Which shared service center maturity map is right for you?

"If you don't know where you're going, you might end up someplace else."


When baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra first offered that sagacious advice, he probably wasn't talking about navigating the Shared Services Maturity Roadmap.  In fact, when he said it, shared services as a business concept probably had not yet been conceived.  But since those days rotary phones and typewriters, the shared services have become a consideration or reality at most mid-sized and large organizations.

Shared Services is a lot like software - some companies push it to its limits and continually expand its value, while others use only a small percentage of its capabilities, and gain a more limited value.
 But anyone can become a power user of shared services, if they have an effective plan for growth, and follow it with purpose and diligence.

A Shared Services Maturity Road map, or Model can be the framework for that plan. Like any roadmap, it enables you to identify your current location, and establish a route to your desired location.  But unlike a simple two-dimensional roadmap, a Shared Services Maturity Roadmap is based on multiple dimensions.  Those dimensions include, but are not limited to the following:

While there's no standard for "The Map," there are plenty of comprehensive versions from which to choose. A Google search of "Shared Services Maturity Map" produced 236,000 results in less than a second, including models from the major consultancies.  While all the maps contain some common similarities, they all differ in the details.

Examples of Shared Services Maturity Maps

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers model (see image at top of page) contains four stages:  Local Departments (no SSC), SSC, Optimized SSC and 2nd Generation "Independent Company."  These stages are a function of the organization's current state relative to four criteria.  Those criteria include Business Processes, Systems and Technology, Human Resources and Internal Customer Relationship.


The Ernst & Young model contains four stages of maturity, based the organization's current performance level in 7 categories of business focus.  Those categories include strategic direction, functional scope, global scope, retained functions, control and governance, people and organizational efficiencies, IT & process efficiencies.


The KPMG model also contains five stages: Fragmented, Sub-scaled, Scaled, Integrated and Strategic.  But rather than aligning each stage with the status of several specific criteria, KPMG provides a series of levers that enable financial outcomes.   The levers (Delivery and Sourcing Strategy, Service Portfolio, Data and Analytics, Talent Management, Process Excellence, Technology, Tax & Risk optimization and others) are not aligned with the stages of maturity.  That makes this map a bit more difficult to navigate.


The CapGemini model contains only three stages, because they exclude those organizations with no SSC. Their three stages are Old Timer, New Kid and Next Gen.  Each level of maturity is defined by four measures of efficiency: Multi-functional or Specialized, Make or Buy, On-shore, Off-shore or mix, and empowerment by new technologies.


With many maturity models from which to choose, it would be wise to select one that your team can agree on, and use it to chart your course.  Identify your current stage, and within that stage, identify the functional area, or criteria where you can most quickly improve, and put a plan in place to make it happen.  Continue the process until well you're on your way to the next stage of SSC maturity.
In the words of author Nelson DeMille, "We're all pilgrims on the same journey.  But some pilgrims have better roadmaps."  Be sure to begin with a good map!