Shared Services in the Middle East: Demand for Expertise and Experience

This year's event balanced the 101 approach with more value-add

Gary Thompson

Comment by Gary Thompson, Workshop Leader, Shared Services Event Middle East 2018

I always expected the 6th SSON Middle East Conference was going to be different, but wow, what a difference it proved to be. A change of venue; a change of audience. Having moved the choice of location to Dubai, my anticipation was for increased interest and that proved true.

I have been hosting the pre-conference workshops for the last 3 years at SSON conferences in the Middle East and Africa and during that time, I have noticed that the scope of the full day workshop was too wide for a single audience. Those who were considering or just starting along a shared services journey had enjoyed the morning content covering the concepts of shared services and outsourcing, shared services models and how to design shared services. However, this didn’t interest those who had come to hear about moving shared services to the next level – content that wasn’t covered until after lunch.

I discussed this observation with the conference director and for 2018 we decided to offer delegates two distinct half day workshops and the new format worked well. It also gave me an opportunity to use the afternoon session to address a question that is being increasing asked by companies in the region – “how can I change my business support from a cost center to a profit center?”

The morning session was well received by a good-sized audience of “newcomers” to the concept of sourcing services. But the afternoon proved something else with twice as many delegates attending, so many that we had to provide extra seating. And it proved to be the most interactive workshop I have ever had the pleasure to host.

I have never met such an enthusiastic, engaging group of delegates. When a 10-minute Q&A session at the end lasts for over an hour, with delegates staying longer to discuss issues, challenges and share experiences, it makes a truly brilliant day for me. For that, I thank all who attended and hope they gained what they needed and enjoyed the workshops as much as I did. I think they did – the feedback was wonderful.

I cant wait till next year!!

Gary Thompson, Shared Services & Business Excellence Expert
SSON Global Steering Committee


Note: Read the conference review here.