Shared Services & GBS

Defining Shared Services & Global Business Services (GBS) and How to Optimize their Performance

Shared services become the centre of business operations

Shared Services

...represents the consolidation of selected business operations (processes, activities and/or functions) that were previously operated in more than one part of the business. Funding of the service is shared among participating entities (e.g. business units or countries). As an internal service provider to the business, with the ability to better scale operations, simplify and standardize practices, technologies and organizational structures, the Shared Service aims to deliver improved effectiveness and efficiency over locally managed operations of a similar nature. Historically, Shared Services were mainly transactional in nature (typically highly repetitive 'back office' work) but increasingly Shared Services are now driving 'value-add' targets and managing greatly enriched work types.

Global Business Services (GBS)

...is a more recent term coined to represent an evolution of Shared Services. Although many view GBS as a step-change in the integration of resources, locations, governance, and practice, we at AssuringBusiness consider that Shared Services have evolved and should, in any case, be seeking these ongoing improvements to create greater value and cost benefit. Therefore, we define GBS primarily as being a Shared Service with a global footprint and incorporating more than simply transactional activities. The underpinning performance dynamics remain similar but may have a greater scale.

GBS and Shared Services Models

There are many types of Shared Services model from fully centralized and harmonized to fragmented and globally distributed. And of course, Shared Services may incorporate Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) partners or other third parties in the mix; general operational resources or specialist functions and disruptive technology enabled solutions. Different models present different benefits and challenges that need to be considered when designing or improving the model.

 

Businesses implementing Shared Services will often start with one flavour and evolve to another as the confidence and business utilisation changes over time. In fact, Shared Services should be a perpetually evolving function mastering new technologies, process best-practices and talent management techniques and work closely with their business partners through proactive continuous improvement.

Great measurement provides great insight

Optimizing the Shared Service

Any business with a Shared Service model in operation will know that optimization of services is not always that straightforward. The fact that there are multiple stakeholders, markets, regulations, nationalities, and customer cultures involved does tend to complicate matters somewhat!

 

The key steps to enhanced performance are the business engagement framework and inherent performance management dynamics. Having the right process transition framework and ongoing talent management approach is also imperative. Some will argue that optimized process is also critical, and certainly this is a goal championed by the performance management objectives. But on the whole, we consider process optimization as an outcome of performance management and continuous improvement. And where an improvement culture is established, new process design will automatically reflect this thinking.

 

Naturally embedding these components will result in them becoming culturally accepted and operated as Business As Usual (BAU) rather than something perceived to be an additional or 'edge-of-the-desk' responsibility. This is where your pot of performance gold truly lies!

 

Although ideally these optimization factors should be considered and designed-in to the Shared Services model at the start, retrofitting a strong collaboration and performance framework also works wonders. If done well, with a continuous focus on improvement, then the benefits will keep flowing driving positive customer and stakeholder experience.

Benefits of Optimizing Shared Services

  • Enhance the quality of services delivered in all shared service operations; improve NPS and customer satisfaction levels
  • Bring your overhead and average activity costs down
  • Enrich the nature of work undertaken driving talent retention, reducing attrition
  • Ensure strong business engagement that drives true collaboration to enable dynamic and high-performance operations meeting stakeholder and local customer needs
  • Measure, report and provide significant insights from useful data and metrics wrapped up in meaningful service levels
  • Strengthen governance whilst improving the efficiency and focus of oversight
  • Enable timely and cost effective activity/process transitions
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The services we offer

Operating Model - the nature of the Shared Service model needs to be considered in the context of the business structure, operational opportunities/functions shared, and the existing business culture. It will also depend on the extent of the mandate; whether a compulsory operational component or optional buy-in for the stakeholders and decision makers affected. Transformational and compulsory restructuring to a Shared Services or GBS model is clearly an option and one that can work very well with the right approach. But mostly such changes are implemented on the assumption that business units will want to participate seeing a compelling business case. This tends to be a more incremental approach to win 'hearts and minds' with proof of concept and rollout plans hinging on success.

 

AssuringBusiness will help to design the most appropriate strategy and determine the 'path of least resistance' that creates the most significant stepping stone to optimized services. We provide design, execution and program governance end-to-end, or simply supporting the client's own team with key knowledge and advisory inputs.

