5 minute read 14 Feb 2024
GCCs in India

How can GCCs help organizations unlock the power of data?

By Kunal Ghatak

Partner, Business Consulting, EY India, Global Business Services

Kunal has 18 years of experience in shared services and outsourcing strategy. He has helped multinational companies set up and optimise capability centers across the globe.

5 minute read 14 Feb 2024
Related topics Consulting Workforce

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As organizations become increasingly data centric, Global Capability Centers (GCCs) can fulfil the critical role of centrally governing and transforming their vast data resources.

In brief

  • With Generative AI and advanced ML technologies, data continues to embed itself into the very fabric of organizational decision making.
  • Since the quality of data would influence the insights derived, governance of global data resources would be a critical responsibility that GCCs are best positioned to undertake.

Today’s business enterprises are operating in a dynamic environment, driven by data. Big data has transformed how businesses operate and compete by providing a wealth of information for decision making. While the primary focus of organizations has been on data science and business intelligence, the quality of the data being analyzed could, in fact, be the most crucial factor. The rather subtle maxim “garbage in, garbage out” is applicable to any data analysis exercise. As data science becomes more important in business operations, leaders would need to prioritize data governance. 

The relevance of data governance

Data governance refers to the framework that defines and enforces policies, procedures, and responsibilities for managing an organization’s data. It aims to ensure that quality data is always available and easily accessible for informed decision making. An enterprise level data governance strategy is critical for a data driven business enterprise.

Global Capability Centers (GCCs) and the data governance agenda

Global Capability Centers (GCCs) have a crucial role to play in ensuring that data is governed effectively, and a ‘single source of truth’ is maintained across the organization. By creating a Data Center of Excellence (CoE) at their GCCs, organizations can effectively drive their data governance agenda. This includes activities such as: 

1. Data custodianship and stewardship

Processing of master data items is a role widely supported by GCCs today. This includes activities, such as creation, deletion, and modification of master data items. In addition, several GCCs today are also functioning as data custodians and stewards. As stewards, GCCs are acting as subject matter experts, educating and guiding business users on data policy and standards, and as custodians, they ensure that all master data items meet the standards and framework created for the organization.

By including this additional governance layer at GCCs, organizations have been able to place better control on master data at its source, confirming enforcement of rules and standards centrally.

2. Data policy and framework management

Policies and frameworks are essential foundational elements for effective data governance across an organization. High-quality data creation and processing requires well-defined rules and policies, such as clearly defined data elements, business rules, data models and data lineages, among other aspects. Developing such policies, frameworks and business rules requires a global, cross-functional perspective and strong data domain expertise that can easily be accessed through GCCs.

Illustration based on EY’s GCC analysis: A global foods company leveraged its GCC to analyze data in its business-critical but geographically diverse agricultural materials category and develop a standard global data taxonomy and business rules framework. This created a common shared language for historically fragmented divisions, laying the foundation for global future process standardization, critical to realizing business synergies.

3. Data catalog and metadata management

Data, being a critical business asset that is leveraged for varied purposes, requires effective cataloging. A data catalog serves as a centralized repository that indexes and organizes metadata, providing a comprehensive view of an organization's data assets. Metadata management ensures that data definitions and lineage are accurately documented, fostering data quality and compliance with regulatory standards.

This centralized catalog enables business visibility and facilitates data mobilization for effective decision-making. Global Capability Centers (GCCs) are best placed for managing this data catalog and ensuring that data is accessible throughout the organization. 

4. Automation and technology enablement

As organizations handle increasingly large amounts of data and metadata, leveraging automation and digitalization becomes crucial for data governance. GCCs, equipped with Automation CoEs, could play a key role in implementing system rules for data governance.

Several GCCs have been leveraging leading applications, such as Collibra and Atlan, to accelerate governance processes.

A multinational enterprise GCC, for example, has been responsible for the global implementation and management of the Collibra application, while another GCC is responsible for creating derivation rules that auto-predict and populate fields at the time of master data request creation.

GCCs can also leverage their capabilities to enhance the governance process through artificial intelligence. For example, an AI engine can identify invalid data attributes based on defined rules as well as internal inconsistencies. It can then extract information from trusted sources such as emails, purchase orders, invoices, online OEM catalogs, etc., to predict the attribute and enrich the data element. AI can also be used to scan source systems and applications to discover relationships and map the data lineage and data profiling.

Global Capability Centers

As Global Capability Centers (GCCs) are evolving from being a source of cost arbitrage to becoming Global Value Organizations, the EY GCC Advisory practice is supporting the GCC community in India to drive digital transformation and innovation.

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5. Data quality improvement

Data quality improvement is a comprehensive task which requires support from multiple stakeholders across regions as well as a detailed understanding of the underlying data. This is where GCCs are playing a key role, acting as pivots for data quality improvement. A GCC can, for example, perform regular data audits to assess the overall data quality across data types and co-ordinate with different business data owners to resolve issues and improve data quality. On the other hand, GCCs can also take up independent data enrichment and cleansing exercises, leveraging their specialized domain knowledge to plug holes in historical datasets.

Illustration based on EY’s GCC analysis: The GCC of a multinational organization undertook a multi-year project to enrich and cleanse hundreds of thousands of material master items relating to spare parts and utilities. It leveraged its team of skilled material data experts to identify and enrich missing metadata elements from invoices, OEM catalogues, purchase orders and other sources. This enabled better cost and inventory stock visibility to the business, while at the same time immensely improving analytics and decision-making capabilities.

6. Data migration and integration

A major hurdle for large global organizations attempting to create a comprehensive data lake is the lack of unified global systems, with regional and business level variations existing in ERP systems as well as other tools and applications. Successful systems unification requires seamless data migration from legacy to target systems, with minimal impact on business operations. This is an activity that GCCs are driving centrally, leveraging on their experience working with multiple systems across functions and businesses.

Illustration based on EY’s GCC analysis:  A multinational organization’s GCC has been leading the migration agenda for its global operations across multiple subsidiaries. The organization has a multi-year plan to unify ERPs across more than 30 countries in which it operates. Its GCC with integrated IT and data management teams has been leading the migration activity in this transition.


The importance of effective governance has grown as data has become more critical. GCCs, as global hubs, have the digital and cross-functional capabilities to lead the data governance agenda.

About this article

By Kunal Ghatak

Partner, Business Consulting, EY India, Global Business Services

Kunal has 18 years of experience in shared services and outsourcing strategy. He has helped multinational companies set up and optimise capability centers across the globe.

Related topics Consulting Workforce