14 PROCESS AND PRACTICE

A quick glance at the last few years’ trends shows us how the largest
supporting departments within organizations are working to become
more professional when it comes to service management. This
focuses on delivering better quality for lower prices. IT integrates new
technologies and management models to make services easier to
manage and faster to change. More and more platforms are cloud-based,
ITIL is still popular and there is growing demand for (ISO) certifcation.
FM has been professionalizing services using a facility management
information system for a while now. This lets end users easily reserve
meeting rooms and request lunch via a portal. The Dutch NEN standards
are often used to make services, which are frequently outsourced,
manageable. In recent years, HR has switched to eHRM: supporting HR
services using service management software. This also uses frameworks
and best practices developed specifcally for the HR market.
It is notable that these individual departments are primarily acting
on their own initiative, and each takes their own approach. The HR,
FM and IT managers play a big part in this. After all, it is they who
determine the strategy for their departments, which is currently too
focused on their own services. However, the user has ever-growing
expectations. Previously people understood that it takes time before
a software package can be installed, and that it is complicated to
launch a web page or implement a change in a staff management
system. Now end users are less and less patient, but also less and less
understanding. This is a result of the Google effect.
Google effect vs. compartmentalization
The Google effect is people’s tendency to forget information that
is easy to fnd online using search engines like Google. This is the
conclusion of a joint study performed by the universities of Columbia,
Wisconsin and Harvard in 2011
1
.
SHARED SERVICE
MANAGEMENT
Supporting departments within organizations have traditionally
focused on managing and continually improving their own services.
However, end users are becoming more and more critical and
demanding of services supplied by HR, FM and IT departments.
This is why it is time for supporting departments to combine their
strengths in order to meet the business’ high expectations in the
future. It is time for Shared Service Management!
… is a TOPdesk Consultancy team leader
JORDI RECASENS
Expertise is better shared
You can also see the Google effect in the service management
feld. People are now used to a fast, central and even cost-free way of
having their questions answered. Employees are gradually coming to
expect this at work as well. Common feedback can be attributed to
the Google effect: “I want to be able to do things easily, without using
complicated portals or forms.” “Why do I have to choose whether to
take my question to HR, FM or IT? I want to use a single desk for all my
questions.” “Why does everything have to take so long? I would have
been done by now if I had used Google!”
It will be diffcult for organizations with supporting departments
using only internally focused strategies to stand up to this new
commentary. The reason supporting departments are so focused on
themselves is the compartmentalization that has developed since the
departments’ creation. They are used to resolving the challenges they
face within their own department. Each feld has its own frameworks,
standards and methods (ITIL, ISO, NEN, etc.), the schooling is strictly
separated, and the knowledge platforms, shows and magazines all
focus on a specifc audience (HR, FM or IT).
It is obvious that the situation described here is not easily changed.
It is up to HR, FM and IT managers to reach a strategic solution:
working together to improve services where they truly overlap. The
solution is Shared Service Management
2
.
Shared Service Management
Shared Service Management (hereafter referred to as SSM) is a new
strategic trend. Supporting departments join forces to improve the
quality of services while cutting costs. It is important to acknowledge
the strength of each department while searching for the areas where
the services overlap and can be improved. This has a synergetic effect:
expertise is better shared.
We can see three categories among the projects observed to include
steps towards more shared services:
• Collaboration on tools
• Collaboration on organization
• Collaboration on process management
The SSM growth model has been developed to help organizations
achieve shared services. This growth model, based on experiences in
the feld, comprises four phases that can be seen as maturity phases
within SSM (see fgure 2). The way these steps are ordered creates
a logical, step-by-step change process, with each phase focusing on
one of three areas: tool, organization or process management. Each
following phase naturally brings together supporting departments’
services, increases the maturity of the departments and results in both
increased quality and lower costs.
