Innovate, Improve, Comply – sharing the service message

Last week, Capita TI took a short flight over to Dublin to attend SSOW 16 (Shared Services & Outsourcing Week). Being part of Capita plc – the largest Business Process Outsourcing organisation in the UK – made it an inevitable choice to take part in this event.

What are shared services?

A shared service is a service provided by a part of that organisation in a centralised way. The concept behind it is the promotion of organisational efficiencies and resource optimisation through a centralised approach, in which the best practices of a group are shared globally – leading to global cost reduction. This is achieved by identifying the best internal resources for a particular service, and then making them available for the rest of the global structure through a centralisation and consolidation of those processes.

How is this related to language services?

Being one of the largest language service providers in the industry, Capita TI deals with many global clients that have dispersed translation and localisation requirements. One would typically find tens if not hundreds of localisation stakeholders scattered around the globe with multiple translation projects running in parallel. This is often a synonym of resource wasting and perpetuating inefficiencies that lead to overspending.

Reflecting on the conference

When senior representatives from over 200 multinationals gather together, it can be challenging to navigate their many interests and priorities and find a theme. But speakers and delegates at SSOW 16 found plenty of common ground.

Sally Fletcher of SSON set the tone for the event by declaring 2016 the year of added value, and over the course of the week one delegate after another reinforced the message.

What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How is it benefiting your customers?

Continuous improvement is a phrase we hear every day. But what does it mean in practice? To Andrzej Kinastowski of Lufthansa it means developing a strategy and empowering a team to implement it. With service delivery centres in three continents, devising a lean method that can be deployed with equal success in Poland, Mexico and Thailand has created a self-sustaining global culture of positive change. Since 2012, Lufthansa has invested over three billion euros in upgrading cabins, lounges and service offerings. The investment in training and process improvement may not have been as visible to customers, but it’s the rock that the airline’s ongoing success is built on.

Smart use of data analytics offers us an ideal platform for process improvement, and with half of all shared service centres already following this path it was no surprise to find the conversation recurring in Dublin. If automation was a word on everyone’s lips, then the importance of applying creative intelligence was equally clear. Capita’s own experience in this field makes us enthusiastic contributors to the debate. Effective data architecture and management is enabling clear analysis and customer-focused decision making across all sectors.

Are your processes compliant across markets and borders? Good practice isn’t simply a matter of hitting KPIs, it’s a matter of finding agile solutions that combine standardisation with localisation. Kostas Kizilis of the RSA Group summed this up perfectly with his account of the company’s implementation of a global financial reconciliations process. A centralised quality standard was achieved through clear communication, with staff training delivered territory by territory through native speakers of each language. The result? A process equally relevant to any of RSA’s 13,500 staff or 9 million customers, whether in Latin America, northern Europe or the Middle East.

In the same vein – through bespoke solutions sustained by cutting-edge technology that lead to consistent workflow and process automation of translation and localisation activities, Capita TI has been able to decrease translation costs and increase productivity for its global clients.

The lasting lessons of SSOW 16?

Being able to share our success stories with people from completely different backgrounds to ours was certainly enriching, sometimes challenging, but all in all, an amazing experience. Thank you to our partners and our hosts for an excellent week.  See you at SSOW 17 in Manchester.


Part of the manufacturing localisation team, Rodrigo is a seasoned localisation professional with a passion for sports, sun and fun.

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