This year’s Shared Services Outsourcing Network (SSON) annual survey is underway, and a quick look at this year’s survey questions and preliminary results suggest that the industry is approaching a tipping point in terms of adoption of intelligent process technology and expected improvements in process control and efficiency.
As of late April, with over 700 survey responses gathered, it’s clear from the questions posed, as well as the responses gathered, that companies are looking to their BPO providers for more than just efficiency gains and instead are seeking more innovative, scalable process approaches that allow them to be more informed and agile.
Of those surveyed as of April 24, nearly 34% of respondents indicated that they leveraged a Center of Excellence (COE) focused on robotic process automation or intelligent automation, followed by robotic process automation/intelligent automation (33.8%). The only competency ranked higher among respondents was finance expertise (35.2%). This suggests that expertise around process is just as important as subject matter expertise when it comes to finance operations.
Among early survey respondents, 41% indicated that they were expanding their shared service organization’s scope to include more offerings. This is consistent with trends among leading intelligent process automation solution providers like Artsyl Technologies, who have expanded beyond core accounts payable/vendor invoice automation solutions to check remittances and to accounts receivable/customer service automation for sales orders.
Another interesting insight from the survey: “control/standardization and optimization” beat out “cost and time” savings as the principle driver for shared services outsourcing drivers and benefits. Seventy two percent of respondents identified control/standardization/optimization” compared to 64% citing cost and time savings as the most important SSO benefit.
Interestingly, standardization and control, especially for routine, high-volume processes, are the principle benefit of intelligent process automation solutions, where error-prone tasks like data entry and document handling can be automated to include validation against ERP or CRM records.
When asked about their goals for increasing productivity with their SSOs over the next 12 months, most respondents indicted targets above 7%, with 28% indicating improvement goals of 7-10% and 26% targeting improvements of more than 10% (the highest tier among survey response options).
When it comes to intelligent process automation outcomes, these targets seem relatively modest. Process automation has proven to increase process efficiency by upwards of 80% when it comes to hjgh volume back office processes like vendor invoice processing.
Overall, however, preliminary results from this year’s SSON survey are highly encouraging for service providers, their technology partners and their customers seeking to elevate their level of process visibility and control while increasing efficiency.
Learn more about how SSOs and their clients can benefit from intelligent process automation to streamline their back office operations—including information and insights from SSOW 2019—by visiting the Artsyl SSOW Web page.