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Shared services aren't just admin tasks and outsourcing isn't a bad word: Thoughts from HR/Financials/GRC 2011 jumpstart day

by Laura Casasanto

March 7, 2011

Jumpstart day of HR 2011, Financials 2011, and GRC 2011 is wrapping up and what a start to the conference this has been. We checked in 1,703 people so far out of the over 3,000 that are registered for the three conferences.

This afternoon I caught SAP’s Bernhard Fisher speaking about shared services in his jumpstart session “A comprehensive guide to building and running shared services that support HR and finance.” Shared services organizations (SSOs) can bring significant value to a business by centralizing similar processes and services under one organization to streamline work.

Though shared services are sometimes seen as the work no one else wants to do, Fischer sees them not as boring tasks but as challenges – as processes to be optimized and something the shared service center can have a positive influence upon. Through this wor k, the SSO can build a sense of responsibility for it’s own unique achievements, instead of just feeling like it’s the “butler,” if you will, for the rest of the company.

Fischer went on to explain that while the shared service center is something of an administrative backbone, it doesn’t have to just cover administrative tasks. Increasingly, shared service centers are taking on business tasks, and therefore contributing to the company’s effectiveness.

Fischer also touched on the big “O”: outsourcing. “Outsourcing will replace shared service centers sooner rather than later, which is something to be aware of, not something to be scared of,” he said. “Don’t fight or fear outsourcing, use it selectively for some highly standardized processes.”

The session was a great start to the conference and I’m looking forward to attending a few more shared services sessions to hear more opinions. Tomorrow’s keynote on financial, HR, and compliance analytics by Sanjay Poonen and Thomas Davenport also sounds like a can’t-miss. The keynote will be broadcast live on so register and log in tomorrow at 8:30 PST to watch along with us!

-Laura Casasanto, Project Expert


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