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Home » Articles » Defining, exploring, and implementing global business services

Defining, exploring, and implementing global business services

Defining, exploring, and implementing global business services

Today’s interconnected and fast-paced business environment demands that companies stay competitive and agile. To keep up, many turn to Global Business Services (GBS).

GBS represents a strategic approach that consolidates and optimizes core business functions such as finance, HR, IT, and procurement on a global scale.

Global business services are defined by their ability to coordinate and centralize key functions across international borders. They offer a wide array of benefits, from cost efficiency to access to a diverse talent pool.

With the globalization of business operations becoming the norm rather than the exception, companies must understand and effectively implement GBS to stay ahead. 

This article gives a brief overview of global business services and how your company can access them, providing valuable insights for those seeking to thrive in the modern marketplace. 

What are global business services?

Global business services refer to a comprehensive and integrated approach to delivering various business functions and services on a global scale. Consolidating key functions like finance, HR, and IT into a unified framework streamlines operations within a company. 

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What are global business services
What are global business services?

The aim of global business services is to improve efficiency and achieve cost savings while maintaining high standards of quality and service delivery. 

It enables organizations to capitalize on global talent and adapt swiftly to industry changes on a worldwide scale. 

Common functions of global business services include the following: 

  • Finance and accounting
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Procurement and supply chain management
  • Customer service and support
  • Data analytics and business intelligence 
  • Shared administrative services

Key components of global business services

Global business services are composed of several key components that work together to optimize business functions across an organization. 

These components include:

Shared services 

This involves consolidating and centralizing routine and transactional activities, such as payroll, accounts payable, and customer support, into a single shared service center. 

This approach reduces redundancy and lowers costs.

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Outsourcing 

Outsourcing engages third-party providers to handle specific business processes or services, such as IT support, legal services, or manufacturing. 

Outsourcing can provide access to specialized skills and allow companies to focus on their core competencies.

Centers of Excellence (CoE) 

These are specialized units within the organization that focus on developing and maintaining expertise in particular areas, such as:

  • Data analytics
  • Digital transformation
  • Regulatory compliance

CoEs drive innovation and best practices across the enterprise.

Business Process Management (BPM) 

This involves the systematic approach to making an organization’s workflow more effective and efficient. As part of global business services, BPM aims to optimize and improve processes through continuous monitoring, analysis, and improvement initiatives.

5 advantages of global business services

Global business services offer numerous advantages that can significantly enhance an organization’s operational efficiency and strategic capabilities. 

Here are some of its key benefits:

1. Improved efficiency 

One of the primary advantages of global business services is improved efficiency and cost reduction. Centralizing functional support services within a shared center can reduce duplication of effort, eliminate redundancy, and permit process optimization. 

Improved efficiency 
5 advantages of global business services

2. Consistent service quality 

A central GBS team can provide consistent service quality across the organization. 

Shared functional services enable a globally consistent approach, which ensures that all employees receive equal service levels, regardless of their location or business unit. 

Standardized processes also facilitate better compliance with industry standards and regulations.

3. Enhanced risk management

A global business services model offers enhanced risk management capabilities by improving visibility, ownership, and control. 

By centralizing functions, organizations can gain better management control over their activities, making it easier to identify risks and act proactively to mitigate them. 

It also enables better monitoring of risks, ensuring data security, legal compliance, and operational safety.

4. Opportunity for innovation

GBS fosters a culture of continuous improvement by leveraging centers of excellence and best practices across the organization.

This approach encourages innovation, as teams are constantly seeking ways to enhance processes, adopt new technologies, and implement more efficient methods. 

Many GBS companies are also quick to adopt new technologies like AI and RPA

5. Better customer experience 

GBS improves customer experience by providing consistent and high-quality services. Centralized customer service functions ensure that customer inquiries and issues are handled efficiently and effectively, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Streamlined processes and improved service delivery contribute to a positive overall customer experience.

Strategies for implementing successful global business services 

Implementing successful global business services requires a well-planned strategy that ensures smooth integration and maximizes the benefits of centralization. 

Here are some tips for successful GBS implementation:

Develop a clear strategy

Begin by defining a clear strategy for your global business services initiative. This should align with your organization’s overall business objectives and outline the scope, goals, and expected outcomes of the GBS model.

Establish strong governance 

Effective governance and leadership are key to GBS’s success. Establishing a governance framework with clear roles, responsibilities, and accountability ensures the GBS initiative is well-managed and aligned with business goals.

Strong leadership is needed to champion the initiative, address challenges, and maintain momentum.

Ensure stakeholder engagement

Engage key internal stakeholders from across the organization early in the process, including:

  • Business unit leaders
  • Functional heads
  • Regional managers

Their input will be crucial in defining the services to be centralized and securing buy-in for the GBS initiative.

Choose the right model

Determine the most suitable service delivery model for your organization. It may be fully captive shared services, hybrid shared services, outsourcing, or a combination of these. 

When making this decision, consider factors such as cost, control, scalability, and the organization’s core competencies.

Standardize processes and policies

Standardize processes and policies across functions and geographies to ensure consistency and efficiency. 

This may involve streamlining and optimizing workflows, establishing common service level agreements (SLAs), and implementing best practices.

Build a robust technology infrastructure

Technology plays a vital role in the success of GBS. Investing in a robust IT infrastructure that supports process automation, data analytics, and seamless communication is essential. 

This includes implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and other tools that facilitate efficient operations and data management.

Build a robust technology infrastructure
Strategies for implementing successful global business services 

Develop talent and skills 

Focus on developing the talent and skills required to support global business services. Establish comprehensive training and development programs to upskill employees, address knowledge gaps, and ensure a smooth transition to the GBS model. 

Continuous learning opportunities should also be provided to keep staff updated on best practices and new technologies.

Manage change effectively 

Implementing GBS involves significant changes to processes, roles, and organizational structures. A comprehensive change management strategy is necessary to manage the transition effectively. 

Identify potential resistance, address concerns, and provide support to employees throughout the change process. Change management initiatives should focus on building a culture that embraces change and continuous improvement.

Leverage best practices 

Learning from other organizations that have successfully implemented global business services can provide valuable insights and best practices. 

Benchmarking against industry standards and incorporating lessons learned from past experiences can help avoid common pitfalls and enhance the effectiveness of the GBS initiative.

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

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