4 Challenges Facing the European Shared Services and Outsourcing Industry in 2019
Every year, SSON’s survey highlights an enormous progression in Shared Services’ evolution. The survey highlights the key opportunities and challenges represented by technology evolutions as well as skills shortages and new service demands in the European market. Below, we explore some of the key challenges identified by the survey that European SSO leaders are facing.
With the introduction of the digital workforce, HR leaders are faced with the challenge of identifying, recruiting and fostering the innovative mind-set among the businesses human workers. With the predominantly manual and transactional to robotic software, employees are tasked with taking on work that demands a better understanding of business objectives and leveraging data analytics – a considerable feat, considering that the top skill gaps that SSO leaders are innovation, data analytics and leadership.
Among European countries, a majority of shared services organizations are largely transactional based. Despite the increasing trend surrounding the discussion of knowledge services, which provide the business with insight-driven offerings, many are still struggling to define what exactly the knowledge services within their organisation are. Meanwhile, those who do have a clearer definition simply don’t have the skills within their organization to do so. Today, just 2% of respondents claim to be achieving successful momentum on their knowledge services journey.
Today’s environment and the adoption of technology and automation only serve to highlight the necessity of managing change. 31% of European Shared Service leaders identified the one area that they would most likely hire an external consultant for additional support as being change management (interestingly, only 16% of North American leaders would do so). As new tools present themselves and the nature and mode of work shifts as a result, we can expect to see demand for advisory services continuing.
There are plenty of challenges to making automation work. Where projects have failed, the survey tells us this is predominantly due to wrong process selection and insufficient change management. It’s a message being posited again and again. Careful planning, process evaluation and selection for automation is crucial to success. This points to the advantages of assembling an experienced team from the start and incorporating third-party expertise where in-house expertise is not readily available.