The business value of holistic solution providers

As outsourced services continue to evolve and adapt to changing customer needs, the importance of using a single service provider for holistic support across specialised functions has become increasingly obvious. Not only because this reduces the cost and admin burden around procurement, management and expectations, but because it means that risk is centralised for both parties. It also means that the service provider evolves with the business, adapting its services and capabilities in a consistent loop of improvement.

“As the business grows, it changes. This change impacts how the service provider interacts with the business, the type of services required by the business, and how these solutions are optimised to suit the business,” explains Stephen Howe, director at Times 3 Technologies, a local IT company that helps people and businesses using intuitive cloud software through Sage. “If a company uses a single service provider, then they can become fully immersed in the business, gaining visibility and insights that can fundamentally change the services they provide and the ways in which they provide them.”

This is particularly relevant when it comes to providing third-party support and systems in human resources (HR) and payroll. Both these business functions are critical to a business. In fact, HR is considered a key component of success for organisations moving into a post-pandemic world. As frameworks shift and employee expectations change, it’s seamless HR operations that keep people and company culture on track. McKinsey research has found that organisations with solid HR strategies which focus on positive employee experiences are 1.3 times more likely to outperform their competitors. This means that HR has to rely on richly layered, technology-enabled solutions that empower their workloads, not inhibit them.

As for payroll, this simple and often forgotten silo is central to employee engagement and business success. It enables global business growth, ensures people are paid on time without error, that packages and benefits are designed to meet market and individual expectations, and forms a hard line on the balance sheet. In fact, Aptitude Research found that companies with tightly integrated and managed HR and payroll platforms were 36% more likely to experienced improved employee productivity, and 7% that integrate these processes are less likely to experience errors.

“Using a single service provider to handle these critical functions within the business can ensure that changes are made faster, and that the business is provided with data and insights to inform decision making and process adjustments,” says Howe. “This allows them to move beyond being merely a company that executes a task to one that can add value through business consulting, becoming an extension of the business. And all without the organisation having to hire more staff or invest more man hours and money into these essential areas of the business.”

This approach benefits both sides of the outsource coin. For the business, it means a more holistic and cohesive service that can adjust on demand. For the service provider, it means being able to use what it has learned to consistently adapt its service delivery to ensure that client interactions are increasingly collaborative and relevant.

“A service provider shouldn’t be viewed exclusively as an agent performing a specific task,” says Howe. “They are an extension of the team, and if they are seen as such, they can easily add value by providing data and insights that can help the business define strategy, optimise solutions, and meet its goals. This also allows for both service provider and company to establish clear measurement criteria that will keep the relationship on track.”

These metrics can be anything from time to budget to expectation management, and can be bolstered by more intangible measurements such as value, strategic input, and improved decision making. While the latter are hard to define, they are invaluable benefits and are often the result of a solid partnership with a service provider that puts the business at the heart of its engagements.

“A good service provider will become an irreplaceable asset,” concludes Howe. “You can detect the good ones from the outset. They are the ones who engage early in the process, who offer solid input in the decision-making process, and want to know as much as possible so they can align with the business’ strategy.”

Times 3 Technologies, a Sage Platinum Partner, would agree as the market leader in providing companies with a solution that’s achieved the highest Garter Critical Capabilities score for five years running – Sage Intacct. The platform is designed to provide core financial management tools for midsize, large and global enterprises, supporting the CFO’s strategic commitment to transformation with a toolkit that’s highly innovative and capable.

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