Case study : an evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Anglo Coal Financial Shared Services Centre.
With the renewed emphasis in recent years on profitability as the the key corporate metric, "forgotten" functions such as finance, human resources, procurement and IT are back in the spotlight. They are not only being viewed as sources of cost efficiency, which has been the traditional focus, but also as tools for corporate strategy and competitive advantage. But turning these functions into strategic value drivers can be as difficult as spinning straw into gold. Indeed companies have adopted a variety of approaches, form simple cost reduction and consolidation to discrete outsourcing and offshore strategies. However inconsistent approaches have led to equally inconsistent results. Benefits are available, but, in many instances, they are less than ideal and frequently short lived. In this paper, we will evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the newly implemented Anglo Coal Financial Shared Services Centre to determine if the inherent benefits of introducing a shared services environment is being realised. We will benchmark the current "AS-IS" state of the SSC to best practice in order to assess the gap and recommend a set of possible initiatives that, if implemented, will help improve the performance of the SSC. A broad, systematic approach was used in the diagnosis of the SSC that incorporated the three primary elements of a system - the processes, the technology that enables the processes and the people that drive the process. The research methodology is divided into two phases. Face-to-Face interviews were utilised to assess the process and technology aspects while a rating questionnaire was used to evaluate the people aspects. The study then makes several recommendations to help correct the most critical findings on process, technology and people of the study.