When I wrote Jamie if he was willing to cooperate on doing a speaker interview with me, I received his answer exactly 3 minutes later:

“Hi Lucas, yes happy to participate.”

I sent him the questions I prepared and we set up a phone call shortly after. A few days later we had a very nice chat about his job and his rather controversial presentation topic:

The 5 Signs of A Miserable SSC Job and What You Can Do to Change it

Jamie Davies currently works as Financial Shared Services Manager in Computacenter, based in Hungary. He has spoken at several of our financial events. In October he will be speaking at our very first Shared Services event: The Future of Financial Shared Services.

I interviewed him to learn more about his experiences working in Shared Services and of course his presentation.

To give attendees a little insight into the Shared Services journey of Computacenter, could you please briefly touch upon the Shared Services history and maturity stage of Computacenter?

“I joined Computacenter 1 year and 3 months ago, at the beginning of their Shared Services journey. Before that, I was working at British Telecom whom were already 5 years into the journey. When I joined Computacenter, I went right back to the beginning, start at zero so to speak. At this point we have just finished 3 country transitions for 3 processes. I have around 85 people at the moment. For most of them it’s their first year at Computacenter, so you can imagine everything is quite new. You could say we are basically at the beginning of our Shared Services journey, very early stage.”

The event is called “The Future of Financial Shared Services”. Could you please share your views on the future of Shared Services in Computacenter?

“The approach we are using at Computacenter is very similar to our overall company strategy, which I believe to always be a good fit. We are not trying to be the biggest of everything, targeting everything available in the marketplace for IT services. Instead, our company strategy is targeted at the types of customers and businesses that we know we can do well.”

“If I look at the course of our Shared Services strategy, we look at it in a very similar fashion. We carefully look at processes first. While preparing for each transition, we constantly identify areas we can improve as well as technology we may need to invest in. If you truly want to empower transformation, you have to look past simply “lifting and shifting”. Doing things too quickly would damage the credibility of what’s really an important journey for us.”

“For the coming 1,5 – 3 years we’re rolling out a transformation plan that focuses on actual people having an impact on the business, rather than looking at how we can do transactions cheaper for example.”

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The topic of your presentation is “The 5 Signs of A Miserable SSC Job and What You Can Do to Change it”. Could you please elaborate on what you will be presenting during the event?

“The focus of my presentation is about the people, their capabilities and their organizational part. If I look at the average age of the people working in the center I’m in now, we’re talking about 25 – 26 years. It’s a very different generation of people, they simply think differently. They are not necessarily thinking of having a 5 or 10 year career in finance or SSC and that is one of the bigger challenges we face every day.”

“The idea itself came from a book I read: The 3 signs of a miserable job, by Patrick Lencioni. It made me start thinking of how it applies to life in Shared Services Centers. I then identified a few things I believed to be missing from there, supported by what I see working with this younger generation specifically. From there I built it out to 5 signs.”

“I’m particularly interested in topics such as profiling and motivation, so I will share what I’ve learned from that as well. Through my presentation I will highlight some examples of what I have experienced and believe to have worked well. I really aim to give the audience some clear concepts to think about and test out in practice.”

What do you believe is the #1 takeaway of your presentation for those attending the event?

“I hope people walk away from my session realizing what the potential consequences of not paying attention are for your Shared Services Center for quality, for motivation, for engagement and therefore your overall results and basically everything else.”

You may have also had the chance to review the topics of your fellow event speakers. Is there a particular presentation you look forward to? If yes, could you shortly motivate your choice?

“There are 2 presentations actually. One of them is from my old colleague at BT who’s doing a session on finance transformation (Global Process Ownership Models in an SSC Environment by Gabor Szutorisz from BT) and what it’s like trying to be a global process owner. I’m interested to hear his experiences because that is a particularly though area and role. The other one is a case study called Business Development Strategy for Newly Set-ups by Arjen Sader from DTZ . I’m interested in that one because I am in a new set-up and it is a challenge obviously for me to develop the strategy and developing it further. I’m interested to learn how he has tackled that problem.”

Having attended and spoken at several events, what advice can you give attendees that want to make the most out of their attendance?

“Think of where you are in your SSC journey and really look through the agenda. Think through and have a plan; tick the items that really are the must-haves for you and make sure you go to them.”

“I would also say, pick one presentation that you might not immediately see as relevant. Pick one that maybe has nothing to do with you or your area, simply because you’d be surprised. Some of the best presentations that I’ve been to were the ones of which I thought to have nothing to do with me. I happened to find myself in it and often found information I wasn’t expecting.”

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