5 Mega Trends Affecting Australian Shared Services

The University Of Michigan describes shared services as "a way of organising administrative functions to optimise the delivery of cost-effective, flexible and reliable services to all 'customers'".  Global and Australian businesses are starting to see the benefits of implementing the shared services model.

The Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON) recently released their 2015 Annual State Of The Industry survey, including data for Australia and New Zealand. Here's 5 mega trends they found shaping how Australasian businesses view and implement shared services.

Mega Trend #1: Optimising service delivery

Australian businesses are feeling the urgency to use data analytics, gain business intelligence and eliminate costs. Unfortunately, Australian and New Zealand businesses lag behind the rest of the world in using SharePoint, data entry and document imaging, as well as other workflow management software. However, Australasian businesses identified the top three ways they're going to optimise their services delivery - use of technology, outsourcing for shared services, and increasing the scope of services.

Mega Trend #2: Leveraging digital and automation technology

Mobility is being recognised as a key requirement to all new technology solutions. In fact, Australian centres are significantly ahead of their global peers. One imagines mobile apps and mobile responsive websites as being crucial for a full digital (ie. "paperless") business workflow.

Respondents mentioned these other major focus areas for improving the digitisation of business - enabling end-to-end process flows (57%), cloud-based solutions (54%), ERP consolidation (48%) and process-specific technology applications (39%). 

Mega Trend #3: Data analytics and reporting

Only 1 in 10 respondents globally have a mature "business intelligence" policy, including Australasian shared services centres. Nonetheless, Australasian centres seek to gain from improved data analytics. 

Unsurprisingly, 71% of respondents want to implement business intelligence to reduce costs. 83% want to improve business decision making, and 35% want to identify opportunities to increase cash flow and contribute to financial results. From an operational point of view, 84% of respondents mention that the biggest impact analytics will have is in identifying problem areas for improvement. 51% mention it will help identify oppotunities for improvement in spending. 

Mega Trend #4: Customer-oriented services

It goes without saying that Australasian centres seek to improve customer engagement. To that end, 34% of respondents primarily focus on tracking SLAs and metrics while 30% prioritise tracking customer surveys. 

None of the respondents looked at addressing trends in real time based on social media feedback or other tools such as live online chats with customers. This could be a blind spot in an age where customers want quick engagements with an organisation to solve issues and to provide instant feedback.

Mega Trend #5: Evolving talent/skills

Looking into the future, 42% of respondents saw "Service Excellence" as the most important skillset to cultivate in their teams, with 22% prioritising  "Leadership". Most centres plan to "emphasise training and tying skills to performance reviews" to meet these goals.

With regards to outsourcing, Australasian shared services centres were found to lead other regions in tapping outsourcing relationships to support business growth and expand talent, skills and services. Here's the top six things they now want from their BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) partners: lower cost for the same work, process automation, higher quality with fewer errors, more transparency, access to technology and scalability.

Sharing the challenge of shared services

Here at Team Wired we understand the needs of Australian businesses and Australian shared services centres. Whether you're looking to access new markets at rapid rates or serve demanding internal and external customers, we can help. Why not get in touch with us today? 

Photo credit: Flickr/opensource.com. Research credit: 2015 Annual State Of The Shared Services Industry Report, SharedServicesWeek.Com.Au