Get Inspired: What makes a Career in Shared Services?


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Esteban Carril built up his knowledge of the Latin American market place when managing EMC’s Shared Services strategy across the region. Now at Chazey, he often remembers his initial resistance when, as Finance Director at 3Com, Shared Services was being pitched to him as a solution.

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Get Inspired: What makes a Career in Shared Services?

  1. 1. GET INSPIRED... Meet Our Practitioners - A Q&A Session with Esteban Carril Managing Director Latin America © Chazey Partners Inc. 2013 “I think the most significant milestone of my career was the “eureka” moment when I understood what shared services could actually do to transform a business...”
  2. 2. 2 | Meet Our Practitioners - Chazey Partners - December 2013 Q: What was your first job and how did you move on from there? I joined PWC’s BPO operation in the mid-nineties. That’s really where I cut my teeth on business services delivery, from a provider’s perspective. My next job was at 3Com, a networking company based in Silicon Valley now owned by HP, where I was part of a major shared services and SAP transformation project. As part of that role, I led the shared services implementation for Latin America, covering nine countries. After 3Com, I moved to EMC, the Boston-based storage company, in the role of Shared Services Director, again implementing shared services across Latin America. Three years ago I took up an exciting offer to join Chazey Partners, with responsibility for all of Latin America. We have 20 consultants in our region, and I spend a lot of my time, as you can imagine, crisscrossing the continent by plane. Most of the work at the moment is in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, but we are increasingly seeing interest from other regions. Q: Where do you live? I am Argentinian originally, and studied here as well as in the US. Having traveled all over the world through work, I moved back to near Buenos Aires when I joined Chazey. I am currently considering moving to Brazil. Brazil is where a lot of shared services activities are currently taking place, so it would be interesting to be based there, but more importantly, it’s where my wife is from. So that would be the deciding factor.. Esteban Carril Managing Director, Latin America Chazey Partners + 54 (911) 30 85 5140 Esteban is an executive with more than 16 years of Finance, Shared Ser- vices and Operations management experience in different multinational companies. Prior to joining Chazey, he was the Latin America Shared Service Director for Latin America at EMC Corporation where he was responsible for establishing and optimizing a multi task shared service center across the whole region. Prior to EMC, he was the Latin Shared Service Director for 3Com where he led the roll out of SAP in 8 Latin American countries while also responsible of the business transformation into a Shared Service model. Esteban is a CPA graduated in Universidad de Buenos Aires and have an executive MBA degree with honours from IAE, Universidad Austral. He also attended management and leadership courses at Wharton School and Babson College. Esteban is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
  3. 3. 3 | Meet Our Practitioners - Chazey Partners - December 2013 I think the most significant milestone of my career was the“eureka”moment when I understood what shared services could actually do to transform a business. When I first encountered the model, I was Finance Director at 3Com. The concept was being pitched to me by my boss at that time, who was pushing hard for shared services. I was skeptical about the idea and about the benefits, going through the common pushback motions that business units tend to go through. I was one of a number of finance directors around the table, but certainly the most vocal in terms of questioning“why?”I asked so many critical questions, in fact, that my boss decided I was the guy for the job, and he asked me to lead the subsequent implementation. Going over to the other side, that was really a significant moment in my career. I suddenly understood what shared services could do, how we could leverage ERP systems, etc, and I’ve never looked back. Incidentally, that boss was Phil Searle, founder of Chazey, whom I work with today. Another defining experience was seeing the shared services implementation at EMC came to fruition. We’d started with nothing – no controls, no clearly defined processes, and a pretty substandard operation. It was hugely satisfying to witness the transformation, through process optimization and shared services rollout. Even though I’m not with EMC any more, I’m still proud of what we achieved, starting from zero. Q: What would you consider as a key milestone in your career? There are lots of great things about Brazil. The warm weather, the nature, the beautiful beaches, the food, the national drink (caipirinha), the Carnival, the passion for soccer, the amazing mix of European/South American/African/Asian cultures and much more. But maybe the most important reason why I like Brazil is for the people. In happiness and optimism, Brazilians are unbeatable. People are very friendly and there are fewer barriers to break through before becoming a friend. Everywhere you go, you are greeted with a genuine smile and they are even more curious to get to know you when you are a foreigner. Regardless of the situation, Brazilians are always willing to do what they can to help others, even when they don’t have much to give. Q: What do you like the best about Brazil?
