Robotic Process Automation RIP??

At the recent European Shared Services Week in Manchester (16th-18th May 2017) there seemed to be a definite shift away from speakers merely saying how they had done a massive ‘lift and shift’ programme. With more SSCs moving into the mature category, delegates now want insights into how to truly transform and optimise processes, and that seems to be about the march of the robotics. Ian Herbert reports

SSC Workshop: Talent Management and Ascending the Value Chain

This workshop was hosted by The National University of Malaysia, UKM, in association with the Loughborough University Shared Services Project . The two themes of the meeting were SSC Talent Management and Data Analytics as route to ascending the value chain.

Representatives from various organisations like MDeC, Shell Pte LtD Co, CIMA and TalentCorp actively participated in the workshop.

Click SSC UKM forum for pictures from the SSC workshop.

To read further on how the events unfolded click here

 

 

 

Are we really competing? Should we be collaborating?

Following their presentation last week to the  Embracing Efficiencies and Shared Services in Higher Education event, Andrew Rothwell and Ian Herbert (pictured) of Loughborough University’s Centre for Global Sourcing and Services outline their predictions for a range of new public-private partnerships, with shared services taking a key role.

As insiders to the university sector, our Collaboration and Shared Services in Higher Education report explains the potential for applying some of the innovations we have seen in both public and private sector shared service organisations across the world.

This particular enquiry, commissioned by the Efficiency Exchange project for Universities UK, seeks to present best practice seen in our case study organisations in the context of the University sector. It’s probably fair to say that the outcome wasn’t quite what we expected it to be.

We knew from the organsations we studied that the best shared services are far more than just a centralised function and are based on sound principles which, to varying degrees, should be capable of replication in many organisations.

At the same time, shared services are not without their critics, and there have been some high profile failures often where these principles have not been followed. Put simply, the Shared Service Centre (SSC) model benefits from process simplification and effective division of labour to reduce the duplication of work. Hence, where two or three separate organisations – or divisions of the same organisation – might initially have each had their own support functions such as human resources, IT, finance and procurement, the SSC combines these, working with a market outlook to offer cost effective solutions across the organisation.

Process standardisation

We have found that the best SSCs start with system and process standardisation, enabling a ‘single version of the truth’ throughout the management chain. While the migration of organisational functions into the SSC may take place gradually, these are also scalable, that is, their scope can be extended.

Far from the high profile failures, the best shared services are indeed ‘below the radar’ operating quietly and efficiently often unseen by the parent organisations and seamlessly joined up as far as clients and customers are concerned. Mature SSCs go beyond their initial expectations to become a ‘best of breed’ source of process expertise, selling their services beyond the initial client organisations.

Ultimately, in a globally connected world, knowledge work isn’t limited by national boundaries and professional and business services tasks may be migrated to economies with low labour costs, ultimately seeking out ‘the cheapest place on earth’. Western economies have no divine right to operate business support activities, hence our assertion that the internet enabled ‘knowledge-based economy’ doesn’t represent a sustainable future, if the work can be undertaken in any location.

Pressures

As new economic and political pressures are placed on the university sector to become more efficient, shared services were inevitably put forward as a possible solution. Well, guess what? The university sector had been quietly developing its own approach to shared services for many years in a similar way to other organisations, but rather distinctively. Hence, some shared activities have undertaken projects that no single university could achieve, for example,  the Education Shared Information Security Service (ESISS), which projects itself as ‘by the sector, for the sector’. Sharing expensive assets and equipment is an another example of collaboration between institutions.

There are also some things that really shouldn’t be done by universities acting on their own: UCAS, the universities and colleges admissions services ensures fairness and order on what would otherwise surely be a chaotic and overly competitive process. It’s this competitive aspect  of universities that makes their collaboration so interesting, as they will often choose to collaborate in areas which do not immediately offer a position of competitive advantage: domestic services for example. Strategic sourcing is another area of activity which has harnessed ‘group buying’ principles to realise cost savings.

Innovation and leadership

While the examples described are relatively common, some universities have been genuinely innovative and offered leadership in areas which we think will become more commonplace. Hence, shared campuses such as University Campus Suffolk bring the resources of two institutions to bear on providing higher education in an otherwise less populous region.

