Overview: Shared Services

As the main performance lever of SG&A, the Shared Services model is now widely adopted, and continues to develop based on feedback

Shared Services are a major lever for company performance. Beyond the opportunities they offer for improving efficiency and strengthening expertise, they can make the company more flexible by accelerating the integration of acquisitions or by rapidly adjusting the organization during cyclical low points.

Context

The Shared Services model has become a standard in the support functions and is growing within operations. It involves regrouping the means and resources in an organization whose aim is to provide a more efficient service and better expertise to the company's operational entities.

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The benefits are numerous: economies of scale, institutionalization, flexibility, industrialization of processes, and development of expertise. Above all, it enables management to focus on operations and clients.

The model leverages all support functions (e.g. Finance, HR, Procurement, IT, Customer Support) and certain business processes (e.g. Logistics, Engineering). It is becoming more widespread in countries and business units, with major variants: local, regional, and global Shared Services, governance by function or cross-function, use of outsourcing, etc.

Challenges

Companies that do not yet have Shared Services are wondering how to catch up. Those whose model has been deployed are wondering how to move forward to increase efficiency. However mature the company is, its senior managers are likely to be asking the following strategic questions:

  • What is the target vision for Shared Services? What scope does it cover?
  • How can we choose correct models? Multi-country/multi-BU? What type of governance?
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  • Where will the centers be located?
  • Should we use outsourcing?
  • What is the business case?
  • Which roadmap should we choose?
  • And, above all, how do we manage the transformation?

 

How can Argon Consulting help you?

  • Strategy and roadmap: the construction of a company-specific target vision for Shared Services by involving decision-makers; the preparation of a clear roadmap integrating ambition and the ability to implement all technical and HR parameters. The target vision and transformation roadmap are supported by a realistic business case. This approach is also used for model development, coverage of new services, globalization, integration of end-to-end processes, and use of outsourcing
  • Implementation: the management of all implementation workshops (organization, HR, social, processes, systems, infrastructure, governance, and management) and securing of the critical transition phase, without impacting the business
  • Governance, management, and pricing: these topics are addressed in the implementation phase, but they may evolve as Shared Services matures. Such an evolution will entail optimizing the governance model, management system, and service charge-back rules
  • Shared Services Performance: once Shared Services have been implemented, they must deliver the expected performance. This means identifying and activating all relevant levers in order to improve the service provided and cut costs
  • Digital transformation: this is a major Shared Services performance lever. E-invoicing, workflows, services management and steering solutions, as well as SaaS, Cloud, and mobile solutions specific to certain processes, must be integrated into the digital transformation roadmap for Shared Services
  • Choosing and implementing BPO: the preparation of the outsourcing strategy for certain activities, the selection of an outsourcer, and the implementation of all technical and HR aspects