Sharing Air - Tight Operations With SSOS

By Saurabh Ganeriwala, National head & VP IT Operations, Indus Towers Limited

IT is transforming itself from support function to business enabler. IT is the key business driver as technology becomes one of the key differentiator amongst competition. To contribute to the core of the business process automation and efficiencies, it is important to focus on critical business technologies. It does not come easily, since it needs a different set of skills on the people side, very strong contract management, strong governance and air-tight operational efficiency metrics tied back to business service availability. While outsourcing helps take off routine tasks with rightly framed contracts, processes and tools, it allows IT to help identify opportunities to manage growth and enhance operational efficiency. It also allows organizations to tap resources and leverage shared technology at optimum costs which otherwise would have been difficult to adopt. Key to outsourcing is ensuring protection of your business IP, process and key roles governing outsourcing service delivery effectiveness.

Change management -the biggest anticipated challenge for SSOs (shared services organizations)

Continuous communication is the only key to manage change management. Creating an evolving communication strategy creates a complete framework of change with key stakeholders that are clearly identified. Different stakeholders need different communication content at different time in each stage of communication which should tie back overall evolving communication strategy. Also, extremely strong documentation is the key to bring everybody on the same platform. If the approach of *fail fast* is followed by doing POC early on during the lifecycle of the change, incremental POC will help refine automation to an extent which will go a long way. Continuous feedback during entire change process should be maintained before finalization. Attrition, workforce management and a very effective training program becomes one of the key challenges for these centres.

"Every process which undergoes automation needs to have strong review mechanism to measure & gauge effectiveness of the process"

Also, the service level expectations are raised year over year creating a room for creativity and innovation. Typically, shared centres are perceived as highly industrialized work environment with repeatable tasks done multiple times by different people. Creating an environment and culture for innovation and excellence is the biggest challenge. Another key one to keep an eye on is establishing controls to support security & risk needs of the business and ensuring assurance every time. For globally shared delivery centres it goes one step further within country, regional and global structures alignment while still delivering value to the corporate function that has outsourced the services. Last but not the least for global shared service models, creating a well-defined service tier with SLA’s, roles & responsibilities, KPI’s and related costs aligned to the business process will finally get settled within country business.

Site selection in Shared Services Centres

Identifying the right location requires a qualitative and quantitative assessment. It should be driven by business Target operating model under which the shared service centre has to deliver. Few key aspects which should be kept into considerations can be

• Process needs (Automation OR Interaction)

• Workforce volume and education infrastructure.

• Availability of talent, skills and languages.

• Infrastructure (City & Telecom) and Time zones

• In case of multi centre delivery, hand over touch points

• Existing capability (centre of excellence)

• Socio-Political condition of the city / country

• Local regulatory & taxation related matters

Improving existing SSOs

Beyond the efficiencies in running the processes by automation and standardization, other big priorities for shared services organizations are Security and Compliance. Different industry vertical demands are governed by different regulations, privacy laws and security requirements (B2C domains like healthcare and BFSI towards user data protection and etc). While it is important to bring efficiencies by automation and leverage, but at the same time it is very critical to ensure right compartments of different verticals and comply with each needs. Every process which undergoes automation needs to have strong review mechanism to measure & gauge effectiveness of the process. Very clear definitions of inputs, outputs and process ensures right deliverables. The changes done by automation do not just change the process but can have a potential impact on the people linked to the process.

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