Automation - with today's increasing focus on automation, in particular Robotic Process Automation (RPA), there are also significant opportunities bring in quick-wins and plan for more strategic changes in the Shared Services/GBS environment. Understanding the opportunity for core systems automation improvement and RPA must be combined with a sensible perspective on the existing technology landscape and strategy to ensure both strategic and tactical options are considered.

 

AssuringBusiness will assess the existing automation landscape and explore risks and opportunities for transformational or tactical changes. Our findings will be presented in cost-benefit terms for business consultation and Executive review. Once fine-tuned and approved, the strategy will be incorporated into design and transition plans.

Engagement Framework - appropriate engagement is critical to success. Starting well-before implementation, it must continue to drive open and productive communications around business needs, performance, continuous improvement and talent management practices. An embedded Governance framework will also ensure that the Shared Service/GBS is continuously aligned to business strategy, follows appropriate policies and standards, and is managed to agreed service levels.

 

AssuringBusiness will create the Engagement Framework to set out appropriate responsibilities, terms of reference, ongoing governance and relevant performance factors. Taking this framework from concept into production is a critical step requiring the balanced communications and relationship expertise inherent in our key resources.

Transition Planning & Execution - planning and execution of work transitions is an absolutely critical phase to balance risk and cost. Although tempting to save costs and cut corners in the discovery and planning stages, we find that appropriate emphasis here dramatically reduces overall program cost and risk. The opportunity for process and automation improvements should also be factored-in to the discovery and business case where applicable.

 

AssuringBusiness will build a systematic Transition Planning & Delivery framework for the client to operate independently. The framework will be documented and include all relevant tools to discover, evaluate and plan process transitions. Client resources will be trained and coached on early transitions to ensure a robust and competent approach to future projects.

Performance Management Framework - establishing the right mechanisms to monitor and drive performance within the Engagement Framework is essential to maintain a positive stakeholder and customer experience as the business and operations evolve. Critically, the right Measurement, Reporting and Insights (MRI) approach is core to success; ensuring visibility and interpretation of useful and meaningful data but avoiding overkill making it hard to derive insights. Talent Management, Risk and Issue Management also ensure focus on key performance activities.

 

AssuringBusiness will define and create the appropriate Performance Management Framework components relative to your Shared Service/GBS. These will be documented, trained and coached with team members as needed.

Performance Uplift – optimization of existing Shared Services/GBS often benefits from an independent perspective. Some people close the operations can tend to become ‘operationally immersed’ meaning that although the day-to-day execution is doing well, it’s difficult to step-back and drive true innovation for performance change.

 

AssuringBusiness provides an excellent independent view of performance factors and will make prioritized recommendations for change to the Performance Management Process. Recommendations will be prioritized for impact and ‘deliverability’ and an implementation path defined based on these parameters. We can either implement the changes directly as part of a performance uplift project or support client resources as required.

Process Improvement – processes are at the core of all business operations. But not all processes operate effectively or efficiently. In fact, in our experience, considering the often-fragmented evolution of businesses with acquisitions, product and service changes, and organisational restructuring, there is usually a direct impact on process performance. Unnecessary tasks, overly bureaucratic approval regimes, irrelevant data capture/entry/processing, poor workflow, legacy system workarounds etc. are all common symptoms of under-performing processes.

 

AssuringBusiness will deploy process specialists to identify and assess opportunities for improvement redesigning components or the entire process as appropriate. Our perspective on operating practices, workforce deployed and the technology in use combines to ensure a symbiotic change plan. Strategic changes will be identified for longer-term consideration (often forming part of other projects) whilst quick-wins and medium term initiatives can often be dealt with directly from within the Shared/Service/GBS team. Our delivery lead or support is available throughout the change lifecycle.

Take Shared Service/GBS to the Next Level

Take the next step to optimized Shared Service and Global Business Service (GBS) operations. Get in touch today to better understand how we can deliver results...

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Our Approach

AssuringBusiness partners with clients to review and improve existing Shared Services/GBS operations, design the strategy and operating model from scratch, or transform existing models to meet current and future business needs.

 

Our strategic and practitioner expertise in Shared Services and GBS ensures optimum approach and ongoing performance, helping to drive positive stakeholder and customer experience whilst managing costs.

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