The shared services landscape continues to flourish as SSO leaders make aggressive commitments to improve their operating models. In a prospering industry, the race is on to design pioneering initiatives for an unmatched competitive advantage amongst competitors. With advancing technologies, new analytical tools, and other emerging trends its no surprise that shared services is advancing at a rapid pace, paving way for change and innovation.

In order to truly understand the current state of the shared services landscape, we took a look at basic statistics covering the most common shared services functions, geographic locations, and SSC lifespan. When compared to past global market reports, these statistics can highlight how the original models have pushed the more matured organizations to the front of the competition. These front runners are those who are now in search of the next innovative trend in order to keep them ahead.

Other data collected, like current and future initiatives, lead us into the emerging trends of the shared services market across operating models, strategies, and talent. These core competencies are the solid strengths that, when leveraged properly, can push shared services operations to the maximum potential. With 68% of leaders stating they are leveraging Centers of Expertise, it has proven to be staple function with a focus on driving performance. In terms of planning, other statistics show how leaders are focused on not only driving performance but expanding the scope of their operations. When questioned how they planned on expanding the scope of their SSOs, 41% of respondents stated expanding in terms of additional service offerings while 21% plan on expanding geographically as well as in terms of additional service offerings. This data represents the ambitious goals shared services centers are setting in a saturated industry.

With the maturity of the shared services industry progressing, majority of SSOs are meeting objectives and setting more aggressive goals; almost a third of shared services leaders are targeting a 7% – 10% increase in productivity improvement. This kind of progression has resulted in an urgency to be innovative and brave when introducing new ideas. As shared services models become more standardized, trends towards obtaining more agility and control for operations optimization have risen. Automated technologies are key drivers in this scenario, enabling the capability to easily ramp up or ramp down operations, as well as improve control. Although the SS model is ideal for scaling up successful RPA pilot programs, aggressive targets across the industry should push for more efficient and effective ideas to introduce.

Organizations have begun leveraging data analytics and business insights to obtain better grasp on their work. This presents an open opportunity to not only learn about the gaps in your operations but also produce ideal solutions. The problem remains with being able to properly read the data received in order to analyze and execute based on the results. This has lead to a skill gap in the workforce, which has professionals asking themselves:  Should I learn a whole new skill set or outsource this skill set?

Over the past couple of years, outsourcing has been ignored due to the hype of intelligent automation, with about a 50 – 50 spilt in the industry. Those who stated they outsource work, majority stated that they look towards knowledge services providers that can help them read and analyze data. These results have proven that organizations are seeking services that will provide them with value adding competencies. As these new tools and trends emerge, organizations are searching for help through consultants and advisors in order to make decisions ideal to their objectives. With the influx of change from these emerging trends, share services leaders are most likely to reassess their SS models and turn to advisors for change management consulting.

Change is in the air as shared services organizations discover new tools, emerging trends, and realize the skill gaps ahead. The current landscape illustrates an increase in Centers of Expertise, an urgency to better understand the inner workings of operations, and the need for filling the data analytics skill gap. Managing the change in this year’s industry shift will require new ideas to manage workforce talent, both human and digital, innovative ways to optimize operations in a saturated industry, and how to efficiently achieve successful results. The Shared Services & Outsourcing Week Autumn program analyzes the markets current challenges and supplies you with the skills needed to improve your enterprise value through shared services operations. For more details, access the Shared Services & Outsourcing Week event guide.

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