Setting up the SSC had failed twice in 10 years in this family owned company. Employees had been fired and new employees were hired, twice. Reports of the well-known strategy consultants caught dust on a shelf. I was hired for the 3rd attempt.
The vision of the Shared Service Center defines the result you get.
The vision on the SSC was that of a factory that handled repetitive tasks. Business directors talked about the SSC ‘stealing’ work and they complained about the low quality, a poor service orientation and high costs. So at the start of my assignment there was a culture of ‘us and them’ between SSC and business. The largest business unit stubbornly continued to do its own financial administration.
Goal and strategy: treat the Shared Service Center as a company. Do marketing, sales and operational management.
With my advice the vision on the SSC was changed to that of a team of experts who could help the business with better and new services to their external customers. The SSC director adjusted the strategy accordingly and went ‘on the barricades’ to share this new vision with his colleagues and all business directors.
Communicate with stakeholders and organize change competencies.
Soon the tone about the SSC changed in the company. The SSC received questions of the business to help solve customer problems. Within a year, the largest business unit (the one that was still doing its own financial administration) also asked if the SSC wanted to work for them.
Three years later this SSC is so successful that in addition to finance and HR, it also provides facility, fleet management, legal affairs, purchasing and IT services.