18 de September 2019
Leading companies make a commitment to shared services centers
- The College of Higher Studies of Administration (CESA), the Colombian BPO Association (BPrO), Johnson & Johnson, Diageo and Invest in Bogota have joined forces to create the first diploma in shared services centers (SSCs). The program will enable employees to develop their knowledge and learn more about how SSCs are managed and administered within companies.
- Organizations can make operational savings of between 20% and 40% if they pool their administrative and support activities in an SSC.
- In Latin America — where 98% of these centers provide traditional services, such as finance — Colombia marks the difference and has managed to set itself apart in the areas of technology (42%), general and administrative services (39%) and human resources (35%).
According to the consulting company Chazey Partners, organizations can make operational savings of between 20% and 40% if they pool their administrative and support activities in a shared services center. This operating model is increasingly prevalent in companies, as it helps to reduce costs, improve internal control, standardize processes, increase efficiency and enhance economies of scale.
This growth has led the College of Higher Studies of Administration (CESA), the Colombian BPO Association (BPrO), Johnson & Johnson, Diageo and Invest in Bogota to join forces to create the first diploma in shared services centers, enabling employees to develop their knowledge and learn more about how SSCs are managed and administered within companies.
Titled “Efficient Development of Shared Services Centers”, the diploma aims to develop students’ skills and abilities to allow them to understand the real dynamics of the model and add value to the market. The support of SENA was vital in carrying out this endeavor. Through a call that featured the participation of 70 organizations, SENA agreed to co-finance the initiative launched by BPrO, due to its innovativeness and fulfillment of all the requirements specified by the national entity.
The program will have an intake every semester and will be taught at the College of Higher Studies of Administration (CESA), one of Colombia’s most prestigious business and administration schools. “Colombia has one of the fastest growing pools of talent in the region, which makes it necessary for the country to promote the training of professionals through first-rate education, in order to remain competitive and continue to attract SSCs,” said Diego Narváez, professor and lecturer at CESA.
According to the 3rd Latin American Survey of Shared Services, published by ProColombia and EY, close to 50 SSCs currently exist in the country and the trend continues to rise in Latin America. The provision of this type of services — in which Colombia stands out as the most dynamic and fastest-growing country in the region — is a global vocation, given the fact that over 60% of the SSCs in Colombia export services to countries including the United States, Canada, and Mexico, according to Invest in Bogota data.
Having better trained talent and more specialized profiles is essential to this commitment, which is complemented by Bogota’s large workforce of over 4.6 million people and by the fact that it is the second most competitive city in Latin America, according to information provided by Invest in Bogota.
“Today, professionals in this field acquire knowledge empirically. Through this initiative, we aim to train qualified professionals in order to strengthen the industry and enable them to lead processes in their own organizations at regional or international level. All of this requires more specialized training in SSCs,” explained Ana Karina Quessep, the executive president of BPrO.
In Latin America — where 98% of these centers provide traditional services, such as finance — Colombia marks the difference and has managed to set itself apart in the areas of technology (42%), general and administrative services (39%) and human resources (35%), according to ProColombia.
In the same way, cities like Bogota have become a benchmark for launching SSCs. In fact, today the city is home to the shared services centers of important companies such as Diageo and Johnson & Johnson.
In the case of Diageo, the company has operated its SSC in the city since 2012. Called Enterprise Operations Bogota, it centralizes financial services for most of the countries in Latin America. “Our aim is to continue placing our trust in the country’s progress and future, but above all to invest our efforts in enhancing the power of education as a fundamental axis in order to train large numbers of Colombians who, to date, have played a key part in the growth of the industry at regional and national level,” said Ofelia Fernández, the general manager of Enterprise Operations Bogota and financial controller for Latin America.
Additionally, Johnson & Johnson’s multifunctional shared services center entered into operation in 2017. “This process has allowed us to identify opportunities to develop new and more specialized capabilities in the country, in such a way as to equip companies like ours with trained talent for the implementation and operation of SSCs. In Colombia, we have found a variety of skills and highly-qualified staff to meet the needs and dynamics of the company,” added Gustavo Sala, Latin America Global Services Delivery Lead, Finance at Johnson & Johnson.
This diploma is intended for professionals who are interested in entering into or already work in shared services centers, with a view to helping them perfect their work and grow professionally. Through this initiative, the companies involved are not only seeking to train their employees but also to share their experience in setting up these centers in Colombia with other companies that may be interested in using the operating model to expand into the country.
 Author: Revista de Logística. Article title: Challenges and opportunities of shared services centers in Colombia. Date of publication: February 24, 2019. Date accessed: July 30, 2019. Available at: https://revistadelogistica.com/servicios/retos-y-oportunidades-de-los-centro-de-servicios-compartidos-en-colombia (in Spanish)
 Author: ProColombia. Article title: 3rd Latin American survey of shared services. Date of publication: June 7, 2017. Date accessed: July 30, 2019. Available at: http://www.procolombia.co/publicaciones/3-encuesta-latinoamericana-de-servicios-compartidos (in Spanish)
 Author: Invest in Bogota. Article title: Bogota, the Latin American capital with the most jobs created by new foreign direct investment. Date of publication: April 27, 2018. Date accessed: July 30, 2019. Available at: https://es.investinbogota.org/news/bogota-capital-latinoamericana-con-mas-empleos-por-IED (in Spanish)
 Author: ProColombia. Article title: Reasons to invest in shared services centers. Date of publication: January 30, 2019. Date accessed: July 18, 2019. Available at: https://www.inviertaencolombia.com.co/noticias/1217-razones-para-invertir-en-centros-de-servicios-compartidos.html (in Spanish)
 Author: Invest in Bogota. Article title: Figures and general information on Bogota. Date of publication: January 25, 2018. Date accessed: July 18, 2019. Available at: https://es.investinbogota.org/por-que-bogota/datos-generales-y-cifras-de-bogota (in Spanish)