We predict that a range of new public-private partnerships, where the SSC is a separate company essentially selling its services back to one or more institutions, will become more widespread. FX Plus in Falmouth is a notable leader in this field. In Singapore, our own university is in partnership with a private sector organisation along with several other UK and Australian universities. The UK Government is keen to foster a market outlook in education but are we really competing? Or should we be collaborating.

Ian Herbert and Dr Andrew Rothwell are based at The School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. Their longitudinal research on shared services has been supported by the Charitable and General Trust of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Universities UK. Further details at www.shared-services-research.com

Ian Herbert will be further exploring the role of shared services in the universities of the future in Sydney, Australia, on 12 October 2015 see University Transformation 2015.

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Memo to Vice Chancellor: Shared Services, stop and think!

The shared service model has been a success story in the private sector and increasingly in many parts of the public sector. In the face of continuing austerity, it is tempting for hard pressed VCs to grab something out of the management toolkit that now seems to be proven to make worthwhile savings.
However, the increasing ubiquity of the shared service model belies a number of more nuanced issues that need careful thought if implementation is to work in HE; not least because league table driven competition is not conducive to mutual sharing and collaboration within the sector.
Ahead of University Transformation 2015, Ian Herbert and Andrew Rothwell of Loughborough University’s CIMA-Loughborough SSC Project explain how the shared service phenomenon is more than just about headline cost savings.
The following lessons have been gleaned from 10 years of research into Shared Service Centres in the UK and across the world.
1. Think beyond immediate cost savings
Whilst no Financial Director can be expected to sign-off on a business case in which the cash benefits do not exceed the outlay, many of the real advantages of shared services are qualitative and, indeed, often serendipitous.
It is always difficult to quantify ‘back office’ savings because the activities that are being aggregated together have previously been embedded in disparate operational units/departments, where the cost base is often opaque and subject to political posturing. We used to do it cheaper and better! (Herbert and Seal, 2012).
In our research, we have had a variety of answers to the question ‘how much has the SSC saved?’ Whilst, there have been some grand claims we suspect that the most honest answers are something like:
“We can’t be sure but after two years we now have around half the previous headcount, and yet people are doing more than they did before.”
Another response is, “Although there was a significant implementation cost, some of the spending in upgrading systems and in redundancies might arguably have occurred anyway.”
Universities can learn a lot from what has been happening in the private sector. Outsourcing led the way in Information Technology in the 1990s but, whilst there is always the potential for cost
reduction in all aspects of support services, the real benefits of a comprehensive approach to sharing business support services tends to be around the potential for organisation-wide standardisation. In other words, designing end-to-end processes which go right across the organisation: processes that are underpinned by information systems and which create a ‘single version of the truth’. This enables greater visibility and therefore the opportunity for better control and coordination from the centre, whilst simultaneously promoting empowerment. This is because actions and results can be seen and compared with more confidence.
The Shared Service model is often sold on the basis of cost reduction, but many organisations in the UK are finding that this is not always the main issue. In higher education the ‘big picture’ is about students and how to best support them in a research-led environment. For example, if you think about the costs of running a university, typically 70% of the total cost is pay/on-costs, 80% of which goes on frontline teaching and research staff. The new territory will likely be about how the philosophy of the shared services model might be applied to teaching and research activities?
2. Think big, but don’t try and do the ‘big plan’
This is counter intuitive in an era of systematic corporate planning regimes. However, many successful SSCs start in small, sometimes even happenchance ways. The typical approach in the private sector is to target the low-hanging fruit such as payroll (a critical activity but essentially a programmable one). Only after migration, stabilisation and re-engineering have been completed are then further activities added. The overriding priority in getting to ‘Base 1’ is to establish a mutual understanding and good working relationship with ‘client’ departments, this will be essential when the trickier activities are tackled.
In our research we have found that the public sector still favours the ‘big-bang’ approach, sometimes with disastrous consequences (see the UK’s National Audit Office report on the combined SSC and ERP implementation at the UK Research Councils, 2012).
First and foremost, shared services are a business transformation issue. It is about finding a better way of doing business. Whereas people often think, ‘let’s change the business by opening the toolbox and pulling out shared services.’ In our view, this does not work and is an anathema to how we have seen successful shared services being undertaken.
Rather it has to work the other way around. It has got to be a programme of business process transformation that sets out a vision of what an operating model will look like in, say, ten years’ time.
Shared services and selective outsourcing can play a leading role in business transformation, but neither should the ’tail wag the dog’.
3. Don’t assume a new computer will solve all the other problems
It is tempting to start shared services with a big investment that will in itself enforce harmonisation of working practices across campus. After all, ‘technology is the future’ and a new ERP system comes with all sorts of ‘persuasive’ benefits.
However, there are some notorious examples where organisational change has failed because the technological platform has not lived up to expectations or there have not been the appropriate working relationships and procedures established on the ground to make things happen in a sustainable way. Top management sponsorship is vital although it can be much harder to ‘sell’ soft organisational change and keep them interested when there is no big capital project to flag up risks at board meetings.
4. Contracts are bad, partnerships are good
At the sign-off stage, senior management naturally want to see a nice ‘watertight’ contract that absolves them from accusations of sloppy governance that has a legal redress against a third-party and hence, such thinking misses the philosophy of shared services. There may be no third-party to sue: it is always difficult to mount a legal case about the poor performance of outsourcing in many aspects of STE support services. Good governance is about continual mutual adjustment between the SSC and its customers in the operating units. At all levels of management, the talk needs to be about ‘partnerships’ and not ‘contracts’. One of the most insightful quotes in our study came from a divisional manager in an engineering consultancy;
“We spend a lot of time up-front negotiating service level agreements. This helps to guide a discussion about what we need, what the SSC can reasonably deliver, how much it will cost and also what we have to do on our side. But, when the new financial year starts, the SLA’s go into my drawer. If we have to take them out and refer to the letter of the agreement then it means the service has already failed and we cannot allow that to happen. If we have got things wrong we have to quickly adapt, not start threatening to ‘sue’ each other internally.
That’s the big difference of the SSC model compared with outsourcing, retaining the flexibility to do what is appropriate for the culture and the business context. One large multi-national company with 5,000 plus SSC workers has abandoned SLAs, seeing them as ‘anti-trust’ systems.
Business transformation is about keeping an open mind and being able to understand why we are in the business of education? But, it is also about acceptance that some parts of our work are not directly about education, hence generic business support processes can be a significant element.
5. Shared Service Centres are for life, not just for Christmas
Many of the ‘big prizes’ in adopting the SSC model can only be realised over time. For example, the standardisation of processes and protocols across a range of operating units is likely to also save money in the front-line units, but the payback will be largely hidden. In a study of an SSC implementation in the Swedish justice system, Janssen and Joha (2006) found that many of the planned benefits did not actually arise but other, largely unforeseen, benefits did emerge.
In a university context, it is likely that shared services are not going to deliver a lot in terms of headline cost reduction in the short term. They will not move the performance needle of the whole university. But, what perhaps they can do is to create a culture of sharing and collaboration within and between institutions. In addition, standardisation of working practices, systems, processes and protocols, will enable greater comparability between departments, and indeed, with other universities. This sort of transformation will ultimately result in a long-term improvement in the way the whole HE sector operates and is governed.

