How a 2-Month Pilot Paved a Company’s Path to a Shared-Services Transformation

  • by Katharina Reichert, Finance Solutions, SAP SE
  • January 2, 2013
Follow one early adopting company’s path to implement the SAP Shared Service Framework (SAP SSF) as a framework for managing exceptions in its order-to-cash process. This company has deployed SAP Collections and Dispute Management and SAP Credit Management in conjunction with the SAP SSF.

The SAP Shared Service Framework (SAP SSF) for Finance is a new software solution that helps companies manage finance business processes in a shared-services environment.

The company described in this case study is a life sciences company with global operations. As part of its commitment to deliver high-quality business services to its operating units, the finance team divided up tasks in terms of separating front-office support for the sales organization and executive management and back-office transactional processing.

The proof of concept (PoC) for the SAP SSF was implemented in two weeks. The implementation of a three-system landscape with reporting and all the bells and whistles took two months.

The company decided to set up an offshore shared-service center that would cover back-office finance business processes, especially focusing on order-to-cash (credit management, collections, and dispute management), purchase-to-pay, and the financial period-end closing processes. This back office is supported by a handful of front offices located in different time zones around the globe. It decided to implement the SAP Shared Service Framework (SAP SSF), as well as SAP Collections and Dispute Management and SAP Credit Management.

Software implementations have automated much of the order-to-cash process, and many transactions do not have to be manually handled at all — the customer’s invoice is generated, the customer pays on time, and the necessary bookings are made. However, exceptions exist, and so shared-service agents take on the main share of the telephone-based collections process, calling customers to remind them to pay their outstanding and overdue invoices.

As part of their customer service role, these agents are responsible for starting and managing the dispute process when a customer has an issue with an existing invoice. In addition, shared-service agents need to have access to credit management processes — credit-relevant master data for the customer and current credit exposure information.

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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