Use the Service Configurator Capability to Increase User Acceptance of Shared Services

  • by Katharina Reichert, Finance Solutions, SAP SE
  • May 8, 2013
One of the most critical success criteria for any shared services implementation is the acceptance of a software tool to take over an established business process. See how the service configurator functionality in the SAP Shared Service Framework for Finance can address an end-to-end business process, including the steps outside of the shared service organization. It makes all steps in a business process more transparent to the user, increasing user satisfaction and ultimately adoption of shared services.
Key Concept
The SAP Shared Services Framework for Finance, available since 2011, is software that facilitates finance business processes for a shared services department. It can be deployed on top of one or more SAP ERP systems or non-SAP systems and provides a user interface for a shared services agent that combines ticketing functionality and workflow, knowledge repositories, and one-click access to relevant transactions in multiple ERP systems. This year it has been enhanced with functionality called the service configurator. This functionality provides users more structure and transparency for processes involving multiple people, thereby enabling the adoption of shared services. Most business processes can be described as a structured series of steps. Workflow and process management ensure that the processes are executed efficiently and effectively, regardless of the number of people involved or organizational boundaries.

The shared service model promises to use economies of scale and process efficiencies to deliver business processes with high quality at low cost. However, the biggest problem project managers involved in implementing shared services face is getting people to change the way they have done certain tasks over the years. If people cannot be convinced to use the shared services, then a company’s investment in the new model is futile.

The initial functional scope of the SAP Shared Services Framework was designed to help a shared services agent process mostly one-step service requests, whether requests come in from a person or are automatically system-generated based on error rules. For example, a customer may call into a shared service center wanting to know the clarification status of a particular invoice dispute. In this case, the software automatically generates a service ticket based on data it discerns from the incoming telephone number, and the agent opens a transaction in an ERP system, finds the information requested, communicates the information verbally, or sends some correspondence to the customer, and then marks the ticket as completed.

However, many end-to-end business processes that are supported in part by a shared service center may actually extend far beyond the service agents. These additional steps that are part of more complex processes may take place before the agent becomes involved, they may be after the agent’s involvement, or they could even be sandwiched between steps in which service agents play a role. In this case, the initial functional scope of the SAP Shared Services Framework required customers to create workarounds. The service agent might mark his involvement in the process as completed, closing a ticket, but the business transaction that the request represents was not really finished; it simply continued without having the benefits of auditability and tracking that the SAP Shared Services Framework provides.

Katharina Reichert

Katharina Reichert is part of the Finance Solutions team at SAP SE, located in Walldorf, Germany. As the solution owner for receivables management, she focuses on applications for customer credit management, customer billing, dispute resolution, and collections management.

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