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Future Tech: Are Emerging Technologies Replacing Shared Services? Kristen Schipfer-Barrett

Future Tech: Are Emerging Technologies Replacing Shared Services?
Kristen Schipfer-Barrett

When we look towards the future, we often envision the technologies that will emerge to make everyday life and business easier to manage. Many of the technologies that were once written off as science fiction not only exist, but,  are being utilized to make the lives of many more fulfilled and businesses run a bit smoother. With the help of these new technologies, one of the places that major change is taking place is in the business shared services environment.

It is no big secret that many companies have shared services. Whether due to cost restrictions or other reasons, utilizing shared services allows companies to get things like human resources and financial tasks to be taken care of without losing focus on what the company actually does. Within recent years, technology has allowed some of the aspects of services that have traditionally been outsourced, to be handled in-house. Philip Alouche of ComputerWorldUK.com agrees. In an article about technology trends in shared services  he stated, “Right now and in the coming years, concepts like marketplace driven platforms, cloud computing, social apps, converging communication channels, automation and robotics are technology trends that are contributing to the changing landscape of shared services.”  He also mentions that applications, like Skype, are revolutionizing the way that businesses handle everyday processes through instantaneous virtual communication and collaboration.

 Many of the latest technologies are capable of being deployed for automation. This capability has the potential to make the processes that the company decides to handle a lot easier to manage since there is less need for a dedicated staff to perform the tasks.  A lot of companies  have proccesses slated to be deployed for automation and are embracing mobile platforms for business processes. As more consumers and employees rely on mobile for, well everything, we can expect that mobile will be a big part of any company’s future if they want to not only stay relevant, but survive.

While many are hopeful that one day a singular piece of technology will emerge that can streamline all processes, there is an equal amount of those who do not see it as a feasible reality. These people tend to believe a singular technology is desired but may be too idealistic in today’s technology landscape.  Those with this idea may be right since each service has hundreds, if not thousands, of parts that would be difficult to accurately bundle into a catchall system.    

With all of these advancements, will the need for shared services disappear?

Not likely. There are not many shared services professionals that believe that the new technologies will do away with the shared services model completely. It seems that many companies, even with new technology that makes insourcing easier, are still leery of bringing all services in-house. This fear may stem from the potential for escalated costs related to having to add talented employees to manage the services along with the overhead invloved in bringing these services in-house. These fears illustrate that while there is certainly a shift in the shared services realm; shared services are not going away. In-house services can be amazing, but, it requires equally amazing talent to manage them properly.

It seems that a mix of both worlds would be ideal. A number of companies recognize this and are mixing the two by utilizing the new technologies to manage only certain aspects of services while still handling the remainders in the traditional shared services fashion. This fragmentation allows companies to control the parts that it wants to while still having everything that it requires to properly function. This is truly what it means to have the best of both worlds; technology to allow in-house capability and shared services to handle the rest.

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2 years ago

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