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Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14281
Identifying the key success issues in shared service centers - A comparative case study
Author: Kulju, Minna
Title: Identifying the key success issues in shared service centers - A comparative case study
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: tietotalous; knowledge economy; palvelut; service; menestyminen; success; prosessit; processes; taloushallinto; financial management; organisaatio; organization
Pages: 62
Key terms: shared service center; key success issues; financial administration; services; inter-organizational structures; palvelukeskus; menestystekijät; taloushallinto; palvelut; organisaatiorakenne
Abstract:
Over the recent years, more interest has been paid to ways to also develop the supporting processes and find and utilize the possible cost-cutting and performance improvement ideas available. One such improvement idea is the concentrating of supporting processes into a shared service center (SSC). In layman terms, shared services can be described as a strategic orientation organizing support functions within a company. In a sense, the company is concentrating certain support functions into one organizational unit and using these as if they were delivered by an external service provider.

Previous literature is used to identify five main success issues that could be thought to impact the success of the service center: - how the SSC was established and the choices made then, - where it is located and its relation to the parent company, - what the organizational structure and resource management is like and how work done by an individual can be influenced by motivational factors, - what the environment is regarding information systems and - how the SSC handles continuous improvement.

The empirical part presents the two case companies and their financial shared service centers as well as examining them specifically from the perspective of the five main issues identified in the literature review.

Based on the cross case analysis of the case companies certain main findings were found. Both the case companies and literature supported the fact that when establishing a shared service center, clear goals and expectations need to be set. A best practice has clearly been starting off with a few, very standardized processes and then expanding the work further along the way.

Other findings relate to location decisions and IT systems. Regarding location decisions, they were found to not just be one-off decisions but instead something to be monitored and changed if needed. With IT choices, company-wide IT systems were found to be a prerequisite for a functioning shared service center as well as good information quality enabling automation and fast throughput times.

Looking at the continuous improvement of processes and the future of the shared service centers it was found that improvement can be done through measurement as well as employee motivation and training. Also a clear drive to improve and change must be part of the DNA of the shared service center. The future of the shared service centers will most likely be in moving up the value chain and taking on more value-adding work with a clear emphasis on automation and self-service with regard to lower value work.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.