What Qualifies as Shared Services?
True to its name, shared services refers to operations used by multiple parts of the business. Many companies deploy a shared services model for finance, human resources, and IT.
Why Implement RPA in Shared Services?
As areas of the business that support multiple departments and are involved in vital business processes, shared services groups tend to have a lot on their plates. Robotic process automation (RPA) has the capability to offload tedious, time-consuming tasks like data entry, invoice processing, and account creation to bots. If you’ve already implemented an RPA solution and found success in other areas of the business, shared services is a great next candidate.
Overcoming Challenges to Getting Buy-In
Because shared services involves multiple departments and a lot of stakeholders, it can be harder to get buy-in to expand RPA to this part of the business. More people have to agree and understand the benefits of RPA for this to succeed. Here are a few of the common misgivings about implementing robotic process automation in shared services and ways to influence the conversation.
Challenge #1: Stakeholders think current process are working fine and don’t see a need for automation.
RPA is intended to improve processes, when implemented correctly. So while there may be a process in place now, it could undoubtedly be more efficient and less error-prone. For example, any process that involves data entry is compelling as there are so many opportunities for error. When manual data entry is out of the picture, not only are employees less bored by tedious work, but processes run smoother and with greater accuracy.
Challenge #2: Employees in shared services are worried that the bots are coming to take their jobs.
RPA shared services bots are intended to work alongside human employees as a digital workforce. Talk about RPA in shared services as the helper who does things that empower you to do your job better and frees up your time to work on more meaningful tasks.
Challenge #3: Changing the conversation around RPA in shared services
Talking about the value of RPA at different levels of the shared services organization is key to ensuring buy-in. To management, the conversation can be around improved processes and productivity, adding in that employee morale can be positively affected. To individual contributors in shared services talk about getting rid of mundane tasks and process transformation and the effect those will have on everyday operations.
Keep in mind as you continue expanding RPA use that you don’t have to implement RPA for every single shared services process right away. Continue by starting small with one process that has thorough documentation. Then you can achieve some quick wins, prove value, and move on to another process. You’ll be able to track automation ROI as you do this, further proving value. This method keeps momentum going, and when people see the success with RPA slowly rippling across the shared services organization, they’ll get more excited about the possibilities of RPA.