ABB Vice President emphasizes Value of SSOPro by Barbara Hodge, SSON

ABB Vice President emphasizes Value of SSOPro

Contributor:  Barbara Hodge, SSON
Posted:  01/07/2013  12:00:00 AM EST
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With SSOPro now in its third year, hundreds of practitioners from around the globe have made use of this online accreditation to refresh and also further develop their skill set (see the large group from NSW's Businesslink that graduated recently). This course is an accreditation program that assesses participants' experience, contribution, and their learning to provide confirmation that they have attained a level of competency in the area of shared services and outsourcing. As such, it serves to add value to an individual's career and its progression.

One of our recent graduates was Frank Wissink, VP at ABB and head of the shared services team there. When I spoke with Frank recently, he was enthusiastic about the value of the program: “ I really like the course, it was very useful,” he explained. “Where SSOPro has hit the nail on the head is in emphasizing the skills that many shared services leaders just don't have, namely, negotiation, benchmarking, project management, and governance. Too many shared services practitioners are purely focused on the processes. You need to move beyond that to be truly effective.”

Frank joined one of SSOPro's regular cohorts, and completed the program while interacting with the other members of his group. He also completed the course in just 4 months – no small feat given the course is really geared towards conclusion within a year. “I spent a lot of evenings on this, as well as quite a number of weekends. It was like reading a good book, you cannot put it down, you want to finish it,” said Frank. “I probably underestimated how much time it would take, but in truth a course like this should be taken over the course of a year – if you do one topic a month you'll get through the 10 topics within 12 months.”

Frank has also provided some constructive feedback which will allow the SSON to improve the program:  “I would suggest linking your 10 topics to the themes that you cover on the SSON's website. This would also vastly increase the resources for students,” he explained. He also suggested electronic updates when someone comments on message board postings, and access to the slides as PDF downloads.

In speaking with executives that have signed up to SSOPro, we’ve found they fall into two groups: On the one hand the course acts as a kind of “MBA” to experienced managers. In this instance, it acts as a valuable refresher, exposing and filling gaps, and highlighting some of the areas that are increasingly important for shared services. It also reminds even experienced leaders not to overlook the basics. On the other hand, the course acts as a great introduction to shared services for anyone who's new to this field. Some of the areas that SSOPro is looking to expand into include business partnerships, end-to-end process ownership, and continuous improvement. Although these are covered within the 10 core topics, the feedback SSO Pro is receiving warrant increasing the scope of the training materials in these areas. 

The most important takeaway for Frank was the reinforcement of change management: “Although we're always doing it, it was really good to step back from the day-to-day work and realize that you need to put structure and process around change management. You just cannot do this on the fly. That was one of the most significant learning points for me, and I implemented these immediately.”

Sarah Clayton, Global Head of SSON comments: “We're always working to raise the bar for this online accreditation program. As the only shared services and outsourcing accreditation of its kind, we are delighted to have such good feedback from one of our recent graduates. We will take Frank's comments on board, and are also evaluating possible alternatives models, to provide some shorter training sessions.”

Find out about SSOPro.

About Frank Wissink

Frank Wissink assumed the role of Vice President, Shared Accounting Services for ABB USA in 2008. Prior to that, he was the leader of ABB’s Benelux Shared Service Center in the Netherlands from 2006. Prior to joining ABB, Frank worked for Unilever from 2004 to 2006 as Operation Manager of their Shared Services in the Netherlands supporting the outsourcing to Poland and India. From 1994 to 2004 he worked for Eastman Chemical European Shared Service Center’s start-up and was part of integrating green-field manufacturing sites, managing acquisitions and divestures, supporting company outsourcing and in-sourcing initiatives and implement an EMEA one-billing concept (toll conversion).

Frank holds a Master of Finance Degree from the TIAS University in Tilburg, The Netherlands, and is based in Cary, NC.

Barbara Hodge, SSON Contributor:   Barbara Hodge, SSON

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