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 15
HR
FM IT
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Shared
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Shared
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Nothing
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Shared
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Figure 1: Shared Service Management
Figure 2: SSM growth model
Phase 0: nothing shared
Each department uses its own tools to support its processes. This
can be anything from a professional service management tool to
sticky notes. The processes are not coordinated and vary greatly in
terms of maturity. Employees focus on their own department. This
phase’s greatest challenge is to share the information streams with
other departments when necessary. An example: employee changes
that require the various departments to swing into action. Each
department also uses its own service management tools.
Phase 1: shared tool
A shared service management tool is used to improve the information
stream. This also results in considerable savings when it comes to
licence costs and management. The various departments still use
their own work methods, based on their own culture. Nevertheless,
agreements must be made about the tool’s terminology and set-up.
The frst signs of project-based collaboration are visible. A tip: have
the Information Management department take a leading role in this
project to prevent IT dominating, and big discussions. After all, HR,
FM and IT are all end users for the service management tool. Not
much has changed for the end users; they still deal with the three
departments to support their work: HR, FM and IT.
Phase 2: shared service desk
The end user can now take all questions and requests to a single digital
and/or physical desk. With the exception of agreements about how calls
are registered and routed, each department processes calls in their own
way. However, the collaboration does intensify, because operators from
various departments must collaborate at the shared service desk. This
leads to a considerable improvement in quality for the end user, as
well as reduced costs resulting from sharing resources at the service
desk. A tip: promote this shared service desk using a slogan and a ‘face’
to prevent people from continuing to use the old channels.
It is primarily the front end that improves: the user sees
improvement, but still experiences different levels of service quality.
This is caused by the individual departments maintaining their own
work processes. Examples of this are inconsistent communication
about status updates and large differences in duration for similar calls.
Phase 3: shared processes
The processes and procedures that require the departments to work
together, or feature a considerable overlap in activities, are designed in
collaboration. Call management and employee changes are the most
obvious examples with which to start. This will happen gradually, and
will not be equally relevant for all processes.
After implementing this new shared process, the process
management must also be centrally sourced. A tip: source this
process management at the front end, with the service desk team.
This is where colleagues physically meet. The management of the
various departments plays an important role in this. They will have to
understand and promote the importance of this phase and recognize
the authority of the process managers.
The right ambition
Recent research performed by TOPdesk among 210 respondents
indicates that many organizations have taken the frst steps towards
phases 1 and 2 (see fgure 5)
3
, but few have attempted phase 3.
The probable explanation for this is that the cut costs become
smaller and less visible the further one progresses in the growth
model (see fgure 6).
As long as IT managers focus only on saving money, organizations
will not progress much further than phase 2. Optimal results can only
be achieved when managers not only focus on saving money, but also
the quality of services (regardless of the phase). It is essential to look
beyond costs: the quality must also improve. If you wish to achieve
this, the ambition must always be right, namely continuing to meet
the growing demands of the business by combining the strengths of
the supporting departments. And saving a lot of money while doing
so. Not the other way around.
Conclusion
The business continues to ask for more against lower costs. They
want to do things faster and more easily, while having to think less
and receiving consistent service. This is not something that every
supporting department can resolve individually. This is why it is up to
the manager to adjust the strategy accordingly and consciously choose
to collaborate with other supporting departments to improve the
quality of services. To achieve Shared Service Management, strengths
must be combined when it comes to the tool, the service desk and the
processes while each department maintains its own expertise. The goal
is realizing more collaborative services with considerable savings. This
lets you guarantee customer satisfaction for end users in the future.
16 PROCESS AND PRACTICE
YOU CAN SEE THE GOOGLE
EFFECT IN THE SERVICE
MANAGEMENT FIELD
NOTES
1 Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our
Fingertips, Science, 15 July 2011, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6043/776.
2 This term was introduced by TOPdesk during TOPdesk on Tour 2013
3 http://www.scribd.com/doc/192531941/Working-towards-shared-services
PROCESS AND PRACTICE 17
?
FM IT
HRM
Information
FM IT
HRM
Figure 3: Different information streams
within HR, FM and IT
Figure 4: End users deal with
three departments
Figure 5: Survey results for research into
SSM maturity within HR, FM and IT
Figure 6: Relationship between quality
improvement and savings
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Phase 0 Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3

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