Ian Herbert and Dr Andrew Rothwell are based at The School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University. Their longitudinal research on shared services has been supported by the Charitable and General Trust of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and Universities UK.
Ian Herbert will be further exploring the role of shared services in the universities of the future at University Transformation 2015.

For more information visit www.universitytransformation.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au
References
Herbert I.P. and Seal W.B. (2012) Shared services as a new organisational form: Some implications for management accounting, The British Accounting Review 44 (2), p. 85.
Janssen, M. and Joha, A. (2006) Motives for establishing shared service centres in public administrations, International Journal of Information Management, 26, 102-115.
National Audit Office (2012) Efficiency and reform in government corporate functions through shared service centres, Report by the comptroller and the Auditor General, HC 1780, Session 2010-2012, London, National Audit Office, p.10, http://www.nao.org.uk/report/efficiency-and-reform-in-government-corporate-functions-through-shared-service-centres/

Trends in Sourcing

Contributor:  Ian Herbert
Posted:  09/02/2015  12:00:00 AM EDT

Tags:   Loughborough | Ian Herbert | sourcing | trends | outsourcing | skills | talent

Interview with Ian Herbert, Loughborough University, School of Business and Economics – deputy Director Centre for Global Sourcing and Services

Question: Which sourcing trends has your research identified?

The SSC/BPO field is maturing, especially in the private sector. The public sector is still lagging but I think will be given a huge impetus in the UK as a result of the ongoing austerity budgets.

