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Tech & market trends changing how corporates use SSCs

The way companies are using shared service centres (SSCs) is changing rapidly, influenced by technology and a changing marketplace, according to Deloitte's latest survey on global shared service centres. The survey includes data from more than 1,100 shared service centres headquartered in 37 countries.

SSC outlook has shifted

Deloitte Consulting's Noemie Tilghman said: “Just two years ago we saw a focus on evolution into a global business services model, and now a rapidly-changing marketplace, emerging technologies, and a competitive talent pool have significantly shifted the outlook.”

Key trends shaping SSCs

Some of the key trends that will continue to shape the shared service landscape are:

  • Companies are finding new ways to create value beyond the transactional processes usually managed in SSCs.
  • Adoption of more complex, knowledge-based processes among respondents has doubled – or in some cases even tripled – since 2013.
  • SSCs continue to deliver increased value year after year, with 73 per cent of survey respondents reporting productivity increases of 5 per cent or higher.
  • Proximity of SSCs to existing operations or headquarters is becoming a higher priority for companies. This year, US companies were more likely to move their SSCs back to the US and the US became the #1 location for US companies considering a new or relocated centre (beating India into second place).
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive intelligence could transform SSCs by dramatically reducing the money and effort required for routine, labour-intensive tasks. The survey found that 8 per cent of companies polled are already harnessing the power of RPA; 26 per cent are conducting or planning a pilot; and 24 per cent have begun initial research. And 36 per cent of the companies surveyed believe RPA will deliver savings of 20 per cent or more.
  • Attracting and retaining the right talent is a challenge for SSCs. An increasing number of centres have staff turnover rates of 20 per cent or higher.
  • A growing number of corporates surveyed are using an opt-in model for shared services; however, a mandated approach remains more common.
  • Companies are increasingly making their SSCs multi-functional and more companies are showing interest in a growing range of functions, not just finance, HR and IT. This year, 53 per cent of SSCs have multiple functions, compared to 20 per cent in 2013. Deloitte's survey report states: “While finance and HR remain the most often included functions, the inclusion of knowledge-based and non-traditional front and middle office functions continues to rise."

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