Corner OfficeExpert Opinion

Decoding the 7-point Action Plan to Optimize Shared Services Centers

By: Virender Jeet

Globally, organizations are looking for the most effective use of limited funds to improvethe performance and value of the shared services centers (SSCs). You recognize the strategic value of automating processes to increase operational efficiency and enhance service levels. But, there are bottlenecks!

With reducing volumes, operational obstacles, and the sudden shift to remote working, the challenges for SSCs are many-fold, such as lack of process standardization, poor remote administrative visibility, obsolete legacy systems and difficulty in adhering to compliance, and so on.

You must devise a strategy to optimize your SSC operations, ensure continuous improvement, and future-proof your enterprise by leveraging new-age technologies. To achieve these goals, you must drive change on seven fronts:

  1. Automate Business Flows

Digitize manual and paper-based processes to minimize mundane work and replace it with intelligent, real-time execution. Leverage robotic process automation to replicate human actions and automate repeatable activities to perform constructive tasks. Create a connected and digital workplace to empower your employees with relevant information for contextual interactions

  1. Consolidate Business Processes

Rationalize and consolidate process flows to avoid duplication of resources and effort in your SSC operations. For instance, invoice processing is error-prone and difficult to monitor across disparate screens and applications driven by the underlying legacy system. Identify redundancies and develop processes to bridge these organizational silos and drive continuous innovation

  1. Digitally Augment Workforce

Reduce human errors by augmenting your knowledge workers with intelligent technologies. Cognitive intelligence helps to speed up tasks and improve decision making, while analytics provide predictive assistance to ensure informed judgment

  1. Enhance Operational Guardrails

Transform processes with automated routing and straight-through processing while ensuring that your systems and workforce are compliant with security requirements. Apply additional business rules to facilitate qualitative checks and balances across your operations

  1. Revitalize Legacy Systems with a Process Automation Layer

Integrate intelligent process automation with legacy systems, ERPs, and backend applications to bridge silos and enable flexibility in processes. A well-designed digital process layer over these rigid existing systems is crucial to provide easy access to information along with omnichannel engagement

  1. Enhance Employee Engagement with Gamification

Boost the productivity of your workforce and motivate them by creating a game-like experience with innovative employee engagement programs. Leverage technology to track progress in real time, get instant notifications, and gain insights into the performance of your employees

  1. Incentivize ExternalStakeholders

Leverage technological advancements to enable better synergy with suppliers, partners, and customers. Develop activity and performance-based scorecards, grading systems, and incentivization schemes to encourage digital integration and collaboration.

The Way Forward

The decision to transform your shared services model should be taken in the wider context of your overall business strategy. Basic automation is not enough, and so you must aim to achieve agility, flexibility, and high levels of regulatory compliance. A strategically planned and managed intelligent automation initiative can enable you to optimize your processes and future-proof your SSC.

(The author is Senior Vice President – Sales & Marketing / Products at Newgen Software and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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