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Time to Invest in Governance, if You Haven't Already

Investments in fancy tech aren't worth it if you don't have the right governance in place first

As shared services teams start thinking about 2018 budgets and plans, they need to start by understanding what work they should prioritize next year. While each team and each company have different weaknesses they will want to shore up, shared services teams consistently struggle the most with planning for, evaluating, and using technology to make shared services more valuable, according to CEB data. This weakness holds true across industries, geographies, and the maturity level of the function.

One often overlooked way to get more out of technology is to improve governance. This is the processes that ensure a team or even entire company get the most out of technology as efficiently as possible. Senior shared service managers tend to overlook their own governance processes because they rely too heavily on IT to lead the way. But they can’t sit back and wait for IT to tell them what to do in a time when 75% of technological innovations today are being initiated in the line and outside of IT’s control.

Data Governance

For example, to get the fullest value from technological investments in robotics and data analytics, teams should focus first on putting good governance in place. For example, you won’t realize the full benefit of a new analytics systems investment if the right data governance framework isn’t in place (see chart 1).

Chart 1: Likelihood of realizing full value from information management and analysis  Percentage of likelihood under a typical deployment pattern  Source: CEB Insight IQ Diagnostic, 2011

Note: Cost estimates are for a company with an annual revenue of $8 billion.

Click chart to expand

Ultimately, before shared services staff can routinely analyze and generate insight for their internal customers using data from these technologies, managers need to have a framework for managing that data.

For example, even if shared services employees have increased access to vast data sets in various systems, there is no guarantee that the data is reliable. Without high-quality data, shared services employees will struggle to provide accurate analysis. In turn, customers won’t trust the guidance their analytic reports offer — ultimately diminishing the value that the shared services team provides to the firm that funds it.

These same principles hold true for robotics programs, after conducting initial pilots, shared services leaders need to build a structure for governing and maintaining bots in place. Without teams and dedicated roles to maintain your bots, you run the risk of losing out on potential returns on your investment.


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