It is quite common for employees and business leaders alike to feel their shared service or corporate departments are not delivering to expectations, whether it is changing existing services, providing new solutions or general day to day operations.  There are often echoes of discontent from the shared service department as well, showing an ever expanding disconnect.  Often staff in shared services feel that customer complaints are unfounded or that other functions neglect to provide the necessary time to them when trying to understand or improve the situation.

There can be several reasons for this disconnect, from simple communication gaps to larger transparency issues, especially regarding budget, complexity and conflicting business requirements even within the shared service function itself.

With close to 20 years’ experience leading complex shared service environments, leveraging skills in Lean Six Sigma, Prince 2, and ITIL, I can help you vastly improve your department’s transparency in a number of ways.

Core Specialities

Process design, simplification and digitisation

Many businesses fail to comprehend the unnecessary wastage that established processes create when left unchecked to evolve on their own over time.  In an ever evolving business, these processes that are the life blood of the organisation become convoluted, bureaucratic and gain a life of their own.

More often than not, the performance of these processes are not measured, and the damage caused is unknown.  Left unchecked these inconsistencies could be costing your business considerable time, effort, and reduced repeat business.

Willard Enterprises can help you identify any unnecessary wastage and assist you in designing ways in which you can remove this burden permanently.  Using Lean Six Sigma, a recognised methodology to help in such situations in any sector, we can work together to quickly identify the problem areas, adapt your process to better meet your needs and remove the unnecessary consumption of your valuable resources.

Process Design

Company Profile: Debt management business

Task: Help design and build the end to end processes necessary to establish and enable a new business unit for future growth.

Results: Gathered requirements, conceptualised and built a four pillar process to use as a foundation to the future business. Interviewed new leadership team and past suppliers to design and fabricate the new processes for each pillar.  The resulting documentation and materials enabled the business to work as a team on a common goal.  As a team, they were able to leverage their capabilities and build a successful business with new trained staff to operate it from day one.

Process Simplification

Company Profile: Mortgage lender

Task: Improve the turnaround time necessary to provide customers with a lending decision

Results: Reviewed the processes necessary to create and provide estimates and interviewed staff to validate documentation.  Mapped the process from end to end to identify waste and areas that could be streamlined.  The simplified process and subsequent improvements identified enabled the business to redefine their product portfolio and reduce the time taken to process decisions from 10 days to 3.

Process Digitisation

Company Profile: International high street lenders

Task: Reduce margin for errors and processing time, costs associated to courier and storage fees while enabling all authorised parties and both internal and external auditors to search, view and print any relevant documents and contracts for a case file anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Results: Reviewed the case creation process to establish touch points and key triggers.  Conducted vendor assessment to identify products capable of digitising process steps.  Negotiated partnership with supplier and led team to customise product with intention of creating a bespoke solution to meet client needs with limited retraining.  Product rolled out and utilised as a core service by over 50 high street lending client’s and their suppliers worldwide.

Department “health check” assessment

Leaders run the risk of losing sight of the current priorities and rarely stop to reflect how their strategies may affect the day operations.  It is advisable to seek input from others on occasion to ensure priorities continue to stay in line.

A department health check will assist by putting things in perspective and make sure the grand long term strategy does not forgo the customers’ current needs without understanding the consequences and making the appropriate adjustments.  It points out department risks and you can use this to plan and budget projects focused on closing these risks before they get out of hand.

The assessment covers the capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of a department by gathering feedback and assessing information provided by their customers.  This includes the voice of both internal and external customers.  It will help shape the business’ long term strategy and identify any major pitfalls facing the department as things progressed.

The time and money it takes to complete an assessment is minimal in comparison to the potential damages that can occur if one of these items slips past the department’s radar.  A health check should be completed yearly at a minimum to assist in creating your department’s review and budget forecast.  It is also advisable that it is completed as a supplement to the due diligence report when either acquiring or divesting a business unit.

Health Check Assessment & Vision

Company Profile: Shared service organisation operating as a cost neutral independent business providing back office services to 56 separate businesses under one parent umbrella.

Task: Complete IT health check assessment, SWOT analysis and next steps analysis report for executive board.

Results: Identified six key projects that needed immediate attention to ensure a stable IT department.  Highlighted numerous key strengths the IT department had that could be used to assist in business growth.  The resulting projects identified in this report contributed to over £6m/year in additional revenue and greatly improved both the IT department’s standing within the business and the services it offered.

Department redesign

There are times when department structures change either through acquisition, organic growth or carve-outs which may prevent them from providing their services at a competitive value and require a focused assessment.  On occasion, businesses need to verify the amount they are paying for a service and determine if it is a fair market value.  Once the assessment has taken place, businesses frequently find that they are paying significantly more in some areas and neglecting other areas in comparison to the market.

Many companies allow these evolutionary models to continue long after it has been determined that the department is no longer meeting its obligations to the business.   These businesses fail to act either because they are concerned about the repercussions from the staff, there are insufficient skills within the group to complete department redesign or because they are focusing their attention elsewhere.

