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How Can RPA Transform Shared Services and Global Business Services?




Kate McDaniel July 3, 2019

How Can RPA Transform Shared Services and Global Business Services?

The number of shared services centers is growing. Known for delivering efficient and cost-effective business services, these centers are rapidly evolving from ‘process shops’ to strategic drivers of business value. Today, organizations are beginning to deploy Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to transform shared services. What steps should you take to gain the most benefit from RPA technology?


Digital transformation is radically changing many parts of businesses, but its effect may be most strongly felt in shared services. Not only can the shared service center do more quicker and better, it can redefine the service portfolio it offers the business. The Everest Group says: “Digital technologies such as analytics, automation, and other enabling technologies allow Global In-house Centers to drive their enterprises’ digital agendas.”


A new generation of digital shared service centers is emerging that focus on RPA and AI solutions to take an 'automation first' approach to service delivery, where any process that can be automated, is automated.


Automation first: Driving the digital shared services center

Shared services have been slow to adopt digital technologies. In fact, McKinsey found that that less than a quarter of shared services organizations had started to build the digital capabilities required to “improve internal processes, interact with customers and partners more efficiently, and create innovative products and services.”


The centers that have begun their RPA journey began with early implementations based around improving process efficiencies and reducing costs. While essential for shared services operations, those early RPA implementations leave a great deal of business value on the table. Adopting an automation first approach to RPA allows the shared services center to move from cost reduction to value creation. You identify the parts of a process that are optimal for automaton and use this to reshape how your staff and software robots work together.


This approach to RPA allows you to reassess how processes are delivered end-to-end, remove mundane work while freeing your staff for higher-value activities, and increase both the breadth and depth of workload that your center can perform without increasing headcount or budget.


Today’s digital leaders are combining RPA with artificial intelligence (AI) to transform shared services. This combination of RPA and AI provides shared service centers with the ability to handle a variety and volume of data. The combination also enables robots to do more within processes and offer new services, such as invoice or claims processing, that are enabled by end-to-end process automation.


By implementing RPA, a shared service center is no longer simply a means to cut costs. RPA is the catalyst to drive digital business through continual process automation and optimization.


The challenge for many shared organizations is where to start and how best to deploy RPA across the enterprise.




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