The question is no longer ‘should we externalise?’… but how? Or, if not, then YOU need to explain to the board, why not?

Question: Are there any red flags?

A big one is that the SSC sector could become a victim of its own success. Any business that is predicated on ever-reducing cost finds it hard to keep its strategic vision moving forward. Managers can end up without the time or the capability to develop ground breaking new ideas, especially when top management have a view that the shared services project is complete and their attention has moved on.

Question: Which way is the wind blowing? Towards shared services or outsourcing?

The overall trend is still towards outsourcing. But I think we will see a more sophisticated range of in-house/outhouse, onshore/nearshore options for getting work done – the future is fluid, blended, hybrid.

Question: Will SSCs look more like internal outsourcers?

Yes, there will be a greater psychological divide between the core firm and the SSC, especially in the transactional activities. However, many SSCs are not actually using activity-based recharges yet, but this will change.

Question: Why is that?

The emphasis has been on getting change enacted. Corporate boards have been happy to see year-on-year reductions. Optimisation through recharging has been seen as unnecessary or risky but this will change as the standardisation project matures.

Question: Has standardisation got further to go?

Yes, and there are a number of levels. The age old defence of ‘we’re special’ doesn’t hold water any longer. Further standardisation will be around:

  • Across the organisation
  • Across similar industries
  • International Financial Reporting Standards
  • More general consumer-driven IT platforms (ebay  customer customisable).

The drive will be towards standard corporate platforms that enable an organisation to do most common activities in a common way. Now that doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t a need for appropriate customisation, at an appropriate cost, but that those business areas that really do need to do things differently will have to evolve work-arounds to the common systems. The question is, should the division or the SSC do the work-arounds?

Question: What about technology?

I think the technology ‘problem’ is largely solved. By that I mean poor technology used to be an impediment to business as usual, but by and large systems don’t fail in the way that they used to. However, IT capacity and Systems capability continue to advance and there are massive opportunities for business process centres to move towards running on a ‘lights out’ basis, whilst improving service levels and options. Self-service apps will drive this trend and in the process provide massively richer data for business analytics.

Question: Any particular triggers there?

My view is that Windows 10 will offer a more seamless corporate platform for apps between the desktop and mobile devices. At present, mobiles are still more of a personal rather than a corporate issue.

Question: What about talent management?

Here are some of the trends I am seeing:

  • Labour becomes ‘near to free’ –automation will be targeted at high-cost locations
  • Less distinction between functions
  • Functional groups will be led by process rather than discipline based experts – technical skills will become a given
  • Diminishing distinction between sub-fields e.g. financial and management accounting (but also expert specialisation)
  • Business support functions are being: deskilled, automated then moved overseas, leading to
  • An ‘hourglass shaped’ economy in developed (sunset) countries
  • An emerging experience gap, and…
  • Sustainability issues for professional labour forces in developed economies.

Ian Herbert chaired SSON’s European Shared Services and Outsourcing Week 2015. For details of this year’s SSOWeek China, please see below.

New standard: not just BS(i)

In this article Ian Herbert of Loughborough University’s Global Sourcing and Services
Centre asks Nick Fleming of the British Standards Institute how far standardisation can
go in business support services and how it helps business process centres (BPCs).

To read full article from the Professional Outsourcing Magazine click here

 

Shared services in higher education: 5 things you might not expect to read

Ian Herbert and Andrew Rothwell explain how shared services are more than just about  headline cost savings, based on 10 years of research.

The shared services model has been a success story in both the private
sector and many parts of the public sector and is being actively
considered in higher education.
It is tempting for hard-pressed senior managers in higher education to
grab something from the management toolkit that seems to have been
proven to make worthwhile savings in private and public sector
organisations. The shared service model is one such tool. However,
there are number of more nuanced issues that need careful
consideration if benefits are to be realised.
Let’s kick off with five things you might not expect to read.
1. Think beyond immediate cost savings

