This year’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Week (SSOW), hosted by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network, couldn’t have come at a better time. As we face a post-pandemic labor shortage, considering strategies to maximize the resources your organization already has in place is just one way a shared services approach can help bridge gaps.
Having attended SSOW a few weeks ago, and as The Clearing’s resident shared services SME, I’m glad to share my key conference takeaways.
The Shift to Digitization is Changing Shared Services
Some organizations are evolving from Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to what is called Intelligent Automation (IA). IA is a key element of enhancing Machine Learning that is required before the evolution to more sophisticated, true Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines. AI and the capabilities it allows for, such as Predictive Decisioning, have the potential to help organizations utilize limited resources more efficiently and push forward the adoption of shared services capabilities even further. Imagine freeing your shared services teams up from rote activities to focus on tasks with bigger organizational impacts – it’s on the horizon as AI moves closer to reality.
The Softer Side of Shared Services
Shared services and outsourcing can often feel impersonal (i.e., simply “people in seats” to fulfill a specific need) vs. a truly integrated part of a team or organization. Today, more shared services providers and leaders are recognizing the importance of understanding an organization’s culture in order to help drive transformation and change. It’s something organizations seem to know to be true, but not something that’s always effectively practiced. In short, culture plays a critical role in organizational transformation, and everyone – team members AND contractors – play a role in that culture.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
I have recently had the opportunity to observe a number of shared services forums that were focused on how best to acquire talent – and what new talent is looking for in terms of flexibility related to work hours, location, etc. One of the SSOW sessions was led by a former Clearing client, Paul Bartley.
In The Changing Face of Shared Services – Where is the Industry Heading?, Paul outlined several top issues (Labor Shortage; Hiring; Retention) that leaders in this post-COVID world are more worried about than efficiency. The session really showed how intertwined the key themes covered above are: fewer people require greater efficiency to complete tasks and a shared services approach is often the best way to facilitate that; however in the current competitive job market retaining shared services team members is harder than ever, making effective organizational culture development more critical than ever.
To talk more about The Clearing’s approach to shared services or to connect with me, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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