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Showing Your Shared Services ROI: 3 Ways to Prove Your Team’s Worth

How to measure and communicate your team's impact on internal customers

Published By Jeff McCollum
Showing Your Shared Services ROI: 3 Ways to Prove Your Team’s Worth

As a leader of a shared services or center of excellence team, you might wonder how to showcase your team’s business value as tangibly as sales figures do. It’s crucial to articulate a clear and measurable value proposition for your team, which can significantly ease budget discussions. Let’s explore strategies for defining your team’s impact in quantifiable terms, making your contributions as evident and persuasive as financial outcomes when budgeting time comes around.

Treat your team like a business within a business

You might think it’s obvious, but from what I’ve seen, it’s always helpful to remind yourself that your team a) costs money and b) provides value. And if you’re doing it right, the value you provide is demonstrably higher than your costs.

How much your team costs can generally be calculated by answering two questions:

  • How much is the combined burdened cost of your employees?
  • How much does the software or other services you manage or provide cost?

Add those costs together, and you’re going to be pretty close to the cumulative cost.

But the value part of the equation is frequently (much) more difficult to pin down for a shared services organization. In my experience, people on a shared services team are less likely to think about what they do as having monetary, quantifiable value for whatever reason.

So, repeat after me: “My organization, were it a standalone business, is one worth investing in.”

Calculating the value of the services you provide

Given the diverse roles and responsibilities of shared services teams, tailoring your value calculations to your specific situation is necessary. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1.     Understand who your customers are and their objectives

Yes, you have customers. They are most likely your colleagues on other teams within your organization. So, make an effort to understand their goals.

Here are some examples of internal customers and their goals.

  • Sales: Their primary aim is, quite simply, to increase sales. This includes accelerating the sales process, closing bigger deals, and reducing the time spent in negotiations. Also, it’s worth noting that Sales teams aren’t given unlimited resources when it comes to staffing. Therefore, efficiency in managing headcount is crucial.
  • Software engineering: Their goals will generally revolve around the efficient delivery of software. This encompasses reducing the delivery time and minimizing the amount of time—and significantly, the mental churn—for the engineers.
  • Analysis services to other groups: Know what those services are used for. What purposes do they fulfill? Consider the impact on your internal customers if certain services were unavailable. How would such an absence hinder or prevent them from achieving their objectives?

It’s crucial to have a deep understanding of their objectives to clearly articulate how your work complements theirs. You need to demonstrate that your contributions are beneficial and enhance their work experience.

2.     Use language and concepts that resonate with your customers (both internal and external)

Communicating effectively with your customers is pivotal because it bridges the gap between your team’s service delivery and the customer’s understanding and appreciation of the value being delivered.

By using language and concepts that are familiar and relevant to your customers, you demonstrate empathy and a clear grasp of their challenges and objectives.

This tailored communication fosters a collaborative relationship, ensuring that the services are not just provided but are also recognized as integral to the customer’s success. It leads to better alignment of your services with their needs, encouraging their engagement and buy-in, and ultimately, it strengthens the perceived value and effectiveness of the shared services within the organization.

Think of an account team as an internal customer. Your shared services team may manage software and offer a range of support that assists them in various capacities. When you conduct analyses to gauge the health of your customers, the aim is typically to maintain and expand both individual customers and the overall customer portfolio.

What is the value of knowing the health of the customer?

If we know they are in good health, they are more likely to buy additional services, and your sales efforts can be deployed more efficiently. Conversely, if they’re struggling, identifying this issue enables you to allocate resources strategically to ensure their retention.

Efficient allocation of resources has value, and it’s relatively quantifiable. As a shared services team that provides that insight, not only are you allowed to take some credit for that gain in efficiency, but I’d argue you should consider yourself required to take that credit, at the very least, so that an informed decision can be made about whether and how to fund your continued efforts on that front.

For example, Planview Hub enhances the efficiency of your account teams by eliminating redundant tasks and enabling them to concentrate on high-value activities instead of routine record-keeping across various tools. Additionally, it provides quick access to the status of a support request or the progress of a new feature without having to log into other tools to obtain this information.

3.     Voice your team’s successes

Lastly, and perhaps most crucially, it’s essential to actively communicate the value of your team with all your clients. I suggest sending out a quarterly newsletter, a “Dear Sales, I hope you’re well. Here are some highlights of what we’ve provided for you in the past three months and their value…” type of message.

Remember that if you’re doing things right, your achievements are also their achievements. While your internal customers may be focused on other things, they will appreciate you highlighting the value your team brings. This helps them understand what services are available, their worth, and how crucial your team is to their ongoing success.

In conclusion, ensuring that your internal customers grasp the value your team delivers is paramount. When they recognize the contributions your team makes to their success, they become champions for your cause. They’ll be more inclined to support your continued funding when discussing budgets with their management and the finance department. Ultimately, this is a win-win situation that we all strive for.

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Written by Jeff McCollum VP of Product Management, Planview

Jeff McCollum is the VP of Product Management for Planview Hub. Previously, he served as the Director of Content Integrity and Insights at Bazaarvoice, a user-generated content solutions provider, where he led teams responsible for content moderation, analytics, data science, authenticity and fraud.