DACH SHARED SERVICES 2020: Promoting Intelligent Automation, GBS and Digitisation For Enterprise Success

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Beth Hampton

As global enterprises continue to jump on the digitisation bandwagon for fear of being left behind, farsighted Shared Services leaders have committed to reinventing themselves as digital hubs. DACH responses from SSON’s annual survey of SSO/GBS practitioners confirm that the digital economy is leading the charge. Whether defined by process excellence, human capital management or data/technology capabilities, the business landscape across the DACH region is being redefined to support the ambitions, indeed imperatives, of the modern enterprise.



The Global Business Services (GBS) framework provides the foundation to fully optimise digitalisation’s potential and deliver exponential value. GBS is in a far better position than other Shared Services models to drive the digital agenda.

In 2018 SSON surveyed attendees at the Shared Services & Outsourcing Woche - results confirmed 42% were targeting GBS. A majority of these were centres at a mid-high maturity level (4 years or more).

Fast-forward, and we’re now looking at DACH responses from SSON’s most recent Annual State of Industry Survey, and uncovering the objectives for GBS in the next 5 years. From this data, we see the highest priority for the DACH region is to successfully leverage automation or smart technology to further improve efficiency – over 50% of respondents indicated so. This is followed by the objective to support their enterprise’s digital change agenda.

Source: SSON’s State of the Shared Services & Outsourcing Industry Survey 2019 (DACH respondents only)


While these stats are great to see, we’re always ready for a new and fresh perspective. That’s why there’s an entire day dedicated to exploring the most recent GBS trends at the Shared Services & Outsourcing Woche 2020. Take a look at the agenda and GBS speakers here.



If 2019 was the year of the Centre of Expertise (COE), then 2020 is the year of Intelligent Automation (IA). For the first time we see IA emerging as the single most common service delivered by European SSCs: 65% of respondents confirm they provide IA support to their business customers (see chart); similarly, data services are provided by more than half of centres. New technologies, robotics and algorithms (as well as changing finance roles) are opening a plethora of new opportunities for Shared Services to add value to the enterprise.


The finance function in particular demonstrates a strong drive towards digitalisation, and certainly rings true in the DACH region – a 2018 study by Horvath & Partners showed 77% of CFOs recognise digital transformation as their top priority. These leaders see that enabling the future of finance means constantly adapting the finance function to drive the business strategy – all in a dynamic environment with bold expectations.

While becoming a digital champion, leveraging predictive analytics and emerging technologies is the way forward, it should not be an end itself. The finance function should continue to focus on further transforming by adopting an agile finance operating model and aim to drive top-line business performance.

Similarly, the HR tech market is growing at an unprecedented rate with exciting innovations even beyond IA, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, intelligent chatbots and other cognitive solutions. Based on SSON’s recent survey with more than 350 HR Shared Services, 50-60% of them already have a clear understanding of the potential of these new IA solutions for their operations (see below).

Companies are choosing to spend more on HR tools for many reasons. These include searching for ways to transform their workforce, enhance employees’ productivity, improve the quality of hire, prioritize skill development, and increase employee engagement and retention by implementing new solutions for well-being and team management. In addition, new, powerful tools offer valuable opportunities for improved analytics and more detailed reporting.

Keen to delve deeper into IA? The IA focus day at Shared Services & Outsourcing Woche 2020 will play host to world-class thought leadership into the state of the IA industry and how tools are being leveraged for success. Learn more here.



To achieve digital transformation and leverage the tools designed to elevate service delivery and performance, it’s crucial to identify, analyse and review performance metrics.

SSON Analytics’ Metric Intelligence Hub™, a powerful tool for benchmarking over 100 metrics, shows the following 3 median benchmarks in the DACH region:

  • Median AP invoice cycle time: 9 - <12 days
  • Median cost of F&A staff as a % of revenue: 2% - <3%
  • Median Day Sales Outstanding: 30 - <45 days

Source: SSON Analytics Metric Intelligent Hub™

Metrics for HR are also critical important to analyse – using the tool, we can also uncover 2 key median benchmarks for DACH-located HR Shared Service Centres:

  • Median cost per pay slip (USD): $10 - <$20
  • Median cost of HR process (recruitment, source and select employees) per employee (USD): $300 - <$400

Source: SSON Analytics Metric Intelligent Hub™



At 2019’s European Shared Services & Outsourcing Week, we interviewed respondents to pinpoint key priorities for HR transformation and growth. Responses showed developing HR services model by introducing more automation and self-service for advanced services (30%) made up the largest segment (of those with HR in their scope). This is very much in line with the modern best-practice HR delivery, which adopts an end-to-end process approach and is horizontally structured

Another key attribute of top-tier HR service delivery models: predictive analytics. This powerful tool uses historical data coupled with current trends to predict the future. Using these data-driven insights, HR teams can efficiently and accurately make predictions about different areas within the function – all while removing personal bias. To learn more about how predictive analytics is set to transform HR, click here.



As we’ve seen from data in this report, DACH shared services are prioritising digitisation and automation to drive growth and deliver unprecedented value to the business… and most certainly in these unprecedented times.

Just as digital operation reflects the new normal, the Shared Services & Outsourcing Woche has also redefined itself and is ready to deliver you world-class insights and expertise… virtually! This year we’re particularly focussed on the strategies for overcoming your current challenges – it’s a must-not-miss event to have in your diary.

A few key highlights on this year’s agenda:

  • Future of Work strategies are presented
  • Remote & Virtual GBS - what's in store for you?
  • Digital platforms show you the way into the future
  • Data strategies that support your IA journey
  • New talent strategies for digital operations
  • Customer centricity as a success factor
  • Chatbots, machine learning & artificial intelligence - what now?
  • The new digital and virtual shared services model

The best part? You still benefit from successful, global use cases and exchange new ideas with colleagues from industry - but now these encounters are taking place online. If you’re ready to learn more, then we can’t wait to welcome you to SSOWoche on 16-19 November.