Digital Transformation Enables Expansion of Shared-Services Model

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2014-12-26 Print this article Print
accenture and shared services

The growing use of digital technologies—including SaaS, big data and analytics, cloud and mobile—is enabling the shared-services model.

Extensive use of digital technologies is expected to support the implementation of advanced shared-services models across a broadening range of business functions over the next several years, according to a new report from Accenture and HfS Research.

Digital technologies—including software-as-a-service (SaaS), big data and analytics, cloud and mobile—are expected to have the largest projected changes in procurement and supply chain management.

Significant increases are expected in finance and accounting services (40 percent in the next three years, versus 23 percent in the last three), human resources (31 percent, versus 23 percent) and engineering (27 percent, versus 13 percent).

In supply chain, 49 percent expect an extensive impact, compared with 20 percent who reported it the last three years; while 45 percent of respondents expect the digital transformation to "extensively impact" advanced shared-services models in procurement over the next three years, compared with 18 percent who saw such change in the past three years.

"The growing use of digital technologies—including  SaaS, big data and analytics, cloud and mobile—is certainly enabling the shared-services model across a broader range of business functions," Paul Jeruchimowitz, managing director, Accenture Strategy, Finance and Enterprise Performance, told eWEEK. "Importantly, the motivation for using this model more broadly has begun to shift as well."

Jeruchimowitz noted that while in the past many organizations used shared-services models to generate cost savings, improve efficiency and increase productivity, they're now seeing that many organizations can use advanced models—enabled through digital technology—to achieve more complex objectives, like improving the external customer and supplier relationships and enhancing overall competitiveness.

Respondents also widely agree that enterprises that fail to embrace the digital transformation will lose ground to competitors who take a more aggressive approach to digital solutions over the next several years.

However, despite recognizing its value, just one in five respondents (19 percent) has a clear strategy in place to manage this digital transformation.

In addition, chief financial officers (CFOs) are currently playing a strong role in determining which processes are most ready and viable for digital transformation, with 37 percent making the final decision about implementation and another 52 percent providing major input—second only to the CIO (40 percent and 47 percent).

Roughly two-thirds (67 percent) of organizations said they believe in the capability of their existing teams to enable business growth through analytics, though only 12 percent of organizations feel that their organizations' adoption of analytics and big data is highly mature.

"One of the most interesting aspects of the study has to do with the critical role CFOs are playing in making digital decisions," Jeruchimowitz said. "CFOs have long assumed a leadership position with respect to the prioritization, deployment and management of shared services, and the study shows that they are currently playing a strong role in determining which processes are most ready and viable for digital transformation."



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