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What is a shared services delivery model

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

Shared services delivery models are becoming increasingly popular in the business world, as a way of driving growth and increasing profit margins. However, not all of these models are up to the same standard. While some of the basic approaches might be suitable for smaller businesses, your best bet is to opt for one that allows the flexibility you need to grow successfully. To help you make the right choice for your business’s future, read on to discover just why flexibility is key in today’s highly competitive economy,

Inflexible shared services models essentially mean you are putting a cap on how much you can expand your business and keep up with customer and marketplace demands. Instead, you should look at crafting an advanced shared services organisation, which can quickly react to marketplace and competitive changes to stay one step ahead of the game. Starting from the bottom up, you should ensure you consider both business outcomes and customer experience, since these are the two key factors which tie into growth. You should also be sure to link your shared services to your  business strategy, so that your entire organisation is pulling together in the same direction. By making the best use of all the resources available to you, in the most efficient way, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance for success.

So, just how do you come up with an advanced shared services model that brings real value to your business? There are a lot of things to think about, from making use of a wider business ecosystem, to taking a global view of your delivery network and thinking ahead to what customers might demand in the future. While that might sound pretty tricky, the following steps will help you to weigh up the options available to you, and settle on a model that’s the ideal fit for your business.

Firstly, you should ensure you’re thinking about shared services in the right way. It’s useful to look at them as multiple business apps that bring together various key elements that you need to add value to your company, and support your future growth. How do you know if you need to make use of shared services? Take a look at your present operating model, and see just how many times you’ve had to turn a business customer down. Naturally, you’ll want to keep these instances to a minimum, and the best way of doing this is to be fully adaptable, tailoring your services to the needs of each individual client. By pooling resources in the most efficient way, you could cut down on those instances dramatically, and therefore significantly boost how much money your business brings in. No longer will one department find that they simply don’t have the time or resources to keep up with their workload- instead, they can pool their talent with others, so that the customer is always satisfied with the high level service they receive. 

Staying ahead

Shared services also enable you to utilise the most advanced technologies and business approaches available, particularly digital technologies like analytics. If your business isn’t making the most of analytics, they you are in danger of getting left behind. Thanks to analytics, companies are able to clearly see just how well they are performing, and spot and resolve any issues with their business processes before it’s too late. Analytics are also an excellent way of fostering growth, since they allow one to identify where the business is performing particularly well, and concentrate their efforts on this promising area. Not only do shared services provide you with more in-depth analytics, but they will also split that data down into more manageable chunks. Each department can see how they are doing, and executives can be clear on just how the company as a whole is performing. That way, the whole organisation can pull together in the same direction, and you’ll soon find that your rate of growth has improved dramatically.

Now that we’ve made it clear just what shared services models have to offer you, it’s time to think about how to come up with one that’s flexible enough to keep up with the changing demands of your business. An advanced shared services model is made up of multiple components that are all equally important for success. Firstly, the system needs to be customised to fit your particular market. There is no single approach that will work for all businesses, so it’s useful to take a modular approach to your model. Break the business down into chunks that each serve their own function, and then tailor your shared services model around those. Your services model also needs to be able to keep up with the demands of the business, so carefully assess your current business model. That way, you can ensure that your planned shared services are the perfect fit for your unique needs.

Finally, if you want your business to achieve the greatest possible success, then you’ll need to think about the future, as well as the present. That means making the most use out of emerging technologies such as big data and cognitive computing, to predict where demand will come from. Making this a key part of your business approach will ensure that you are always one step ahead of your competitors, and are able to adapt to any changes that you are faced with in your industry.

Fatmir Hyseni, Marketing Manager, Kosbit
Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa

Fatmir Hyseni

 Fatmir Hyseni is Head of Digital at redwigwam - UK's largest platform for flexible staff, and an award-winning chartered marketer with over a decade of delivering marketing strategies.