INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW WITH Ms. Kirti Talwar,
Senior Director Shared Services, CDK Global,
headquartered at Illinois, US
CDK Global is a Hoffman Estates, US headquartered company focusing on providing technology and marketing solutions for automotive, retail and adjacent industries.
How do you believe shared services of the future will look like? What will they deliver beyond providing a fixed portfolio of scale services?
Shared services have significantly evolved in the last 2 decades. While it started from cost arbitrage now it’s a significant function in every organization. Value of shared services is compelling to be ignored. Shared services future is changing again and will make big shift as we move from standardized processes to digitized ones. Shared services are now taking leap using technology to automate most manual tasks and shifting utilizing of resources to more value-driven analysis for the business.
What is shared service organizations doing to deliver game-changing performance from their shared services? Is there any change in terms of preparedness that you’re seeing now versus say five years back?
Definitely most shared services leaders are thinking very differently compared to five years back. It’s not a backend center but integrated into the company value chain. Most leaders have realized the importance of technology and are investing significantly in the latest technology. Analytics is another area gaining momentum and shared services leaders realizing the importance of using data for decision making.
How do you believe digital has enabled shared service organizations to deliver improved business impact? Could you please detail with some examples?
Digitization has completely changed the game. By incorporating automation, virtualization, advanced analytics, and other digital technologies into their operations, shared-services organizations have been able to streamline processes. These technologies also may enable them to make better decisions and improve the quality of internal and external customer interactions. I can cite many examples from broken processes to end to end integrated digitized processes in terms of front end and back end. No matter where I look it’s applicable…selling using CPQ tools integrated whole contract management to using tools for collections and dispute resolution as well as using technology solutions for your payment /procurement processes. In addition to significant time savings and improvement in the quality of data and customer interactions, digitization has helped enterprises with significant dollar savings too. However, for a lot of organizations, there are concerns about integrating legacy systems with newer digital technologies as well as a shortage of the talent and skills required to undertake such a huge transformation program. This is only compounded by the conflicting strategic priorities within the leadership team.
How do people within shared services need to be reskilled to get ready for the future? What should enterprises be doing about it?
It’s very critical to reskill people like a lot of repetitive jobs are being automated and where people can deliver value is analytics, helping make better decisions, helping clients make better decisions. Enterprises are realizing that if the talent is not reskilled it will result in significant cost of redeploying talent and hiring fresh. In the world of digital not only systems and processes needs to be changed, but we also need to equip our workforce differently to work in new ways, think differently about what is possible, and draw on a new toolkit of capabilities. Most organizations who realize the impact of this are investing significant amounts of money in-house and via external partnerships for learning and development. High performing organizations realize the importance of nurturing digital mindset and they are not just stopping at “online learning” but investing heavily in new skills like deep digital analytics, robotics, and automation.
Can you please detail some key innovation initiatives within CDK’S Global Shared service organization? What kind of business impact has this delivered?
CDK as part of its strategy expanded Global Finance Shared services set up in India last year. This year large quote to cash business transformation project has been approved by the board with significant funding to modernize our systems and processes. As part of the initiatives, we will be looking at guided selling tools like CPQ and new ERP.