While no financial director can be expected to sign off on a business
case in which benefits do not exceed cost, many of the real advantages
of shared services are both qualitative and serendipitous. It is always
very difficult to quantify savings because the services that are being
rationalised had previously been embedded in discrete business units
where the cost base was often opaque and subject to political posturing.
When we’ve asked the question “How much have you saved with the
shared service centre (SSC)?”, we’ve heard a variety of answers. While
there have been some big claims, we suspect the most honest answers
are something like, “We can’t be sure but after two years we have
around half the previous headcount doing more than they did before but
there was also a big implementation cost, some of which might arguably
have had to be spent anyway”.
2. Think big, but don’t try and do the “big plan”
This is counter-intuitive in an era of methodical corporate planning
systems. However, many successful SSCs start in small, sometimes
even happenchance ways, which establish the basis of mutual
understanding and longer term working relationships. Go for the lowhanging
fruit such as payroll (critical but relatively standard) and then
add further activities as appropriate.
3. Don’t assume a new computer will solve all the other problems
It is tempting to start shared services with a big investment that will
galvanise action and enforce common working. After all, technology is
the future and a new ERP system comes with all sorts of guaranteed
benefits. However, there are some notoriously bad examples where
social change has failed because the technological platform has failed or
there have not been the appropriate working relationships and
procedures established on the ground to make things happen in a
sustainable way.
4. Contracts are bad, partnerships are good

Again, at the sign-off stage, senior managers want to see a nice
watertight contract that absolves them from accusations of sloppy
governance, even if they cannot sue for satisfactory legal redress. But
such thinking misses the big picture about shared services, which is
about continual mutual adjustment between the SSC and its customers
in the operating units.
All levels of management need to talk about partnerships and not
contracts.
One of the most insightful quotes in our study came from a divisional
manager: “We spend a lot of time upfront negotiating service level
agreements. This helps to guide a discussion about what we need, what
the SSC can reasonably deliver and how much it will cost. But when the
new financial year starts the SLAs go into my drawer. If I have to take
them out and refer to the letter of the agreement then it means the
service has failed and we cannot allow that to happen. If we have got
things wrong we have to quickly adapt, not start threatening to ‘sue’ each
other internally.”
That’s the big difference compared with outsourcing. One large company
with 5,000 plus SSC workers has abandoned even SLAs, seeing them
as “anti-trust” systems.
5. Shared service centres are not just a “quick fix” – they need to be
sustainable

Many of the big prizes in adopting the SSC model can only be realised
over time. For example, standardisation of processes and protocols
across a range of operating units is likely to save money. But, the real
rewards do not arise until the last 20% of activity actually becomes
standardised. A study of an SSC implementation in the Swedish justicesystem found that many of the planned benefits did not arise but other
largely unforeseen benefits did emerge, such as dissemination of best
practice, better information security, capturing learning from experiences,
predictability of costs and a reduction of overcapacity.
For more information, see the shared services section on the Efficiency
Exchange.
Ian Herbert and Andrew Rothwell are based at The School of Business
and Economics, Loughborough University. Their longitudinal research on
shared services has been supported by the Charitable and General Trust
of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
You can learn more about this area in a shared services forum at the
University of Northampton on 14 May.

 

 

Shared Services so far so good, but where next for the standardisation project?

In this article Ian Herbert, Loughborough University, considers the shared services project in the wider context of the multi-divisional corporations and asks whether SSC managers are thinking strategically about the right balance between standardised processes and customised services.

 

Henry Ford had a great formula. Make only one model and colour but produce motor cars so efficiently that a new market with massive demand is created. People who had never owned a car found lots of things to do with them. They could change the way they did things and where they did them. Moving out of cities and driving back in to work. The key to success was the standardisation of both the end product and the manufacturing process. Ford had drawn from the defence industry’s development of interchangeable parts and the flow process systems of Chicago meat packers. However, once American customers became more demanding and markets became more sophisticated a new organisational approach was required. Step forward Alfred Sloan, who remodelled General Motors into what became known as the new multi-divisional form. In this approach, semi-autonomous divisions could now be left to their own devices to serve individual segments of the overall market, because their managers could be controlled by measuring the Return on Capital Employed. Some inefficiency in production and sales could be tolerated because overall the system was effective in giving customers a greater choice.

Roll forward to the end of the 20th Century and the forces of global competition – initially from Japanese manufacturers – raised the performance bar significantly in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. Organisations now had to be cheap, flexible and innovative, in ways not thought possible only 50 years ago. More recently, the philosophy has changed to micro-level marketing from ‘dozens of markets of millions, to millions of markets of dozens’ according to Joe Kraus, founder of the pre-Google search engine Excite.

