• Papinda Bhandal, Director |
3 min read

Global Business Services (GBS) is a well-trodden path. Many organisations have brought their middle and back-office functions such as Finance, HR, Procurement and Order Management together under a Multi-Functional GBS model. They have put in a Service Management layer and a User Interface to provide a one look and feel for their customers. Many have established Process Owners to review and improve processes. Despite all of this, the services provided to their organisation are still functional-based and siloed and not delivering desired business outcomes.

The value proposition for moving to an integrated GBS from a multi-functional GBS is around achieving effectiveness, or business outcomes on top of top quartile efficiency as well as superior customer, supplier and employee experience.

In the integrated GBS structure, end-to-end processes are at the centre and Global Process Owners (GPOs) are supported by several capabilities that expand their reach of services beyond just those offered by the GBS organisation. Capabilities that are typically part of an integrated GBS include a Digital CoE, Customer Experience CoE and Reporting CoE. Digital CoEs for example deliver digital skills As-A-Service to the organisation and are becoming a necessary enabler of digital transformation across end-to-end processes.

How do organisations get there?

Executive Sponsorship and Enterprise Governance

Fundamentally, integrated GBS organisations need to have sponsorship from executive leadership who set the top-down message and shape a culture of GBS as a valued delivery partner. A key part of this is establishing an appropriate governance framework and empowering Global Process Owners to have accountability for end-to-end processes. The C-suite also needs to provide investment into all key capabilities required for an Integrated GBS to be successful.

Governance needs to be comprehensive and enable the remit of GPOs and GBS operational leaders who operate the processes day-to-day. GPOs (e.g. for Source to Pay) own decisions around end-to-end process design, investments, monitoring, standardisation and improvement and development of new capabilities, whereas GBS operational leaders own decisions around day-to-day team management, talent and operational metrics.

Where does this leave the C-suite with functional ownership? An integrated GBS allows the function leadership to focus on strategy for their function and they have the support of the GPOs to deliver this.

Seamless user experience

To truly drive integration, a single-entry point where all services can be accessed is key. For the customer, employee, or supplier, it provides an efficient and positive experience while reducing reliance on contacting a specific team. In the back end, requests can be routed automatically ensuring that requests reach the right team and can be clearly tracked and monitored in real time.

This needs to be supplemented by an effective feedback loop – think Google maps where a developer follows up directly to confirm your recommended changes have been made. Oftentimes, companies implement a GBS structure, experience teething issues, and the business loses interest in investing further, resulting in stagnation at the multi-functions stage instead of achieving integrated services. Organisations can avoid this pitfall by constantly seeking feedback, asking what can be done better, and ultimately building a reputation as a GBS organisation that cares about and continually seeks to improve the experience for customers, suppliers,and employees.

Demonstrate Value

Demonstrating the value of GBS can be challenging, especially when GBS organisations are often viewed as a cost-cutting vehicle. Companies that look beyond labour arbitrage and empower their GBS organisations to drive innovation and business outcomes can drive value to both the top and bottom line. Marketing and Branding is a key enabler of an Integrated GBS and it’s important to communicate regularly to the enterprise around areas where GBS has added value to the business.

Establishing the right performance metrics is essential and these should be focused on experience of GBS and end-to-end processes as well as the value created through the GBS, for example improved sales results, customer loyalty and employee retention.

GBS as the Engine for Change

Establishing a centralised transformation office in GBS sets the change agenda across GBS. Having GBS oversee a consolidated portfolio of projects across all end-to-end processes ensures that investment and resources are focused on strategic priorities.