For 15 years The Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON) has offered an annual forum for shared services professionals to gather and discuss current and pressing challenges that face large corporations. This month’s event in Orlando, FL was another fantastic effort by SSON to bring together the most talented minds in the space.

The central focus was on how to continue moving beyond the last two years of recession and how to better prepare for future economic upheavals. Several marquee session titles included: “Challenging Times Pose Unique Opportunities for Shared Services” and “Fresh Eyes for 2011: Realigning Competitive Strategy Post Recession.” Other sessions looked at using metrics to constantly gauge the health and efficiency of a company’s financial operations.

Another theme looked at the health of a company’s supplier data. Directors of shared services can typically view the entire P to P process, and it has become increasing clear that corrupt or inaccurate supplier data can create errors in the payment process that drive up transactions costs. Top of mind were solutions that ensure quality supplier data. Companies actively discussed the growing adoption of e-payable solutions along with other automation solutions and the importance of accurate supplier data as part of corporate initiatives to ensure smooth deployments and upgrades. On the floor, Lavante saw considerable interest in our supplier information management solution, as well as overall growth in awareness of the critical importance of a supplier management strategy and solutions.

We welcome your feedback about the conference as well as your thoughts about the themes presented here.