Through designing a new target operating models, reviewing and mapping services to capabilities, identifying gaps, or completely redesigning and implementing a new department or shared service structure, Willard Enterprises have helped bring transparency to several businesses’ back office functions in numerous countries around the world.  This wealth of information has allowed business leaders to make key decisions which significantly improved their operational delivery capabilities and reduced their operating costs.

Create shared service structure

Company Profile: Large multinational utilities business

Task: Merge the delivery capabilities of 56 separate entities into a single shared service centre.

Results: Established, measured and agreed service levels were instated, improving overall service by over 50%.  Services and pricing were published on a rate card that could be compared to third party offerings to ensure best value for money across the business and per business unit.  Published pricing ensured the subsidising of one profit centre from another was transparent and controlled at a group level.  Benefits were realised through economies of scale in vendor negotiations, leveraging best practices and office consolidation, these benefits enabled the creation of group level comparative business cases and corporate governance while significantly reducing duplication efforts.

Design for growth

Company Profile: Insurance business

Task: Design and implement a department capable of supporting significant fluctuations in size with no employment risk

Results: Department was redesigned around a new outsourcing model, where FTE risks were moved to third party provider and priced on a fixed price bid.  Contract was structured so that expansion and consolidation were measured based on percentage and trued up quarterly going forward.  Business accomplished 52 fold growth then shrunk by half with no change to initial headcount numbers.

Create customer centric focus

Company Profile: Distribution and consultancy services business

Task: Measurably improve the value that an international shared services corporate function provides, and is seen to provide, to its customers.

Results: Redesigned corporate department focusing on account managers who owned the client relationship, responsible for marketing group best practices, reducing implementation costs, coordinating and communicating prioritisations and ensuring delivery commitments were met for their customers.  Reduced incomplete projects by over 60% and group became the preferred first point of contact for services in each federated business unit.

PMO structure and governance model

As long as businesses and IT departments continue to refer to themselves as two different entities, there will be a significant disconnect in their interpretation of priorities.

In order to assist your business in moving closer to a single entity it is suggested that a single PMO model is adopted.  At a minimum, for complex organisations, it is recommended that businesses agree a common governance model, prioritisation guidelines and a request process so that ideas can be captured and shared across the organisation regardless of their source.

Willard Enterprises can assist your organisation by helping design and rolling out these critical processes and guidelines.  Using a proven methodology that helps you to create and deliver a simple, end-to-end solution that best meets your business’ needs. It covers a broad range of processes from which you can choose, including:

  • Designing and rolling out a request process specifically suited to your business
  • Creating and instilling a programme governance model
  • Establishing enterprise level project prioritisation guidelines

These processes give you true programme transparency, empowered ownership and cost control through a simple but structured approval process to ensure your business is spending its capital wisely to achieve the returns it is looking for.

Programme delivery process

Company Profile: B2B insurance provider operating in eight countries.

Task: Provide IT programme delivery transparency, improve end user experience for new projects and reduce project waste by 30%.

Results: Moved the request programme prioritisation from corporate departments to the business leaders or delegates that receives the service. Board level project sponsors were appointed within the business ensuring adequate functional resources were assigned and remained appointed to project. 

All services were owned by department leaders or front office functions and their teams.  Corporate responsibility changed from owner of the service to managing the service availability, maintenance and upgrades as required, on behalf of their customer.

Business users and leaders alike were regularly updated on their programme progress allowing for early intervention and significantly reducing waste and improving delivery time.  Programmes with insufficient resources allocated by the business were either closed or risk mitigations were implemented.  High profile project prioritisations were moved to the board so that all directors were involved in the decision process

Programme governance

Company Profile: Shared service organisation operating as a cost neutral independent business providing back office services to 56 separate businesses under one parent umbrella.

Task: Standardise, simplify and clarify the rules associated with project/programme approval.

Results: Creation and publication of company-wide governance model covering minimum project requirements, minimum return on investments and extenuating circumstances used for project prioritisation. Followed for every project, this guideline ensured financial resources assigned to project deliveries were sanctioned and approved by the executive committee. This simplified the prioritisation process, significantly reducing decision times, enabling the delivery of high priority programmes at a reliable pace and vastly reducing wasted resource effort on lower priority requests.

Business case standardisation

Company Profile: Financial Services: mortgage lender

Task: Standardise business case documentation to ensure the leadership team can prioritise seemingly unrelated projects timely, accurately and efficiently. Enable leadership team to prioritise programmes in a very quick and decisive manner suitable for all departments regardless of interests.

Results: Created a one page summary document with all critical information necessary for decision for each individual programme. This document covered financials, risks, programme and solution descriptions as well as dependencies so that all parties regardless of their awareness could easily identify and compare one request to another for approval for spend and resource allocation.

Provided details for prioritisation including resource allocation impacts, legal restrictions, regulatory obligations and return on investment predictions.

Reduced the programme pipeline prioritisation time from 1 day to under 1 hour.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss your needs further via the link at the top of the page.

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