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13 April 2017

5 ways to collaborate across service departments and improve your services

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Shared Service Management is an important development in the collaboration between an organization’s supporting services and it offers many advantages for the organization and the end user. Here are a few how-to's for sharing services in an easy way.

Put the customer value first

We know, we know. But we will say it again: the customer should always come first. What do they feel is of value? Only do that which is of value to your customer. And what is of value to your customer is convenience. 

This is clearest when the supporting departments become a single shared service desk. This offers the customers a considerable benefit, because they no longer have to think about whether they have to send their request to HR, Facilities or IT. They can go to a single portal instead. After all, it makes no difference to the customer who processes his request, so long as the services can be requested more easily and are readily available. To us, shared services are a huge part of being a customer centric service desk - and we do believe in customer centricity!

Optimize the value stream

The ‘value stream’ in this case refers to the chain of activities from request to delivery. Which steps add value for the customer? The steps without value must be eliminated or minimized. In Shared Service Management, the value stream is improved when the supra-departmental processes are coordinated to form a single shared process. Think for instance of a common process, such as an employee changing positions within the organization.

If the HR, IT and Facilities departments still work independently of one another, the manager has to issue three different authorizations before this process can commence. When you apply Shared Service Management, you bring the different processes together. This enables you to fully map the value stream of this process. The value stream can then easily be optimized by removing duplicate steps. The manager only has to issue a single authorization for the position change, after which all departments know they can get to work. This eliminates two superfluous authorization steps without losing any value.

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Make your activities flow

Once the value stream is mapped, it is time to simplify and standardize the process as much as possible. This prevents obstructions in the process, such as waiting times. When all activities are picked up and processed at the right time, flow is created. In Shared Service Management, the flow principle becomes apparent when an organization has gained experience in communally processing a supra-departmental process. In the previously mentioned process of an employee changing positions within an organization, HR, Facilities and IT must swing into action.

These departments’ activities are mutually dependent to a certain extent. The first step is often that HR applies a change in the staff administration, because the other departments need this information to perform their tasks. The IT department has to know which authorizations they must assign, and the Facilities department wants to know whether they must supply a mobile phone, and which company car. When these departments work in the same tool, everyone can see the progress. In addition, the tool makes sure that the task is not visible until it can be picked up. This prevents unnecessary obstructions.

4) Deliver at the right time

A simple example here: when someone is hired but won’t start work for another three months, it’s a waste to immediately order products such as a laptop, access pass and mobile phone if they are just going to collect dust for months. In this time, the price of the products may drop, or a newer product may become the new standard. When the commencement process is fully under control across all departments, you can determine when these items must be ordered so that the new employee has everything they need to get to work on their first day. Conversely, if something needs done right away, a ticket can be logged to the right person at the right time to get it fixed in the minimum time possible.

You can set up standardised workflows that help you keep track of these processes.

Rocket.jpg5) Strive for perfection

You should always continue striving for perfection. To be realistic, you can never reach perfection - but striving for it is nontheless important. Continue improving by taking small steps. With Shared Service Management, you strive for completely integrated services and supporting departments.

We think that in the future, you will not speak about IT, Facilities and HR, but that there will be a single services department. In order to achieve this, the departments must join forces with regard to tools, processes and the service desk, with each department maintaining its own areas of expertise. This complete departmental integration cannot be achieved in the short term, but the important thing is the steps you take in that direction!

Need more convincing about sharing your services? See our arguments for shared service management or the study we participated in to show that shared service management really works.

Check out the report

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