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Does my organization need a Shared Services Center and how to build it effectively?

More and more organizations see the benefits of centralizing their processes and creating Shared Services Centers. Sii Poland decided on implementing this solution as well. Which companies should start considering creating an SSC and is it a good model for any organization? What are the best practices in implementation and what was the process like at Sii Poland?

Shared Services Center (SSC), is a separate unit within a given company that carries out specific processes for the benefit of the entire company. An SSC can be located both in the country in which a given company operates or some other country. The most common processes transferred to the SSC are those in the area of finance or accounting. More and more companies are also deciding to centralize customer service, HR, purchasing support, administrative services and IT services, such as user support, system maintenance, and many others. What these areas have in common is that they are transactional processes, necessary, but not key elements of the organization’s functioning. So, without high risk, they can be implemented in a separate unit.

Who are the SSCs for?

Which companies should start considering creating an SSC and is it a good model for any organization?

– It is a very good solution for geographically dispersed companies, i.e. companies with many offices, branches. In such organizations, separate departments in each location duplicating the same tasks, generate unnecessary costs – says Ewa Lisawa-Sztandor, Offering Leader and the initiator of Shared Services Center at Sii Poland.

A frequent problem of multi-branch organizations is the difficulty in maintaining the defined quality standards and overall monitoring of the entire processes. Despite the introduction of many procedures, regulations and precise instructions, the tasks are not performed in accordance with internal regulations. As a result, the quality and time of their completion leaves much to be desired.

Another argument in favor of creating an SSC is the availability of resources and the cost savings. Thanks to the possibility of locating such a unit in a place where the level of remuneration and labor costs are lower, and access to qualified staff is often easier, we also optimize the process of acquiring new employees.

The answer to piling up challenges

Sii Poland has decided to create an SSC that will take over the processes in the administrative area. How did the process itself go?

– We have made the first decisions regarding the location and type of processes that will be transferred to the SSC. We started with the registration and allocation of documents, and we chose Lublin as the location for the newly created unit – says Ewa Lisawa-Sztandor.

Why was the registration of documents the first process?

  • Document registration is not a simple process, because apart from the standard registration of a document in the system (all documents are registered in the ERP system Microsoft Dynamics 365), costs are allocated and their approval has to be monitored. It requires a solid training in many Sii processes, instructions and procedures, and when the process remains fragmented, its monitoring is difficult.
  • Sii has offices in 14 locations, in each of which specialists from the Administration Departments were responsible for the registration of documents. In some cases, the standards of conduct were not uniform for all locations in relation to the processes, tasks, paths, task calendar and SLA defined in procedures and instructions.
  • About 6 000 documents were submitted to the company every month and this number was constantly growing.
  • Sii hired new people every month to keep up with the registration of the growing number of documents.
  • Every month, in each branch, Sii specialists had to train newly hired people joining the processes, devoting a lot of time and effort to it.
  • The quality of the documents registered was not uniform: from high to below expectations. It depended on the time spent on training new people and the degree of constant monitoring of the quality of the entered data.
  • The company noticed an upward trend in cost indicators.

All these arguments confirmed Sii experts’ suppositions that this type of service should be managed globally and implemented in one location.

Good practices in the implementation of the SSC

What is important while planning such changes?

– The decision to change the model of executing business process towards the creation of an SSC is a strategic decision. It is a complex project and a change for the company, it means new management, processes, tools, standardization, documents and people, and many other aspects. In the future we anticipate financial savings and a long list of operational benefits – says Ewa Lisawa-Sztandor.

Good preparation is the key to success, so such a project should be divided into several parts:

  1. Audit of current processes and systems, i.e. inventory and process maps, document flows, acceptance paths, systems and applications that support the process.
  2. Planning the necessary changes – this is a key stage, where it is necessary to decide on the construction of new organizational structures, design a new method of service implementation and management, plan standardization and optimization, define changes in systems and applications, define the division of responsibilities, escalation paths, repositories, and how to monitor KPI and SLA. And all this to achieve your business goals.
  3. And finally, the implementation of the change, i.e. the preparation of the implementation project schedule, building the project team, implementation of the implementation, preparation of documentation: procedures, instructions, as well as the preparation of office space, workplaces, team recruitment. And of course, we cannot forget about people: training and proper communication to employees.

Shared Services Center at Sii Poland

At Sii, the new SSC has been operating smoothly for a year. Business goals have been achieved: an excessive number of reminders and escalations have been ruled out, Sii experts have prepared RACI – the responsibility matrix and many reports, thanks to which Managers can easily monitor the process and costs.

– It is with great satisfaction that we have noticed a document registration quality increased up to 99,5%, reducing the time spent on entering them into the system by 30% and reducing the number of people involved in the process by 40%. We met our assumptions and achieved success! That is why we have already started work on transferring further processes to the SSC – summarizes Ewa Lisawa-Sztandor.

If your company is also looking for opportunities to optimize financial and accounting processes, use the experience of Sii Poland consultants. Our experts from the Business Advisory & BPO Competency Center will support you at every stage of the SSC creation project. If you have any questions, contact us through our website!

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