So, you have set up shared services centers and the teams are delivering more efficient and consistent processes, enabling better controls in your organization. Due to the transition of work to your lower cost locations, you are also seeing a reduction of expenditure. Now what?

As your teams evolve and mature, key employees with valuable skillsets emerge as major contributors to the success. Your employees involved in the transition and process improvements have developed and fine-tuned their change and project management, Lean and Six Sigma, collaboration, and operational planning skills. You may also have several of these experts across your different shared services focus areas all working and supporting various teams.

Now is the time to bring them together, collaborate, expand and solve for business challenges globally.

What is a Global Business Services organization and how does it differ from a shared services center?

Global Business Services (GBS) is an organization that brings together, under one umbrella, all of the individual service centers that exist throughout your business. This enables a consistent governance of processes and agility to respond to global corporate needs.

Most organizations begin by moving their accounting or human resources functions into a shared services model, either by setting up the centers themselves or contracting a Business Process Outsource (BPO) organization, or a mixture of both.

These centers may only support a single region or business unit, and might have only one or two locations. In other words, they are not focused on a global model. A GBS model expands these existing services with a mixture of locations; such as onshore and offshore support models, as well as a mix of potential internal and outsourced resources.

A GBS model can enable all of the business delivery services to be performed consistently under the same governance structure with key resources now available to all teams.

What are the benefits of a Global Business Services team?

Key benefits to a GBS team include:

  • Global consistency of service delivery
    • Having the Global Process Owners (GPO) within the same team with the same access to technology and outsourced resources will ensure a consistent approach to service delivery for the different global processes. For example, if the GPO for Procure-to-Pay (P2P) or Hire-to-Retire (H2R) required automation technology, rolling out a consistent Robotics Process Automation (RPA) solution would be both cost efficient and beneficial to support resources, rather than have two different teams with two different solutions.
  • Continuous process and technology improvements
    • Continuous process and technology improvements require strong change agents with a focus on cost efficiency and simplification. Often these team members have Lean or Six Sigma skills that can be used across the different GBS processes. They may support the GPOs and form a business transformation organization that not only supports projects within the GBS, but also act as change agents in helping them to transform their company. For example, these internal consulting teams are able to assist the business in solving client delivery or product development issues by using their knowledge of the back-office processes, as well as their skills as process transformation experts.
  • Consistent measurements and benchmarking
    • The ability to measure processes consistently, not only for internal key performance indicators and service level agreements but also with regards to benchmarking against other GBS organizations, provides a valuable perspective on the success of the service delivery of your GBS organization. For example, having the ability to evaluate how your Order-to-Cash process in Asia compares to North America would be vital for understanding the different nuances and challenges within each region. You can then perform benchmarking consistently across the organization and make more valuable comparisons.

What does success look like?

One of the simplest ways to understand if your GBS or shared services organization is successful is if your customers view the team as a strategic partner within the overall business. Another consideration is undoubtedly a measured cost reduction for the services delivered. As your organization matures into a GBS team, it is vital that you are a key delivery partner to the business.

Some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • Does the business view GBS as a key partner in the operational model?
  • Is your team called on to assist with critical business challenges?
  • What value, other than cost efficiency, does your GBS organization bring to the business?
  • Does the team provide strategic insights regarding the business processes they support, which in turn translates to business success?
  • What reputation/brand does the GBS team have among the internal business community or benchmarked against other GBS organizations?

The success of the GBS organization versus a shared services organization hinges on the successful transition from a “back office” function to the development of a strategic partnership.

Undertaking this transformation is different for every business, and has many benefits and challenges. Developing a strategy and vision for your organization is the first step in determining the success of your journey to a valued Global Business Services organization.