterally. How’s this not centralization? As we mentioned, there’s more to it.
For shared services to work effectively, there should be three components put into action:
- A shared portal with a unified backend: one of the biggest frustrations that customers have is when in order to solve an issue with their account, they need to be transferred to multiple areas of the company and speak to multiple employees to solve them. Designing a portal that brings together all the line items the customer needs to interact with in one place while also flagging every member of the team involved with the request offers customers a single point of contact, and has the added bonus of cutting costs by eliminating tools or platforms that are specific to a single department. The best way to put this portal together is by designing tools that use robotics process automation to speed up the information collection and other clerical, rule-based tasks so that when the team is ready to take on the customer request, all the necessary details are in place.
- Physical closeness: this might come as a surprise, but actually bringing the resources from the shared services project in closer proximity of each other can speed up processes even further. Have you ever felt like an issue that was raised through an e-mail could’ve been discussed over a quick call? Or that a topic-central call could’ve been sorted over e-mail? How about having the whole team in one place, so they can quickly run through the issue? This creates a straightforward channel, speed, and complete transparency. We know that bringing teams physically together might not always be feasible, but that’s what IPA is for. When you increase your taskforce with a virtual workforce, bring in artificial intelligence and machine learning components into the equation, and connect it all through the Internet of things, you can get your team fully on the same page, through technology. It’s as close to the real thing as it gets.
- Standardize processes: once you have your team assembled and it’s time to begin working together, it’s important to first standardize every process associated with them individually, and create new and improved standards for the operations that check all the boxes for every member involved, making the shared services approach a true opportunity for taking care of the functions required in one place.
Bringing together a dream team of sorts that is made up of lines of business that always interact but don’t have an integrated approach for their functions that intersect seems like a far-fetched goal, but it doesn’t have to be. At Lagash, we specialize on custom-designing and developing solutions that can take your operations to the next level both for your employees, and your customers. This is the perfect opportunity for you to bring together your taskforce and deploy the shared services strategy, so that through technology you can ensure the best possible outcome and sustainable long-term success of the program as well. If you want to know more about how you can make this work for your business, contact us.