How advanced are your Shared Services?

Especially if you’re not a global 3000 working with a BoB (Best of Breed) Shared Services Advisory firm?

A recent article over on the Shared Services Link describes Six Trends that define the Shared Services age today. In particular, it notes that:

  • Shared Services Continue to Move Up the Value Chain
    The argument is that much of the finance function has been outsourced, the dynamic of staff in an SSO is changing (as teams no longer crunch and enter data) but instead judge and advise, and the model works.
  • Business services rather than finance services
    The argument is that we’ve moved on to business functions like HR, IT, and Procurement and this provides the organization with greater value.
  • Outsources gain share, but slowly
    Since 2007, there have been 850 major finance multi-process outsourcing deals.
  • Shared services find better ways to work in a multi-ERP environment
    They have adopted middleware technology to integrate the systems.
  • Data is evolving into insight
    Now that we’ve moved beyond process consolidation and off-shoring, we can focus on BI (Business Intelligence).
  • A new breed of being — the global process owner
    We have created end-to-end process guardians who oversee the global implementation of a process.

And while I believe this is true for the 850 multi-nationals that entered into big shared-services deals with “tier 1” shared service providers, for mid-size companies just jumping on the bandwagon, are they as lucky? Yes, the technology and processes will be there in the providers, but in order to take advantage of it, it often requires considerable restructuring and change management on the part of the company. Sometimes so much so that the leading organizations, uninterested in what will be a losing engagement during the learning curve, may inadvertently scare these organizations away to “tier 2” providers that mainly focus on process standardization and data consolidation and haven’t advanced to the third wave of BI and expert consulting. So if you’re not in the big leagues, have you yet to catch sight of the third wave?