Has your organization decided to move to a shared services model? More than likely, you are already preparing for the massive changes ahead as you transform your service delivery model. Any change of this scale should be managed with care, as it can be hard on the customers you are serving as well as your staff. In many cases, it is wise to transition to a new service model using a phased approach, which will help to manage the change over time.
As your organization transitions to a shared services model, you may decide to introduce the change over time. Essentially, you will launch the new delivery method in a few manageable segments versus one “big bang.” Employee groups or services are phased into your new model until your total population and/or chosen processes have transitioned. The phases may be grouped according to site population size, business unit, process, service, or geographical region.
How do you know if a phased approach is the right decision for your organization? If your company fits any of the criteria below, you may want to consider phasing your implementation over multiple launch cycles to increase your chances of a successful implementation:
There are many benefits to using a phased approach to implement a new shared services model. First, this is a great opportunity to build credibility in the organization prior to your full launch. Second, the timeline will allow for flexibility to adjust as needed. You can elect to have a small initial launch in order to identify and resolve any issues in a more controlled environment. A phased approach allows for mid-course corrections; it is easier to update processes and materials for a small customer group before your entire organization depends on them. Third, this approach allows for additional on-the-job training for new service center agents in a reduced, more manageable customer population. You may elect to save more complex processes for a later phase to provide ample time to prepare. The organization can adjust to its new delivery model prior to introducing the most vital and complex processes. Finally, your company’s effort and resources, including dollars, are spread out over time.
While there are plenty of benefits to a phased approach, you should enter into this decision with your eyes open to the disadvantages. Implementing through multiple phases may be more expensive than a “big bang” approach as you are extending support resources across a longer time period. Another consideration is the length of time your organization will undergo disruption from the change. Change at this scale can be exhausting for your resources, and there is a risk that your key project team members can lose momentum over time and potentially suffer from burnout. Additionally, a phased approach often means operating in a hybrid service and technical environment, which creates complexity. During a transition such as this, organizations typically need to utilize multiple service pathways and technologies until all service is unified, extending the cut-over period to the new technologies.
You should carefully consider a few key questions when developing the approach for phasing your implementation:
A few examples of how organizations have phased their implementation are outlined in the table below:
A phased approach comes with known challenges, which you can prepare for in advance by having responses ready as situations arise. As previously mentioned, extending the transition to your new service delivery model also extends issues that come with change. It is critical to have a change management plan in place to minimize the stress and interruption involved with your transition. Be aware of the impact on your most important resources—your people. Extensive projects come with long, high-stress hours, which often lead to employee burnout and ultimately low-quality work. Keep this on your radar and encourage self-care. This may mean allowing enough time between each launch to let key employees recuperate and allow for the stabilization of operations. Additionally, phasing your new delivery model may confuse your customers. It can be difficult to understand what falls under the new delivery model and what remains in the legacy model during the transition. A clear communication plan is important to build and maintain understanding throughout any implementation project.
If you have decided to move to a shared services delivery model, you should consider a phased approach based on the complexity of your services and employee base. This decision should not be made lightly, because it comes with unique challenges, including extending your resources and time spent in the peak of the change curve. Change is hard and managing the change appropriately is important to the success of your project. If your organization decides to pursue a phased implementation, be sure to develop a clear plan with effective communication for your organization, including how to respond to issues that will arise.
ScottMadden has completed hundreds of successful implementations at highly complex and geographically diverse organizations. We can help you identify an optimal approach to move forward in your new shared services model with the least disruption to your organization. We will utilize our expertise, leading practices, and past client experiences with proven success stories to ensure a successful project and to avoid potential pitfalls. ScottMadden will also leverage leading change management techniques to adequately prepare your workforce for the service transformation.
To learn more about phasing your shared services implementation, contact us.
Additional Contributing Author: Sarah Baker
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