Digital Transformation should look like beautiful butterflies, not faster caterpillars

By Tim Woodhouse on Apr 29, 2020

Digital Transformation in shared service centres (SSCs) and global business services (GBS) was looking like a pretty hot topic at the start of 2020. But now with the current pandemic wreaking havoc across the world, should businesses shelve these plans and simply be satisfied with getting back on their feet?

It seems not. Michael Heric, a partner in consulting firm Bain & Co comments in The Wall Street Journal on Digital Transformation in Finance – “For many, the crisis is accelerating the vision that they’ve already had for a long time. While it could have taken years or even decades to make that shift, I think you’re going to see it much faster now.” Heric extends the point in finance, saying that ‘If you can’t send a bill to a customer or you can’t send a check to an employee, all of those operations basically halt. You’ll struggle to close the books if there’s a lot of manual things that are going on.”

There are warnings out there on what type of automation we should avoid and there’s a great analogy from Tom Bangemann of The Hackett Group, where he talks about caterpillars and their transition into butterflies. With the ultimate ‘self-service’ based digital transformation being the butterfly, he’s warning us to not just create transactional automation, such as basic transactional RPA, within the centre as this is merely just a fast caterpillar.

Speaking of the butterflies of digital, I recently heard Peter Moller of Deloitte deliver an awe-inspiring vision based around his admiration for Amazon. What Peter described was a world of ‘Amazonisation’ in our SSCs and his view on the effects on the cost per transaction were a real eye opener. He states that currently a scenario of initial triage, followed by intervention by an SME, might cost €30—40 for every transaction and after successful digital transformation it could cost as little as €0.10 per transaction. The question is, how do you transform like a butterfly?

Winshuttle’s new automation platform Evolve automates strategic data processes where data and process are interdependent. This holistic approach not only means you transform your business processes “aka” the butterfly approach but it also means that you can be more agile and switch directions as demanded by the business climate.

What does this look like at the ground level? Let’s start by stating that there will be no more emails, complex spreadsheets or SAP screens presented to users who just have little or no knowledge of SAP. Add to that a modern UI fit for 2020 where each contributor in a process is presented with a User Interface that is modern, attractive and appropriate to their skill set, why ask them to enter 30 pieces of SAP bound data when if we ask them 4 or 5 simple questions we can actually derive those 30 pieces of data? Next, there’s a Workflow/BPM type of environment for sharing work, monitoring status’ and tracking, enabling you to eliminate phone calls, chat and emails. Finally, Evolve features a Management console or dashboard that delivers KPI data – every touch on every process.

Now more than ever, businesses don’t need a huge IT development-based project where they need to hire difficult to find and expensive development skills. To enable them to transition from caterpillar to butterfly, they need a digital transformation platform that empowers their SSC to own and deliver the project.


For more information on how Winshuttle can help you to simplify your SAP business transformation journey visit

About the author

Tim Woodhouse

Tim is in Strategic Sales for Shared Services and GBS’ at Winshuttle, with 11 years experience in ERP based solutions that include Digital Transformation, RPA, Purchase To Pay, Order To Cash and Content Management. Tim is based in the UK but predominantly works in Eastern Europe, the epicentre of the European Shared Services industry.

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