  4. 4. 4 | Meet Our Practitioners - Chazey Partners - December 2013 What I like about being a consultant is also what frustrates me about being a consultant. Because I have had experience across a number of different organizations I can often see the broader reach of a given shared services transformation. However, often the client just wants to focus on one aspect, or they don’t have the support at the time to broaden the reach of the implementation – even though we can make a brilliant case for doing so. Even when we have all the stakeholders around a table, it’s not always easy to take them back a step so that they can see the bigger picture. The other thing I find difficult is, having introduced the plan and aided with implementation, to step away. That’s always a hard break for me. I’d like to stay on, and take the job further. Q: You’ve held BPO roles as well as in-house Shared Services roles. What do you like about being a consultant? I don’t really follow one blog as such, though I do track SSON’s website and tend to rely on that as a knowledge repository. I also use the APQC quite a bit as a productivity resource. I need to stay on top of all relevant regional news, as I cover such a large region, so I read a number of Latin American newspapers online every morning. Other than that, I use LinkedIn’s Latin American groups for networking. There are also a couple of CFO groups that I belong to. Q: Do you follow a regular blog or newspaper? Where do you get your market data? There’s no single moment I remember, luckily, but part of the deal when you move to consulting is that not all of your great ideas are taken up! One of the things I always come up against is that people still want to focus on cost and often don’t understand that there are so many other benefits from a shared services model. Benefits like better control, a more balanced workload, filling in from different countries, … the whole spectrum of transformation. Often, when we’ve had conversations with all the stakeholders at a client company, it’s hard to realize that they’re not buying into the bigger picture, that all they want to talk about is the cost saving. Today there’s so much more that we can do by controlling processes end to end, for example. It’s easy to get lost in the cost analysis. Q: What were some of the disappointments you’ve experienced?
  5. 5. 5 | Meet Our Practitioners - Chazey Partners - December 2013 Q: Which mentors have had a big impact on your career? That’s a great question. In truth, I think I have learned from every manager I’ve worked with, but my first one at 3Com, Ana Yacot, stands out because she really trained me in management and in leadership. I had joined her team as a financial analyst, and Ana’s mentoring definitely set me on track for the career I subsequently had. The other person who has had an enormous influence on my career is Phil Searle. He was my boss at 3Com (the one I questioned so skeptically at the time) and I was really delighted to join him, three years ago, as a Partner at Chazey, which he founded in 2006. I’ve learned an incredible amount from Phil about consulting and I am very thankful with him for trusting in my potential for becoming a consultant. When you’ve come up through functional roles, consulting does not always follow as a natural progression. As I mentioned earlier, I used to running things, managing implementations, and having the final word. Now, as a consultant, you have to learn to step aside. It’s not your shared services, it’s someone else’s, and so you really need to focus on offering wise counsel and advising on appropriate actions. Q: When you have your first exploratory talks with a potential client, what signs do you look for? What are the telltale signs that you might be on the brink of a great opportunity? In the broadest sense, it’s always a good sign if the customer is willing to work with you. As simple as that sounds, it’s far from common. So, when I see a commitment from the other side I know that we’re already 50% of the way there. You want to see excitement from the customer about the project, and you want to know that they’ve got sponsorship in-house. To answer this in a different way, I see danger lights flashing when there are very few stakeholders at those initial meetings, or when I get a sense that there’s no strong leadership, or mandate. Whether you are operating in-house or as a consultant, we all know that if there’s no strong mandate from the start, there’s a challenging journey ahead…
  6. 6. 6 | Meet Our Practitioners - Chazey Partners - December 2013 , ABOUT CHAZEY PARTNERS Chazey Partners is a professional management advisory business that is committed to adding significant value to our clients through a partnership approach. We bring together a unique wealth of expertise and real life experience in Business Transformation, Shared Services & Outsourcing, and Technology Enablement. We pride ourselves in having built, operated and turned around some of the world’s most highly commended and ground-breaking Shared Services Organizations, and for implementing many highly successful multi-sourced (shared services and outsourced) delivery solutions. Over the last 20 years, we have delivered numerous programmes globally, in the US, Canada, UK, Continental Europe, Ireland, India, Eastern Europe, South America, Singapore, Australia, China, Middle-East and Africa. Our experience covers both Private and Public Sectors, providing expertise in a wide spectrum of business functions, including Finance, HR, IT and Procurement. Learn more about us at More Q&A sessions available at Chazey Partners’ website Phil Searle, CEO & Founder Chazey Partners +1 408 402 3008 David O’Sullivan, Co-Founder & Partner Chazey Partners +353 (0) 86 384 8573 Grant Farrell, Managing Director, United States Chazey Partners +1 408 767 1285 Esteban Carril, Managing Director, Latin America Chazey Partners +54 (911) 3085 5140 Chas Moore, Managing Director, Canada Chazey Partners +1 855 692 6229, Ext. 201 Anirvan Sen, Managing Director, Asia, Middle East and Africa Chazey Partners +31 649133170 / +65 85143766 / +971 552807159 Janey Jux, Head of Public Sector Practice, EMEA Chazey Partners + 44 (0) 800 644 0649 Christina Exarchou, Head of HR Practice, EMEA Chazey Partners +30 6944 525622 Meet Our Practitioners: Emer O’Kelly, Regional Director, Europe Chazey Partners +44 (0) 7703 647 360 Robert Towle, Regional Director, East Coast, United States Chazey Partners +1 862 812 7851