Considering a Change
1. Plan Ahead
It’s a good idea for companies to plan ahead before implementing any new process, and this typically starts at the management level before working its way down. Establishing clear policies before adopting shared services will help ensure a smoother transition.
2. Incorporate Change Management
Change management is dedicated to meticulous supervision of the complexities during a major change down to the last detail. By making a commitment to include official change management structure rather than just fumbling along, organizations can ease the conversion process and avoid the blame game.
3. Use Crystal Clear SLAs
The Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlines the vendor terms for providing shared services. Taking the time up front to ensure that the SLA covers all the necessary bases in a clear and concise manner is essential to moving forward, and can prevent a lot of headaches down the road.
4. Track Performance Metrics
Having an objective measurement system in place to track whether the projected goals are being met is critical for assessing total progress. This data helps to show what’s working and what isn’t so that an action plan can be developed to switch gears if needed.
5. Define Roles and Processes
Any organization-wide change in processes requires a new definition of duties and expectations for workforce and management alike. Existing processes that are faulty or broken may be improved, but only if everyone is on board and understands what is expected of them.
6. Look for Expertise
In the restructuring that often follows (or precedes) the adoption of shared services, it’s inevitable that some employees may be reshuffled laterally or even downsized. Before making any major decisions, be sure to review the existing talent base within the organization to ensure that key individuals with high levels of expertise are correctly leveraged to maximize their potential.
7. Don’t Forget Risk Management
Although the benefits of sharing services are many, that doesn’t mean that it’s a zero-risk venture. Be sure to limit potential risks and vulnerabilities to ensure a successful outcome.
8. Maximize Momentum
When first discussing the switch to any new process, enthusiasm is often a driving factor. It’s important to make decisions while high levels of motivation are still in evidence, otherwise organizations may find themselves trapped by inertia instead.
9. Look at the Long-Term
While the potential savings that shared services may allow are very possible, they may not be immediate. It’s important to stay patient, continue tracking improvements and trust that the long-term rewards will win out in the end. Of course, if the numbers indicate that the long-term isn’t shaping up as projected, adjustments will need to be made along the way.
10. Know the Limitations
Having a solid grasp on the realistic scope of the projected changes will help make sure that nothing falls through the cracks inadvertently, and that all target areas are being handled efficiently and as planned.