ANZ Shared Services Market: An Appetite for Performance Enhancing Solutions

SSON Analytics has just released its latest Visual Analytics Workbook on the ANZ market, highlighting the advanced state of the ‘services industry’ in providing business support, and its appetite for performance-enhancing tools and competencies.


The commitment among Australian and New Zealand based Shared Services to new automation solutions is unequivocal: six out of 10 confirm they are planning to adding Intelligent Automation(IA) solutions to their agendas, if not already implemented. This shift is also driving work towards more valuable, knowledge-based,activities. Combined with the insights derived from data analytics, Shared Services are finding their modus operandinot just redefined, therefore, but their role within enterprise decision-making significantly enhanced.


Shared Services across the region fall predominantly into the launch-to-six-years maturity sector, with the largest single segment at the new launch stage. At the same time, roughly one out of four SSCs is more than 10 years old. The high ratio of maturity is a positive indicator of the sector's ability to leverage the new technical solutions that are significantly enhancing Shared Services’ performance capabilities, given the standardized processes established, improvement fixes applied, and more experienced employees. 


The multifunctional operating model dominates in Australia and New Zealand, as globally, with three-quarters of respondents aligning themselves to this model. Combined with the predominantly in-country delivery model we see in our annual ANZ market report, this highlights ‘Australia-for-Australia’ as the dominant business services support trend. Shared Services in this region are also characterized by a relatively high ratio of hybrid to in-house captive resources. Compared with Asia, for example, where the captive model predominates, Australia and New Zealand makes open use of BPO partners. 


The most significant shift this year, with regards to services in scope, is the emergence of front office support (nearly 30%) alongside data analytics (nearly 40%) as service delivery lines. 


As the Shared Services model matures, its expertise is increasingly being leveraged to support revenue generating activities (sales, marketing, front office) as opposed to traditional ‘back office’ work – a trend emerging worldwide. The improved analytics derived from Shared Services, which provide business insights and intelligence to support specific activities like front office, will further drive Shared Services support beyond the traditional playing field.


While the wins derived from data analytics in terms of business insights are in themselves significant, the growing appetite for Intelligent Automation is focusing attention on the availability and access to the data needed to ‘feed the automation engine.’ Emerging IA solutions depend on data in order to perform. The commitment to data analytics is one of the clearest trends emerging out of this research: 60% of respondents have already – or are in the process of doing so – set up a data analytics function, and a significant third are reskilling their employees accordingly.



The demand for data is also driven by the interest in machine learning and cognitive capabilities/Artificial Intelligence, both of which ‘learn’ by having massive amounts of data to analyse. More than 50% of respondents are already evaluating the impact of Artificial Intelligence on services, compared to just 29% for Intelligent Automation (whereby IA shows significantly more implementations). 



Source: Analysing Finance Shared Services Centres in ANZ 2018: Maturity, Automation, Strategies, SSON Analytics



Nevertheless, the data ‘obstacles’ are making themselves felt and slowing progress. In fact, only four percent of respondents profess themselves ‘data ready’ for what is to come.


Australia and New Zealand’s sweet spot will continue to be, for the near future, the strong foundation it has established in its Shared Services industry. While Intelligent Automation solutions are still in their very early stages, the writing is clearly on the wall: knowledge-based services that deliver true value-add will differentiate tomorrow’s SSO from that of yesterday.


Now is the moment to develop true expertise in emerging capabilities. Data and robotics are only two options, with many more likely to come. Those leaders that recognize the potential of developing Centres of Excellence to support their customers will continue to see their operations both valued and validated.


See the full VAW here: Analysing Finance Shared Services Centres in ANZ 2018: Maturity, Automation, Strategies






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