Having said this, I must also, say that there are also elements of thinking that are still stuck in the last century.
The concept of shared services was almost born around the same time as the Gen-Z population. And yet, when we look at the digital savviness of one and compare it with the other, the difference could not be more obvious.
And that is where, to keep up with the changing times, shared services and their corresponding functional organizations must re-invent the organization structure and the operating model. In the re-invention, there will be new types of roles that will be required.
Here is a list of seven roles that we believe every organization must have.
- Dynamic Capability Management: Most functions would need dynamic capabilities in the future. They may need rapid scale-up or scale-down depending on the requirement. For example, during a specific marketing campaign, there will be surge resources who will be required. They maybe designers, content creators, advertisers, and social media specialists. These are the people who could be brought in from a central pool of resources managed in-house by the company or through a managed eco-system of external experts. Similarly, for an ERP implementation, transformation projects or other type of specialist work, dynamic capabilities may be required. In order to manage these dynamics, organizations would need a Services Facilitator. The main component of these roles would be to identify, conceptualize, design, and engage eco-systems to deliver specific capabilities as and when required. And they will also, have the ability to disengage and scale-down as soon as the capability requirement diminishes. This role should also, have high agility and resilience in order to manage the dynamics. The ability to manage, facilitate and being agile will be central to the success of the role.
- Outsourcing Management: Conventional roles that deal with transactions and administration will gradually get replaced by intelligent automation and other new-age technology. The roles that need more contextual knowledge will start getting replaced with higher-end AI-engines (Artificial Intelligence). The other roles will become part of the shared services and third-party roles from a function. The role that will be born from this architecture will be outsourcing management. This will include both tactical as well as strategic management. Facilitation and getting the work done will be considered key to this role. Apart from that, managing the outsourcing relationship will be considered in this role as well. There could be an overlap with the dynamic capabilities role in some cases.
- Financial and Operational Innovators: As all transactional activities and contextual work will be moved to shared services or will be automated, a new type of role will be required which will be focused on innovation. These innovations may be process improvements, customer experience changes, or employee experience-centric transformations. The primary responsibility of these roles would be on how to manage functions and operations more efficiently or run them in a radically different manner through the infusion of new-age technology, user-experience, analytics, artificial intelligence, along with new-age professional skills.
- Strategic Talent: The third type of talent would be super experts or super specialized functional talent that are key to managing and maintaining a company’s competitive advantage. In the past, they were referred to as “core” skills of an organization. But over a period, each function started defining their own version of “core” skills. In the new age, these strategic talents are likely to be multi-functional, strategic thinking, agile and should have the ability to collaborate across ranks and be able to make a significant impact to the existence of their businesses.
- Strategic Partnership Management: Strategic partnerships will be on two fronts: internal and external. In case of internal, these roles will be known as business partnership roles of a function. The people in these roles will have in-depth expertise about their functional and technical areas of work, at the same time, have strategic orientation that allow them to seamlessly partner with the business functions and operations to provide them enabling support and strategic insights which can then create strategic advantage for the whole organization. The external roles are likely to be in terms of partnering with strategic customers, suppliers, or JV partners. A finance leader could forge a strategic partnership with a JV partner on governing dynamic pricing. An HR leader may partner with customers to develop new skills required for a combined solution.
- M&A Integration Management: The world is likely to witness a steep increase in mergers and acquisitions, as well as strategic alliances in the new-normal. Organizations need to develop roles and skills that can consolidate organizations at an optimum velocity and ensure competitive advantages can be unleashed at the earliest possible juncture. Care must be exercised with this role since M&A integration failures are extremely common and therefore, having the right level of integration expertise either in-house or preferably through an eco-system (due to its ad hoc requirement) must be absolutely developed.
- Market Intelligence Leaders: In today’s world, it is no longer the data generated from ERPs and other internal system that creates the competitive edge, it is the data from outside. The external data has three distinct challenges. Much of the data is unstructured and must be meticulously cleaned and mined to get meaningful insights. Secondly, the external data tends to be voluminous. Whether generated from thousands of customers interactions through internet and social media or through IoT (Internet-of-Thing) devices, the volume of data is huge. And this needs specialized skills to manage including advanced statistical and analytics skills. Thirdly, all of the data is external. Sometimes, this data may need to converge with internal data whereas at other times, they can be managed purely externally. However, there are two issues with managing external data. First is cybersecurity and the second one fact-check. So, based on the above description, organizations will need market intelligence and Data Analytics leaders who can deftly navigate both internal as well as external data and can mine the data to create innovative market intelligence.
These are just a few roles that we believe all organizations will need going into the future. Needless to say, as the business world evolves over the next few years, this list may change as well. But for the time-being, this list of seven roles is a good base to start thinking about the future organization.
Digital native companies like Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple are already showing that future organizations are likely to be nimble, facilitative and have the ability to work in eco-systems rather than try to develop and manage all sorts of roles in-house.
We believe that different organizations will have different speed and their evolution is likely to be more staggered than a big-bang approach. However, one thing is a given – The world has changed irreversibly, and every organization will need to change.
It is only a matter of time.
This article is written by Anirvan Sen.
It is edited and keyword optimized by Blanca Monni.