Shared Service Centers (SSCs) are established by many companies as a strategic instrument to standardize administrative and repetitive processes at a central location. By bundling and centralizing activities, they strive for delivering high quality services at relatively low cost.

A current trend that impacts the way SSCs work is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Routinized administrative processes no longer have to be executed by human beings, but can be automated with the help of RPA solutions. To stay competitive in this fast changing environment, an increasing number of SSCs now consider to take RPA into consideration in order to further realize cost saving potentials. Especially within the HR function, there a numerous processes that can benefit from RPA initiatives.

Robotic Process Automation – Quick, Consistent and Reliable

RPA – these three letters have been buzzing around the digital and corporate world, promising wondrous solutions to all sorts of process-related challenges. It’s true, RPA solutions will accelerate processes and carry them out with a consistent quality and dedication regardless of time and other outside factors.
Processes have potential for automation if they are rule-based, repetitive, have a structured, machine readable input and are carried out manually. If these processes furthermore run with consistently high volume or varying exorbitantly high peaks, it is definitely worth investing time and money into automating parts of or even the whole end-to-end process. Especially since an automation, once build, can not only run 24/7, but is easily scaled up to run on further computers without the need to invest extra time or money in training.

RPA in HR Processes – A Perfect Match

Numerous administrative HR processes, like Employee Personal Data, Payroll or Time & Attendance to name a few, that are likely to be executed by SSCs nowadays, fit the description of automatable processes. Capgemini Consulting has created an exemplary HR RPA Process Heatmap to highlight some of these processes.

 

Picture 1: Exemplary HR RPA Process Heatmap

Especially administrative HR processes show large RPA potentials. For the hiring of new employees, for example, many companies miss an integration of their Recruiting and Master Data Management System. In this case, RPA solutions can support in transferring available data from one to the other system when creating accounts for new hires in the Master Data Management System.

Furthermore, many companies offer their employees self-service options to update personal data. Changing personal data in the Master Data Management System often triggers a chain reaction of further updates in other systems with no interface, such as access control or time recording.
RPA solutions can support in automatically transferring personal data changes from one to the other system to ensure good data quality.

However, RPA solutions can do much more than offsetting missing interfaces. From a more advanced perspective, they can execute a sequence of activities based on workflows and business rules. Taking onboarding of new hires as an example – for every new hire, IT hardware, user account, email address, accesses, etc. need to be requested. Based on predefined workflows, these activities can be executed by robots. Business rules guide robots to take decisions – for instance which system accesses to grant. To complete the onboarding topic, robots can even send out pre-defined onboarding material to new employees as a final step of the process.

As highlighted in the three examples, administrative HR processes that are likely to be executed by SSCs are full of RPA potential. In combination with SSCs’ process-oriented focus and high volumes, Shared Services and RPA solutions are a perfect match. Furthermore, with transferring administrative tasks to RPA solutions, SSCs can head towards more knowledge-intensive and value-added services.

About the Author: In her position as Senior Consultant, Julia Hansen advises clients in topics around the design and implementation of Shared Service Centers. She is part of the Corporate Excellence and Transformation Team in Germany. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the author Julia Hansen .

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