But Shared Service Centres do have drawbacks: Amongst others, they are typically not “creative”, they do not innovate, they work according to defined rules. Defining the rules, untangling existing processes, shifting employees and retraining them can be a lot of effort. Therefore, typically, Shared Service Centre initiatives take 4 to 6 years before breaking even.
About two years ago, in non-HR related areas, companies that specialize in outsourcing other types of “Admin” work, e.g. in IT, have started feeling the pain: Artificial intelligences, learning machines start doing relevant parts of the work that Shared Service Centres used to do. They are doing it at a lower cost and are constantly improving, as they learn from its users and embed their services wherever needed. Companies like SAP are putting a lot of effort into these solutions, which are rapidly growing. This is also confirmed by several big vendors, and proven by consumer products from Google, Facebook and Amazon, to name a few. In SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and Learning for example, significant value propositions based on learning machines already exist. Expect a lot more to come soon.
Thus, high time to rethink and rescope the Shared Service Centre approach?