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Five steps to scale your GBS

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Looking ahead to a new future, businesses are shifting from managing disruption to once again striding forward with plans for innovation and growth. With its central position in the organization and 360-degree views across the business internally and externally, global business services (GBS) are in a pivotal position to help.

A steadfast service delivery partner, GBS organizations have provided welcome resilience throughout recent uncertainty. But as business requirements change and demands increase, GBS must advance through the maturity curve. The next generation of GBS has matured beyond cost reduction and transactional tasks. They're scaling to help connect the business, harnessing opportunities, driving decision-making, and delivering revenue growth.

Expanding the scope of GBS, however, takes careful planning and execution to manage complexity and cultural shifts. Based on more than 20 years of designing and operating shared and global business services coupled with our digital transformation skills, Genpact has developed a methodical approach to scale your GBS.

From fragmented functions to holistic services

Many organizations are still in the fragmented and transactional stages of GBS maturity (figure 1). Siloed operating models are counterproductive to growth, and shared service centers (SSCs) are a case in point. They often solely deliver repetitive, single-function tasks and add little or no further value to the business beyond cost savings.

Figure 1: Experience-led GBS maturity model

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GBS evolution is rapidly accelerating, and as organizations look to GBS for support with their wider business plans – data-led intelligence and insights that drive decisions – cost reduction takes a back seat and strategic business partnering jumps behind the wheel.

When you've moved beyond efficiency and become focused on delivering outcomes, your organization must become digitally led. Adopting automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics enables people – users, employees, and customers – to perform better in their roles and support more robust and informed decision-making processes.

And then, nirvana: the final stage is experience-led GBS shaped by the voice of the customer. At this level you'll have mapped customer journeys end to end for efficiency, defined customer personas to unlock personalized experiences, created a connected ecosystem internally and externally, and be well on the way to shifting from transaction processing to business partnering.

Your organization can achieve the next level of GBS maturity with the following five steps:

Step 1: Check your pulse

To assess the value that your current GBS model generates, consider the following:

  • Have you delivered the return on investment from your initial business case?
  • Does your leadership team recognize the value GBS brings?
  • Do you have strong governance and global process owners in place?
  • Do you have a platform for transformation?
  • Have employee and customer-experience levels of satisfaction increased?
  • Are you achieving any value beyond cost?

Taking stock of where you are today is the key to moving forward. And listening to the voice of your internal customers and employees paints a true picture of how they view you and what you need to do differently. Including them in a GBS development advisory board and working group creates a platform for continuous communication that builds trust through transparency, collectively shapes plans, and gains leadership buy-in.

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Step 2: Define your vision

Inspire stakeholders and motivate change with a powerful GBS vision for the future. Look beyond cost reduction to strategic business partnering, higher-value services, and transformational achievements. Consider your organization's overarching strategic business plans and the following two key areas to shape your plans:

Empowering people

Pivotal to any business is its people. Investing in talent, supporting teams, and assigning roles and responsibilities creates positive working experiences to keep up engagement and satisfaction:

  • Build a high-quality talent pool – draw upon competencies across your diverse businesses and regions, develop the right skills and capabilities, and attract and retain top talent
  • Establish global process ownership – global process owners assume responsibility for delivering end-to-end process excellence, enabling transformation and change management
  • Rethink service delivery – build resilience through onshore, nearshore, offshore, and work-from-anywhere service delivery options
  • Create a superior customer and employee experience – map customer journeys, define customer personas, listen to employees and customers, and measure satisfaction to drive the experience

Embedding intelligent automation

Augmenting human intelligence with high degrees of automation and insights from AI allows GBS to shift focus to added-value services and reenergizes the workforce culture:

  • Automate transactional processing – redesign end-to-end processes with digital technologies for zero-touch, low-cost processes
  • Invest in continuous improvement – use process-mining technologies to visualize a process end to end and identify and resolve efficiency bottlenecks
  • Enable global collaboration – bridge physical distance with cloud technologies and collaboration tools to connect the business internally and externally and encourage knowledge sharing
  • Embed data and analytics – adopt AI and machine learning for real-time predictive insights that guide C-suite decision-making

Step 3: Assess readiness

A high-performing and scalable GBS journey addresses capability, experience, and behavioral gaps. Use a GBS maturity model to map your GBS maturity and your peers'. This type of diagnostic tool provides a thorough and objective evaluation across all critical capabilities, underpinning processes, and activities involved (figure 2). The results of this analysis provide empirical insights into your readiness to scale and help you prioritize areas for improvement.

Figure 2: GBS processes and capabilities

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Step 4: Map the road ahead

To realize your vision, it's important to first prioritize key initiatives and align an actionable roadmap. Your roadmap must be agile and evolve as you gain new information, feedback, and assumptions change along the way. Each time you update it, revalidate the GBS vision and the direction to take.

A GBS playbook is another integral component of a successful transformation. Detailing the approach and key building blocks for implementation and documenting the guiding strategies and principles achieve buy-in and alignment from internal and external stakeholders alike.

Step 5: Get underway

Successfully transforming your GBS takes time, persistence, and – above all – continuous communication with stakeholders. To stay the course:

  • Keep up the pace – transformation requires cultural shifts that need careful change management vital to preventing your program from stalling before you reach scale 
  • Stick to the plan – it's easy to deviate even if it's just a little, but the smallest change can have a big impact and derail success. Stay on track with a strong governance model to evaluate progress, outcomes, and change 
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – Develop communication strategies to share your vision and the benefits of change to encourage adoption over frustration

​Case study

Moving toward the vision

The GBS organization of a major global insurance firm had an epic vision:

  • A robust service delivery model (offshore, nearshore, onshore) 
  • Centers of excellence, offering geographical expertise combined with global views 
  • Top-level decisions driven by data-led intelligence 
  • Execution enabled by a knowledgeable workforce empowered by technology 
  • An effective continuous improvement program underpinned by performance metrics and a proactive mindset 

We helped define an action-oriented, three-year roadmap to deliver this transformation and prepare the head of GBS to confidently move forward with his vision.

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Elevate GBS to the next level

Your GBS can deliver more than simply managing transactional tasks and cutting cost. With a clear vision of your expanded scope, understanding of your readiness to scale, and a well-developed roadmap you can begin to position GBS at the heart of your company – a trusted strategic business partner going the extra mile to create impact and value in everything you do.