Why ‘Magic Orange’?
While you might consider squeezing an orange time and again to extract yet another glass of juice impossible, is this not the general expectation when it comes to any shared services within an enterprise?
Being one of the most significant shared services, let’s use IT as an example to demonstrate the ‘magic orange’ story. After all, it seems that IT is always expected to find MORE savings for another budget cut or to magically deliver MORE from the same base, leading to a disproportion between the demand placed on IT and its actual available resources. Since its resources are finite, it becomes critical to introduce best practices, as a way of squeezing more from that orange.
The three key best practices for any shared service (including but not limited to finance, purchasing, inventory, payroll, hiring, information technology, HR, marketing) are:
• Accountability for its spend – since virtually everyone in the organisation is a stakeholder or consumer of this service
• Fostering a commercial culture in the organisation, in order to introduce broader financial conversations between stakeholders;
• Provide cost transparency to stakeholders, so that they can understand the details and drivers behind the numbers, in order to make more effective decisions
So how does our company marry the three key practices – accountability, commercialisation and transparency – with the business stakeholders’ needs? We do this through the delivery of a world-class tool set, wrapped in a framework we term Technology Business Management (TBM).
Business stakeholders need to understand how they can control and influence shared service spend, so they can form an alliance and work together to get more from the orange. This, in turn, can only happen if each shared service is able to articulate the value of what it delivers and where there is a capability to translate its spend into value.
Therefore, all shared services need to deliver against a product and services catalogue and provide internal consumers with an itemised bill for these products and services. As this is done, these shared services move from an expense centre to being a service provider and ultimately become business partners.
The common tool set we supply links all stakeholders and provides the product and services catalogue with pricing, total cost of ownership information and a consumer shared service bill, all of which is ultimately required to maximise shared service value through fact-based decision making.
It is this, more than anything else, that will help you to get yet another glass of juice from that orange.