Shared Services Centres (SSCs) in India employ nearly 0.8 million people across nearly 1400 companies generating nearly 25 Billion USD of revenues. India’s talent pool and cost arbitrage have resulted in an impressive growth of this industry over the last two decades. Over time, many other countries have come up the curve to compete with India as an outsourcing destination, yet India continues to be the most attractive as per 11th biannual edition of Global Service Centre Report 2019 by Deloitte, leaving countries like Philippines, Poland, Malaysia and Costa Rica behind.
Now priorities of CXOs are changing and SSCs need to adapt to these changes. Companies are seeking greater value at lower costs, looking for innovation from these centres to improve their product stack, pricing strategy, marketing plans and cost efficiencies. As a result, the SSCs need to be led by visionary leaders; they need to keep deploying the latest in tech tools to deliver the desired value to customers and bring in relevant domain expertise to leverage the tech investments.
Talent is a key component for success
Given the changing expectations, the agenda of the leadership team has evolved over time. They need to understand the business of the client organisation very well and bring those insights into the operations of the SSC. Every business is facing volatility in their business environment and needs to respond quickly to those. As a consequence, the SSC supporting the business needs to understand the implications of the changes and keep evolving their strategies and most importantly, give the confidence to the business about the strategic alignment. The leadership team needs to put efforts to understand the changes deeply and demonstrate the agility to translate these into their vision. We need visionary leaders who are able to strengthen the strategic thinking capability for the business and align the expectations of the stakeholders in the client-side as well as the SSC.
The leadership team needs to translate the vision into operational plans and define the competencies required to successfully execute the plans. Mere subject matter expertise is not going to make one successful in delivering the desired results. For example, an organisation that needs to innovate rapidly to bring out new product tweaks requires certain kind of competencies while another in the same sector focused on the mass market calls for a different set of competencies.
From time to time, the HR team and the leadership team together have to review if the selection criteria and assessment methods are serving the organisation well.
Technology tools are a must
Client organisations are rightly evaluating if the business is able to generate adequate value in terms of cost efficiency and strategic differentiators. Often the SSC has to moot the outsourcing ideas and develop appropriate proposals so that the value creation in the organisation goes up and the scope of SSC expands. India having its natural strength in the availability of manpower skilled in technology must be able to suggest innovative methods of creating value in the organisation. The interventions could be a combination of technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), predictive analytics, Bots and advanced cloud strategies for business continuity.
Agility in everything we do
COVID-19 has shaken the whole world across all industry sectors. Hence, SSCs are no exception. Several kinds of vulnerabilities got exposed and new possibilities have come to light. Business continuity plans were not designed for lockdowns across multiple geographies at the same time. Work from home on a wide-spread basis was never a situation that companies planned. Methods of employee communication, skilling and engagement are being rewritten as per the new normal. The realm of customer contact is now being redefined. Business processes are being recrafted to move parts of them to move from one location to another based on the availability of skilled resources. Contracts are being rewritten to make them more aligned with the business impact delivered than the number of transactions processed.
Organisations with rigid processes have struggled in the pandemic to adapt to the new situation. Leadership practices and organizational culture play an important role in making the organisation respond quickly and innovatively to the changes taking place around us. The time to change is now!