Day in the Life of an Attendee

By: Kayla Ambrose

The 23rd Annual Shared Services & Outsourcing Week kicked off last month with hundreds of industry leading executives and like-minded professionals connecting to discuss the future shared services landscape. With inspiring keynotes from Robert Richmond, Co-Creator of Zappos Insights, to the black tie SSON Impact Awards Gala and everything in between, SSOWeek delivered an unforgettable event at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Experienced SSOW Chairman, Brad DeMent of ScottMadden, highlights the speaker faculty’s most-talked about topics in his Chairmen’s Key Takeaways presentation. In his review, DeMent covers subjects such as improving and automating processes, securing SSO systems, managing change, just to name a few.


The first day of site tours set the mood as attendees received an inside look into the shared services centers of industry leaders like Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Citi, and Bristol-Meyers Squibb. These site tours delivered an array of different focuses like intelligent automation for HR, leveraging customer experience, and global financial services. After a compelling behind-scenes-experience, attendees had time to unwind in the Florida sunshine with live music and cocktails during our Welcome Fiesta.


SSOW’s first main conference day was jam-packed with innovative workshops dedicated to providing our attendees with the knowledge they needed to advance their shared service operations. From strategizing a shared services plan for beginners, to ways of leveraging RPA for advanced shared service leaders, attendees had a morning of thought compelling activity. After an insightful afternoon of keynotes and discussion panels on current shared services opportunities, the night wrapped up with an elegant Welcome Reception equipped with champagne for a celebratory end to the day.


The following morning began with an insightful keynote from Blockchain Researcher, Entrepreneur, and Educator, Bettina Warburg elaborating on ins and outs of blockchain including its most appropriate uses. Warburg explained how “It’s just automated business logic in computer-readable code” and how blockchain is useful for asset tracking. She gives an example of the “blocks” in blockchain as “the carbon paper after your checks run out... but you don’t need the bank”. Later in the day, attendees gathered together for their interactive discussion groups to exchange their insights on topics like HR excellence, design thinking, and business process management, just to name a few. After an afternoon of thought exchanging, attendees enjoyed a keynote from Culture Architect and Customer Experience Expert, Robert Richman, who delivered inspiring tips on how to build a customer service that crushes the competition. Richman highlighted the importance of having a customer experience-focused culture within your organization. Richman explained how, “culture is driven by feelings – you know it when you walk into the room [and you can affect it]”.  He elaborated on the value of experience and how to create a great experience for your customers in order to take your company to the next level.


The evening finished with a bang as we rolled out the red carpet for the SSON Impact Awards Gala. Industry experts were honored at the black tie affair for their impacts on the industry ranging from creative talent management to business transformation. As guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal accompanied by wine and champagne, actor and comedian Dave Coulier of Full House took the stage for a belling aching performance that filled the room with laughter. Later in the evening, our esteemed judges honored the winners and runner ups, finalizing the night with handshakes and photo ops.


The final day of SSOW was wrapped up by explorer Cathy O’Dowd, 1st woman to Climb Mt Everest from Both Sides and Author of Just For The Love Of It. Cathy presented a motivating keynote comparing the challenges of a mountain climbing expedition to the challenges of business operations and other everyday challenges. She tapped into the importance of team structure, the complications of unexpected reality, and how to conquer your obstacles by doing what has never been done before. O’Dowds keynote highlighted how to examine challenges in a high-risk environment and coming up with solutions during stressful projects with a team oriented perspective. With a well-rounded, exciting, and insightful agenda, Shared Services & Outsourcing Week came to close leaving attendees with new ideas and strategies to implement back home with their teams.


Shared Services & Outsourcing Week covered an array of topics all driven towards enhancing your SSO and GBS organizations. From improving and automating your processes, securing your systems, to driving customer experience, pioneering professionals presented an elaborate event dedicated to exploring the current and future trends of the shared services industry. Of all the key takeaways, a few took the mainstage as the key factors for exceling your organization. Although some are still skeptical, automation has proven itself a key factor in improving operations across organizations, refining tedious manual process like payroll and customer service. With the influx of technology and automation, it is important to keep in mind the security of your data, knowing what data is most valuable, important, and how to secure it. The most notable takeaway was driving customer experience to take your organization to the next level. With the combined dynamics of insights on internal management, security, and customer satisfaction, SSOW Chairman’s KeyTakeaways from SSOW 2019 outline the landscape of the shared services and outsourcing industry.