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Expert Insights
July 1, 2020

The Evolution of Shared Services in Consumer Goods

Ellen Bunn

Missed our Arbolus Webinar “How are Fortune 500 Companies Innovating to Improve the Bottom Line”? Here are the main takeaways.

Companies are seeking to digitize and become more cost-efficient, with shared services being at the forefront of such innovation. To help our clients, we hosted a webinar with a team of experts who have extensive experience in setting up shared services to reduce costs at P&G, RB, and Kellogg’s.

How are shared services evolving?

Shared services were traditionally handled by third parties. Companies initially implemented shared services in-house for Finance and HR, which extended to include IT, Logistics and Supply Chain. However, today, the scope of shared services has widened to include all the above plus R&D and Sales Analytics.

What’s stopping shared services from expanding?

A large barrier in implementing shared services is internal detractors. As with any radical change, some employees won’t agree with introducing shared services, so it’s important to earn their trust by keeping them in the loop and demonstrating the benefits in each step. Patience is key as it will take time for everyone to adjust to new processes.

Another barrier to setting up shared services is cultural differences, as departments across companies operate differently depending on location, knowledge, and responsibility. Building several shared service centers across different time zones will enable a company to have a better understanding of different cultural aspects, lowering barriers to expansion. 

What do CIOs look for in a shared services partner?

Choosing the correct partner is one of the most essential elements in setting up shared services for companies. But what do the CIOs look for in a partner? 

Hunger and passion to transform. I love partners that come in my office, know my product base, know my business, and are as passionate about my business winning as they are about theirs’  - Jim Fortner

What should a shared services partner know before knocking on the door of a Fortune 500 CIO?

You have to demonstrate that you are the perfect partner for the company. Make your pitch stand out by highlighting how well you understand your client’s needs; not only their problems, but also their goals.

‘If [the partner] does not understand the business process or technology and they can't show me with clarity how these can radically change my business; it's hard to get time on my calendar.’ - Jim Fortner
‘I don't get out of bed unless I know what the ROI is.’ - Darrell Stein
‘What we're looking for is a partner, whether its blue prism or some cloud-based products, that can come in and guarantee a very positive ROI real quickly.’ - John Gregory

What do the CIOs really want from potential suppliers?

CIOs expect prospective partners to provide the best technology and best services. But how can you go beyond their expectation? Become the CIO’s right hand.

‘Come in and tell us how together we can actually make a greater benefit for the organization, whether it'd be within the outsourced entity or within the retained organization.’  - John Gregory 

Arbolus Circles

Jim, John and Darrell are part of our Corporate & Digital Strategy Circle. 

Arbolus Circles are teams of executives from Fortune 500 companies that users can onboard into their team on a flexible basis for the purpose they want. 

Click here to talk to these digital pioneers directly and learn how they can help you.

Ellen Bunn

After travelling and working in South America, Ellen relocated to Spain in 2018 and was one of the first members of the Arbolus Barcelona office in January. She works as a Business Development Associate, working closely with a number of global consulting clients.

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