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Best practices for IT service management

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Harmonization, reorganization, SSC

Reorganization and unification of processes in SAP

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Management boards of companies, especially groups of companies, often struggle with the problem of duplication of organizational structures in individual plants, duplication of positions or lack of uniform procedures and standards. Reorganizing and standardizing processes is always a good idea. This is especially prompted by tough times as companies look to save money and consolidate. Changes can vary in scale – from optimization  of the master data management model (e.g. material indexes, business partners), to unification of the fiscal year variant or harmonization of the chart of accounts for all entities. An increasingly popular solution is to establish a shared service center, whose task is to take over and centralize selected services for the entire group, usually in the area of finance and HR.
 

The basic expectations towards SSC and SAP systems for their operation are centralization and automation of important processes, ensuring operational transparency on the scale of the entire enterprise and the possibility of creating a simple user interface for the user to support only selected processes or process sections from the entire complex system.

For many reasons, Poland is a region of shared services centers for large corporations. The creation of a shared service center entails many changes for the organization – from creating a business blueprint to selecting a location. One of the most important stages is the implementation or adaptation of existing IT systems, e.g. SAP:

  • harmonization of the SAP system landscape (e.g. connection of previously separate SAP systems or implementation of the Central Finance solution),
  • harmonization of business processes implemented in SAP systems within the scope of SSC work, where the most common elements are the already mentioned harmonization of the chart of accounts and master data.

Although theoretically, the creation of SSC does not have to affect IT systems (carve-out and centralization of only human processes), it usually is not the case. SSCs are created with the aim of optimizing cost and process quality, and therefore companies want to make changes to the methods of operation and, consequently, to IT systems with their creation. The processes (systems configuration) and master data used in these processes are unified. This allows to speed up service, reduce errors and facilitate IT system maintenance (e.g. fewer interfaces, less master data, fewer processes to monitor).

The biggest challenges related to creating a shared service center are:

  • planning the project/portfolio of projects in order to reach the target SSC structure,
  • ensuring business continuity in centralized organizational units at the time of introducing changes,
  • change management and monitoring of operation indicators in order to continuously optimize the processes covered by SSC,
  • support management with adaptation to different time zones and different working calendars (e.g. work on Sundays).

In complex international enterprises, the creation of SSCs is often a multi-stage process, starting, for example, with creating a carved-out organizational unit, training users and transferring tasks to them from many dispersed departments. IT systems harmonization projects are implemented successively, up to the projects of standardizing individual business processes.

The most important thing is to plan the transformation process in such a way that it has the least negative impact on the activity (read: the results) of the companies that are subject to centralization. Therefore, often, instead of making as many changes as possible in one step, the implementation process of individual SSC changes is spread over time.

In international companies, the aspect of time zones and different work calendars is not to be overlooked, which often contradicts the need to centralize processes. That is why some companies decide to centralize their IT processes on a regional scale (e.g. Asia, America, EMEA), which facilitates, for example, downtime planning related to the necessary maintenance works of SAP systems.

What to do to make the SSC creation process a success? You need to think carefully about the goals behind the changes you make and plan a project or series of projects to create a SSC. It is also worth involving people with experience in such reorganisations in the field of process changes (e.g. accounting changes) and in the field of changes in IT systems.

Case study # 1
Harmonization of the chart of accounts in SAP

For one of the international capital groups, SNP Poland carried out a project to harmonize the chart of accounts in SAP for over a dozen companies whose financial and accounting processes are carried out in the Shared Service Center. The effect of converting several charts of accounts to one is the standardization of processes and simplification of the analysis of financial statements for companies in the region. SAP Landscape Transformation (SAP LT) transformation tools were used in the project implementation.
See more.

Case study #2
Animex: SAP and SSC – simultaneously

Since 2012, the Animex Group has been using the SAP ERP system. The implementation of SAP was associated with the introduction of many organizational changes in each plant, including financial departments. It was decided that it would be much more effective to handle many financial processes of all plants in one place – the shared service center. The simultaneous launch of SSC and launch of SAP ERP was associated with risk, but it was optimal in terms of costs and time necessary to implement the changes. SSC in Morliny provides a full range of services for all branches of the group.

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  1. Personal data is processed pursuant to Article 6 (1) (a) of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of April 27, 2016 – the General Data Protection Regulation
  2. The data controller is SNP Poland Sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Złotniki, ul. Krzemowa 1 62-002 Suchy Las. Contact data of the Data Protection Supervisor: dpo.pl@snpgroup.com.
  3. Consent to data processing is voluntary, but necessary for contact. Consent may be withdrawn at any time without prejudice to the lawfulness of the processing carried out on the basis of consent prior to its withdrawal.
  4. The data will be processed for the purposes stated above and until this consent is withdrawn, and access to the data will be granted only to selected persons who are duly authorised to process it.
  5. Any person providing personal data shall have the right of access to and rectification, erasure, restriction of processing, the right to object to the processing and to the transfer of data, the right to restriction of processing and the right to object to the processing, the right to data transfer.
  6. Every person whose data is processed has the right to lodge a complaint with the supervisory authority, which is the President of the Personal Data Protection Office (ul. Stawki 2, 00-193 Warsaw).
  7. Personal data may be made available to other entities from the group that SNP Poland Sp. z o.o. is part of – also located outside the European Economic Area, for marketing purposes. SNP Poland ensures that the data provided to these entities is properly secured, and the person whose data is processed has the right to obtain a copy of the data provided and information on the location of the data provision.

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