Continuous cost pressure, increasing market volatility and globally connected value chains are forcing companies to further professionalize their support functions. The worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic seem, hopefully, to be coming to an end, and the corresponding impacts on companies and their global business service (GBS) organizations. However, from very early on the pandemic accelerated market trends – particularly technology-driven market disruption – and triggered substantial changes in how GBS organizations will operate in future.
Historically, organizations transferred transactional, repetitive, process-based work to shared service centers, which have evolved into today’s Global Business Services (GBS). Their remit has remained as being the backbone of efficiency, driving standardization and cost gains – but for many organizations they are also the engines of transformation for the entire business. Functions come to GBS for help in exploring and delivering innovation, automation, advanced services and new ways of working.
Because the pandemic had unforeseen influences on the operating model for both organizations and their GBS, Boston Consulting Group, EY and SSON (the world's largest shared service and outsourcing network) consulted over 140 organizations in a global survey to understand how GBS organizations managed the crisis and how it affects their future. The findings are explored in this article and are further discussed in the report, The future of GBS is digital: GBS as a powerful transformation engine (pdf).
The results show that GBS strengthened its role as a key pillar of resilience during the recent crisis and has ambitions to further enhance its role to become more digital oriented, value focused and customer centric. However, there is also a clear need to build on core capabilities in order to advance its future position.