Monday, September 26th, 2011 - 13:15
Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 13:13
By identifying and leveraging synergy enablers, organizational leaders can help align the strategy behind a Shared Services implementation with tactical employee actions to achieve a true organizational transformation.
“Synergy” is thought by many to be merely a buzz word reserved for cantankerous discussions on business news radio, but with little literal meaning. When applied in an appropriate context, however, “synergy” can have both significant meaning and significant value for organizations in the public and private sectors alike.
Basically, synergy is the cost savings, increased efficiency, and strategic alignment resulting from having one collaborative solution versus many disparate ones. This is true whether the synergy is achieved as a reduction in operational expenses, a cultural transformation to a single entity based on employees’ combined skills and strengths, or an alignment of IT systems to a target-state architecture. While these facets of synergy have been imperatives for private corporations to remain competitive and survive, the strategic goals of Federal government are now shifting toward these cost-cutting and synergistic mantras.
By aligning organizational strategy with a Shared Services model, Federal agencies can clearly target opportunities for significant synergy achievement—and select specific synergy enablers to appropriately align their people, processes, and systems to do so.
Synergy Enabler #1: Employ strategic governance
By employing a true top-down approach and governance to strategic alignment and achievement, senior leadership can ensure that any previously ambiguous synergy targets become both real and actionable, and can be clearly understood by the rest of the organization. These actions include gaining the buy-in of senior stakeholders; recognizing and mitigating risks; and clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and approvers to enable the organization to make decisions in a timely manner and in support of the program’s end goals.
Synergy Enabler #2: Leverage true transformation
Any synergistic effort, particularly those aimed at decreasing cost and increasing efficiency, must be truly transformational. Too often, large-scale changes just end up as a re-branding effort of the old processes and mindsets. This lack of true transformation inhibits the efforts to sustain lower costs and higher satisfaction over time. With a Shared Services model, positions may need to be realigned, new skills gathered, and new processes designed to accompany the centralized IT applications.
Synergy Enabler #3: Use enabling technology
The Shared Services tools should help increase efficiency and cut costs through the use of automation and self-service. In fact, one of the key benefits of Shared Services is that it takes the repetitive, simple, or general tasks—the ones that do not require complicated processing or specialized knowledge—and puts them back into the hands of the front-line employees and managers in the form of self-service. This structure also helps every employee to see the transformation that was made possible by aligning the organizational strategy with achieving the desired synergies.
Synergy Enabler #4: Optimize operational processes
In addition to directly cutting costs, a Shared Services model helps to decrease process cycle times; remove non-value-added steps and unnecessary approval loops; and increase customer satisfaction. The resulting synergy includes quicker processes and resolutions, less time wasted on common transactional activities, and less frustration from employees who are exhausted from trying to navigate overburdened and disparate systems.
Coming up Next
Join us next time as we share approaches to measure the benefits of a shared services model and ensure these benefits are realized.
Letus hear from you
What do you think of the four synergy enablers discussed?
Caryn Reedy is a Senior Managing Consultant in IBM’s Organizational and People Practice. Over the last 15+ years, she has gained expertise in change management, organizational transformation, training, strategy, and strategic communications across a number of industries, including telecommunications, publishing, e-Commerce, and consulting for both private and public sector clients. Since joining IBM in early 2011, Ms. Reedy has leveraged her experience across a number of workforce transformation projects.
Ms. Reedy has been awarded dual professional certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and has a Masters degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Caryn Reedy (email@example.com)
Adam Jelic has over 18 years of Business Transformation and Information Technology experience. He has deep expertise across several industries including financial, industrial, communications, and the public sector. Mr. Jelic has led large and complex programs including Strategic Business planning, Shared Services, Enterprise Infrastructure, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and Customer Relationship Management.
He has an excellent track record of delivering successful programs for Fortune 50 firms and government agencies in the United States and Canada.
Adam Jelic (firstname.lastname@example.org)