Shared Services Organizations Turning to Robotic Process Automation
Shared Services Organizations (SSOs), (sometimes called Captives, Global Business Services (GBS) or Global In-House Centers (GICs) are undergoing many of the same business pressures as are third-party outsourcers of front- and back office services. While continuing to deliver cost savings and process efficiency, they are also expected to provide innovation and even transformation for their internal ‘clients’. One powerful way Shared Services teams can achieve all these goals is by applying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to how they deliver labor intensive and rules governed, screen-based tasks.
In fact, the latest survey results from SSON show many Shared Services groups are already beginning to implement technologies, such as RPA, into their delivery mix. SSON reported in their 2014 State of Shared Services Industry Report, “With regards to future investment priorities, the main targets are automation for efficiency, internal collaboration and paperless processes. These enabling technologies are foundational capabilities needed to transition to Global Business Services and more effectively attain full end-to-end process ownership.”
Where Robotic Process Automation Improves Shared Services Performance
RPA is ideal for many of the business functions that Shared Services Organizations are traditionally providing. These functions include ‘back office’ operations such as:
- Finance and Accounting
- Human Resources
- Procurement and Sourcing
- Supply Chain
- Customer Service
- Legal Services
The benefits RPA provides to these operations are similar to those that outsourcing organizations experience when they make Robotic Process Automation part of their delivery mix. For Shared Services, RPA is also an enabler for other technology led initiatives. Again, in the 2014 report, SSON finds that, “Enterprise platforms make it easier for Shared Services to operate – but it is in the emergence of enabling technologies and cloud-based solutions that we are seeing quantum leaps.” RPA is clearly one of those ‘enabling technologies’, and in fact is not only a technology, but is available from our company as a cloud-based service as well.
For Shared Services Organizations, much like the other enterprises and outsourcers implementing this technology, RPA provides benefits such as these:
- A truly scalable workforce capable of being sized up or down within hours
- Near zero error rates
- Per ‘headcount’ pricing at up to 90% that of a traditional workforce
- Enablement for business intelligence, analytics and management information
- Detailed audit history for regulatory and audit compliance
Making Robotic Process Automation Part of Your Shared Services Strategy
In “Will Robotics Leapfrog BPO?,” an article by SSON editor Barbara Hoge, she commented that, “It’s a safe assumption that “robotic process automation” will soon become part of Shared Services’ modus operandi.” Given the cost, productivity and efficiency benefits of RPA it’s easy to see why she believes this to be inevitable.