This history is important because the shared services phenomena has largely been predicated on rolling back the inefficient diversity and duplication created in all those individual business divisions. The SSC is a modern day, Henry Ford-style, standardisation project. There is of course much sense in this. One SSC manager told us she’d found 39 different maternity forms across the company and had replaced all of them with just one new form. Such stories are not untypical, there are huge savings to be made in the back office of most organisations, especially when it comes to rationalising a dozen or so legacy systems into a single ERP system. However, the questions that SSC managers now need to be asking themselves is this, ‘If the rest of the world is becoming more customer focussed and thus fragmented, how much more mileage can there be in a standardisation project? Will standardisation go too far and will corporate competitiveness suffer?  Will someone think of a totally new way of doing the back office that will enable a new breed of companies, designed to operate as ‘virtual’ organisations to compete in your markets?

Of course, there’s no clear cut answer to the customisation versus standardisation question. For every good example of each, there is a counter example and a counter argument.  If you are reading this on your ipad or iphone think about the Apple proposition. Here is a company that fought, and largely lost to Microsoft, the battle for a standard computer operating system– perhaps the ultimate standardisation project. Apple then stitched together a number of different technologies that had mostly been developed in government funded research projects (e.g. mobile phones, the internet, touchscreen technology, GPS, motion sensors, etc.) and came up with a totally standard (white) product but which was infinitely customisable by users (Mazzucato, 2013). Customers find their own ways of working around the standard system. Motorola are now developing a modular phone that consumers can assemble into a standard chassis from component ‘blocks’ supplied by ‘best of breed’ developers. Totally standard, totally customisable.

So the world has gone crazy, but that’s no reason not to have a clear view of what your shared service centre is trying to do and how it is supporting the wider company at the standardisation-customisation interface.

The key terms here are ‘sensible standardisation’ and ‘appropriate customisation’. The chief problem facing most shared services is that they can lead the debate in the early honeymoon period of the SSC but, if the sole rationale is to cut costs, there comes a point at which SSC managers become so involved in just keeping day-to-day operations going that they lose the time for strategic thinking, and thus influencing the wider agenda of business support services business support services across the organisation.

The underlying problem is that most SSCs are designed to rationalise the existing parent company systems. In other words, creating the optimal system for XYZ plc, not necessarily the best system for XYZ plc. There is usually a difference. Those SSCs, especially in the public sector, that are offering their services to other organisations are having to think hard about the wider agenda and this sense of discipline is likely to be better for their long term survival.

Perhaps it will not be too long before someone ‘stitches’ together the emerging public domain technologies into a set of ‘apps’ that will run the majority of small companies? EBay is an interesting example of an accounting system that serves millions of diverse customers. It’s ‘free’, totally standard but enables someone to buy a private plane one minute and an antique stamp the next. At the same time it provides a management information resource and audit trail to rival many proprietary small business accounting packages. It also comes with a ‘free’ buyer-seller policing system that is faster and more effective than debt collecting through the courts.

Obviously, such standardisation will not suit every situation and ebay customers need to be able to work-around the system to suit their own business and life-style needs. One of the success stories for SSCs is in eliminating shadow systems yet, work-arounds proliferate to get around standard processes. The questions for corporate SSCs are;

  1. When should the official system be customised to reduce the need for unofficial work-arounds?
  2. Who should do the work arounds? The SSC should be far more cost efficient at doing the necessary work-arounds than in the divisions but, the direction of travel for most SSC is about getting smaller not larger. Thus, the cost of work-arounds is shunted into the business.
  3. At what stage do work-arounds subvert the corporate culture such that no-one sees any merit in keeping the overall system functional?

It is beyond the scope of this article to propose any sweeping solutions, but as a suggestion it might be an interesting exercise to find out what ‘work-arounds’ are happening and who is doing them. You might be surprised by the answers. Whichever way, the results will enable the SSC to have a meaningful discussion with the C-suite about the best way of supporting the people in the business: the people who have to get lots of different stuff done for different customers every day. If the answer is that the SSC WILL be totally standard and people in the business will just need to make it work, then you might as well just outsource the whole thing today!

Ian Herbert is deputy Director of the Centre for Global Sourcing and Services at The School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University.

 

Email the SSC research team at Loughborough University ssc-research-team@lboro.ac.uk or visit the project website at www.shared-services-research.com

 

Project support by the General Charitable Trust of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants.

 

References

 

Mazzucato, M. (2013) The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Anthem Press: London.