Why Service Management Is Critical for Delivering Enterprise Shared Services

This article originally appeared in Baseline Magazine.

The healthcare industry has never been more exciting or more complicated. We’re seeing a steady stream of amazing new technologies and approaches that improve patient care and enable healthcare professionals to collaborate more effectively than ever before. At the same time, healthcare companies must find ways to deliver more for less and comply with new laws and regulations governing the confidentiality, security and availability of medical records.  To transform and thrive in this new world, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) has embraced multiple strategies, one of which is accelerating our enterprise shared services program.


Shared services is not a new concept. For decades many industries have used the concepts of shared services to improve service delivery and cost. Essentially there are five levers that enable shared services to deliver more for less: (1) moving work to lower cost locations, (2) centralizing work to create efficiency, (3) simplifying and eliminating work, (4) enabling customers to serve themselves and (5) adding automation to the work that can’t be eliminated. Much of the work done in the enterprise can be improved using one or more of these levers.

Having spent many years as a CIO, I saw similarities between delivering enterprise shared services and delivering IT services. IT is really just another service organization supporting the enterprise. Over the past 10 years, many leading IT organizations have dramatically improved their cost and value to the enterprise. A big part of that improvement has been the adoption of the ITIL model and a corresponding service management platform. IT service management brought transparency, meaningful metrics, rigorous playbooks and workflows and a methodology to manage and improve services.

IT service management offers a mature service management model that we could apply to help solve similar problems found managing enterprise shared service. In this way, enterprise shared services organizations are following in the footsteps of their IT organizations. Trying to manage any service operation in spreadsheets and email is costly and difficult at best. That’s why BD made the decision to implement IT Service Management and Enterprise Service Management using ServiceNow. (You can hear more about that in the video below.)

Accelerating the Business

In the past we used a combination of group mailboxes and Lotus Notes to manage our services. When a request arrived at a group mailbox, several people could respond to the same request – duplicating efforts and creating confusion. Work requests were manually typed and tracked in Lotus Notes or Excel – there was no automation, no real-time visibility and nothing was easy. As a result, service delivery was inconsistent and error-prone. We also wasted time getting to an agreed version of truth regarding the quality and timeliness our service delivery.

Job one was lifting our shared services work from group email to managed and measured services. Today, we have much better process visibility and case management across our service teams enabling us to better measure and manage the services we deliver. 

Driving Adoption and User Satisfaction

Enterprise shared services is striving to deliver a simpler and more consistent system of engagement for our associates and customers to find and consume services. The platform will also help BD optimize our end-to-end service delivery. Why is this important? Organizations have traditionally managed work in functional silos. Each function executes its part of the process and then passes the ball to the next function to do their part and so on. Associate on-boarding is a great example. Even a simple on-boarding requires, the hiring manager, HR, benefits, finance, IT, facilities and more. Imagine if this was orchestrated via a service portal that connects the independent steps and teams into a single workflow and shows the manager and the new employee the progress of each functional team’s delivery in real time. The same system also records all the cycle time and quality metrics for later follow-up and continuous improvement.

Our aim is to digitize and connect the work silos across the company so we can offer our customers and associates a consistent, end-to-end experience. Enterprise services must be complete, easy-to-use, searchable and fully transparent, just like they are in the consumer world.

The Next Frontier – Zero-Touch Service Fulfillment

At BD, we also see huge potential in combining our service management with robotic process automation (RPA) tools.  In fact, we’ve already started using BOTS in a number of locations. RPA tools make it easy to connect systems and processes rapidly without writing complex code – simple tasks like filling in forms, moving files and folders, and copying and pasting data are all easy tasks to automate. By integrating RPA with end-to-end service management workflows, we’ll be able to automate many steps in our global processes. Our service improvement team can implement many of these small automation steps themselves, creating the added benefit of reducing the backlog on our IT organization, allowing them to focus on larger and more complex work.

These are just some of the ways our global shared services team is contributing to BD’s mission of advancing the world of health.

Read more from Mike Zill: Driving Down Healthcare Costs Through Service Transformation.

Mike Zill
Mike Zill is senior vice president of global shared services and business processes at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company with more than $10 billion in annual revenue.

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