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Shared Service centres… To do or to have it done? 2/4

First part available here.

Is the question “doing it or having it done” the right one?

J-P. B.: What’s for sure is that companies are too busy in their core activities to handle properly document production, which after all is only a support function. But the increased complexity of corporate communications requires being more and more professional.

So the question is not restricted to inside or outside.

Let’s take a higher point of view and consider Document and Information Governance as it relates to corporate performance.

The core reason to mutualize is the know-how and the expertise

As I said before, the core reason to mutualize is the know-how and the expertise… but taken from a more strategic angle.

A document production system, however organised, may only exist if it contributes to the corporate success. So it is not just a cost centre, it is a way to achieve excellence. There are economies of scale thanks to volume, but it has also to provide better quality of service to Business Units and it should produce added value.

New and ever changing communication technologies, Cloud services, Dynamic document evolutions require relentlessly more expertise. Is it really marketing or HR that should distribute corporate information? Shouldn’t it be rather an information governance position, ideally placed at the C-Level, that would take ownership of all these elements and be the sole interface to all business units. It would handle whether it should be outsourced or handled internally by a SSC.

 

JLS. : In the current economy, a vital consideration is a company’s ability to differentiate from competitors and possibly be a true innovator. Where it becomes tricky is how you keep inside the ability to innovate. I agree with J-P.B. not too focus too much on outsourcing vs. internal SSC. First a SSC may decide to outsource directly some standard activities where it has no competitive advantage.

Priority must be set on what creates value add, what improves profitability or customer experience

Second because even in an SSC, resources are not limitless. So priority must be set on what creates value add, what improves profitability or customer experience.

Sharing or outsourcing document production cannot be separated from an upfront consideration of the value associated to each document. How does it concretely and measurably contribute to revenues? Business Units’ upfront participation is required.

This uncertainty between inside or outside is linked to the fact that this rethinking process has not taken place or has been done under the guidance of too general metrics. That was acceptable in earlier days when sharing was mostly about equipment addressing a limited set of communication channels. This is not true anymore when the pace of change and the diversity go faster than the know-how to understand and use them efficiently.

 

J-M J.: We have to accept that we operate in a constantly changing world. The question is never to be caught off guard and be constantly adapting document processes, to be permanently as efficient as possible and maintain room for new activities.

What makes companies uneasy about internal SSC is their future ability to adapt which includes behaving like a supplier, to put its client centre to its activities and anticipate future requirements.

Everybody can think of such failures because that entrepreneur style requirement was not present. These cases can be spectacular but the real risk lies elsewhere. It never happens overnight but is a nasty drift overtime. Key metrics have not been regularly adjusted, process quality has not been challenged.

I agree with my peers. The key is the ability and skills to navigate and control. Whether inside or outside is not so important, the essence is a proper Information and Document Governance away from silos but viewed as a holistic competence like Finance or HR.

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This article was written on 05 May 2016, and is filled under Managed Print Systems, Point of View.

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