Social media expected to have significant impact on shared services in future
Executives who lead shared services organisations are increasingly accountable to the corporate C-suite, according to IT consulting firm Accenture.
Shared services organisations are designed to reduce overhead costs by consolidating administrative or support functions in areas such as finance, human resources and information technology.
In a new Accenture study released at its eleventh annual Global Shared Services Conference, 59% of the shared services executives polled report to C-suite level officers, including their company’s top finance, operations, human resources and information technology officers. And, 17% of them report directly to the CEO. In a similar study completed by Accenture two years ago, only 8% of the shared services executives reported to the CEO.
Accenture said that as their popularity grows, shared services programs are evolving, and they are being designed to deliver services that require more skill than basic administrative functions.
The study also found that 90% of the companies have already added more geographies and markets to the scope of shared services they deliver. And, within the next five years, 49% of the executives said their shared services organisations intend to deliver innovation services as well as other value-add services, such as data analytics and research. Nearly half (48%) said their organisations would provide communications, treasury, legal and other services that are not typically part of the shared services mix today.
Accenture Finance & Performance Management service line managing director Paul Boulanger said, "As shared services organisations demonstrate their ability to deliver greater strategic value to enterprises they serve and create awareness for the value they create by marketing it within their organisations, their reputation will grow and with that demand for their services."
"That demand is likely to cut across back office services and beyond, with the most successful of the shared services organisations being those that continually improve their processes and services while embracing new technologies."
Looking ahead, social media is expected have an impact on shared services, according to 90% of the executives surveyed, with 57% suggesting it may offer them the opportunity for greater collaboration among employees and greater productivity. Nearly as many (56%) expect it to lead to improved client collaboration and service delivery and 43% said it may increase satisfaction among shared services employees.
"What is clear is that IBS will define the next generation of shared services as top-performing organisations demonstrate the value they can contribute to enterprises they serve, as they become independent, end-to-end service businesses with C-level leadership that are viewed as strategically important to the enterprise as other operating units," said Boulanger.