Introducing global business services (GBS) as part of a digital strategy can help you exploit the full potential of intelligent automation.
Global business services (GBS) is the evolution of business process outsourcing (BPO) and shared services — both focused on process efficiency improvement and cost reduction. But GBS can become more specialist, skilled and technology-savvy, and can move up the value curve to help the wider organization transform.
For more than a decade, IT functions had the opportunity to drive technology-based transformations, but their focus was on standardizing and harmonizing the IT environment, from a regulated mainframe environment into the client/server area. They lacked an awareness of the needs of the business.
Now, some leading GBS organizations have shown that they can indeed drive transformation, with an integrated IT, as a business-minded expert group.
The proven orchestrator and connector
As new technology comes to market with increasing speed, organizations will struggle to deploy it in-house — instead, GBS will act as the orchestrator and connector of technology and will build processes around it, leveraging data and analytics across business units and functions.
GBS is perfectly positioned to take on this role because it is usually the first part of the organization to adopt emerging technology — many GBS organizations are already robotics centers of excellence (COEs), infusing the technology into the whole organization , and its employees are primarily young digital natives. And as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more mainstream, GBS will unquestionably be the resource for a technology that should learn from the best teacher.
Particularly in offshore locations, technology such as natural language processing and chatbots will seamlessly become part of the established everyday services performed by GBS to customers, both internal and external — employees, suppliers, end consumers and other stakeholders.
And as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems become increasingly advanced and powerful, with cloud-enabled solutions such as SAP HANA and AI-infused Leonardo, GBS will have the data, process and know-how to help the organization exploit its true potential. It will also be the only part of the organization capable of linking together multiple legacy ERP systems (as in post-merger integrations, for example) and migrating them using bots to support the process.
Self-disruption through technology
The advance of technology may, of course, threaten the traditional role of shared services and GBS. For example, blockchain, if adopted, would disrupt ERP platforms, with a direct impact on GBS service delivery — it presents an opportunity for secure and near real-time transactions, but ERP systems currently hold all the ledgers.
However, nothing about the operating model and architecture of an organization will stay the same as digitalization dominates. It will be up to GBS to continually evolve and provide indispensable services to the wider organization.
So where are you on your transformation journey with GBS?