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Initially bought in to test the feasibility of shared services for this diverse organisation, we helped a Japanese technology client design their shared services approach, analyse locations across Europe then deliver and stabilise their new model.

The background

This varied business had diversified over time to find new applications for their technology. They now wanted to look for opportunities to benefit from standardisation and cost reduction within their back-office functions in difficult economic times.

Our initial aim was to use our experience and knowledge to allow the client to test whether a shared service approach would work for them. As we built our partnership with the organisation, we were able to use our expertise to support them through all stages from design, to implementation and stabilisation of their new model.

The challenge

The history of diversification within the organisation meant that the client had multiple offices offering a wide variety of products and services across Europe. Each of these operations had back-office functions working independently of each other in different ways. In terms of cost effectiveness and service, we could see that there were huge opportunities to be gained from breaking down these silos. However, identifying and unravelling the ‘what, where, when and how’ of moving diverse internal services was understandably complex.

What we delivered

Feasibility analysis to robust strategy

  • Delivered training to align the leadership team behind a joint understanding of a shared service organisation. This provided the foundation for the project as it created a shared vision of what they wanted to achieve.

  • Led the team through a series of accelerated workshops to explore the elements required to build a shared service model with key decision points.​

Structured methodology to facilitate design and planning

  • Mapped current processes across Finance, HR and IT then worked through methodology to agree which elements of delivery should sit within shared services.

  • Led the team through significant ambiguity, utilising the benefit of our experience to make informed and timely decisions.

  • Ensured that the plan brought together the right technology, people, governance, metrics for the move to be successful.

Multi-disciplinary analytics and rigorous process for location selection

  • Established bespoke selection criteria that would allow for objective decision making specific to the client.

  • Analysed potential locations based on five key factors – strategy alignment, cost, skills availability, risk and infrastructure.

  • Provided a shortlist of locations with supporting data, facilitated site visits, due diligence and final decision making.

Implementation and stabilisation

  • Provided transition specialists: practitioners with relevant experience and strong project management skills, to put the plan into place as part of a joint team.

  • Managed relevant activities including work shadowing and knowledge transfer.

  • Measured performance and ensured a stable service was in place to hand over.​

The results

The leadership team selected Gdańsk in Poland as the site that offered the most benefit, both in terms of short term gains and their longer term strategy. This became the European centre for all process within Finance and later HR, with elements of IT service being delivered by an outsourcing partner.

Our pragmatic phased delivery approach meant that an ambitious roll out plan was bought into and delivered. The initiative has achieved significant cost savings, around £1.5 million per year meeting the targets of the business case. In addition it has put the organisation in a strong position to move forwards with greater standardisation, a continuous improvement mind-set and the flexibility to introduce new service lines.

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