Boosting efficiency with global business services

  • IT Management
  • Solutions
  • 2023
  • Cara Herrick
January 05, 2023

Global business services: 3 co-workers gathered around a laptop screen

Executives have a difficult task ahead of them: innovating against a backdrop of global uncertainty. To minimize the possibility of disruption, they’re seeking business strategies that enable them to cut costs while pursuing ambitious projects at scale.

This might seem like more of a paradox than a balancing act. However, some executives are meeting their goals with global business services (GBS).

GBS is a next-generation operational and organizational model that connects end-to-end processes across the enterprise. It enables organizations to balance operational efficiency with employee and customer experiences—in other words, to grow without sacrificing agility or wasting resources.

Why global business services?

Shared services organizations comprise people, processes, and technology dedicated to a single business function. Each shared services group acts as a consultant for that part of the organization to deliver services at scale.

For example, HR shared services streamline, standardize, and deliver processes such as basic inquiry management, payroll, and employment verification at scale.

Some enterprises need to share cross-functional data, tools, and decisions more often than others. Those businesses might want to advance their shared services organizations into a GBS model.

GBS aligns multiple enterprise service domains, such as IT, human resources, workplace services, legal, and financial operations teams, under a single leader. This promotes end-to-end processes (e.g., employee onboarding), harnesses economies of scale, and delivers advanced capabilities such as enterprise insights, change management, and continuous improvement.

Using technology as the “connective tissue” between departments can seamlessly orchestrate work and tasks to help eliminate silos and drive efficiency, improvements, and frictionless experiences for end users. This frees workers to focus on innovation and customer-centric tasks, and it saves time and money. In short, GBS enables organizations to do more with less.

Approximately 80% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted a GBS model for their automatable tasks, such as general accounting and learning administration, according to McKinsey research. Organizations use the GBS model primarily to harmonize and optimize service delivery, adds a GBS on Now report.

Global business services (GBS) enables organizations to balance operational efficiency with employee and customer experiences—in other words, to grow without sacrificing agility or wasting resources.

Connecting the enterprise

GBS and shared services organizations are also leaning into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning to connect processes and improve workflows.

This creates more unified employee service experiences at a time when the employee experience is paramount. Smart tech makes it easy to provide employee-friendly services, such as chatbots for support tickets and centralized portals that serve customized insights based on what employees need.

For example, New Zealand-based dairy nutrition company Fonterra used ServiceNow to create more opportunities for employees to self-serve, freeing 14,000 hours annually. GBS agents at Fonterra can now resolve requests faster and more efficiently, which allows them to focus the bulk of their time and creativity on tough problems.

Another benefit of using a unified service delivery platform is better visibility across departments. When teams are able to access data and insights along an entire end-to-end process, it’s easier for them to identify and anticipate roadblocks and bottlenecks.

With democratized data accessible to GBS agents and executives alike, everyone can focus on delivering high-quality services and reducing operational costs.

How ServiceNow can help

At its core, GBS is about driving efficiency and value at scale. With a unified platform that enables organizations to orchestrate processes from start to finish, deliver exceptional service experiences, and unlock data-driven insights, employees and leaders can focus on what matters most: agility and innovation for the enterprise.

The Now Platform is perfectly positioned to enable shared services and GBS organizations to drive value. End-to-end automation enables businesses to create powerful cross-departmental workflows. Streamlined operations make it easy for employees to get work done without headaches.

Organizations can boost their employee experiences with browsing and search capabilities that unify disparate knowledge bases. Low-code workflow editors put employees in the driver’s seat, allowing them to build processes and experiences that fit their needs. Operational dashboards illuminate bottlenecks to provide suggestions for improvement.

Innovation and cost reduction don’t have to be at odds with each other. Optimizing shared services and GBS can help you build a strong digital foundation that sets the stage for the future without sacrificing time and resources in the present.

Find out more about the benefits of GBS.

© 2023 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


  • Digital transformation in healthcare for nurse retention: smiling nurses walking
    Boosting nurse retention through digital transformation in healthcare
    Digital transformation in healthcare is the key to nurse retention. Find out how it can free nurses to focus on their passion: caring for patients.
  • Knowledge 2023 takeaways: a group of women raising their hands
    4 takeaways from Knowledge 2023
    Knowledge 2023 united thousands of ServiceNow customers and colleagues at the first single global user conference in three years. Here are four key takeaways.
  • Artifacts of pride: 3 ServiceNow employees
    Showcasing artifacts of pride
    In honor of Pride Month, three ServiceNow employees share personal artifacts that have shaped their lives. Watch a video and get inspired.

Trends & Research

  • ESG technology: green surrounding a river, woman smiling, 2 government employees in conversation
    Cybersecurity and Risk
    Survey says ESG technology drives results
  • RPA: group of workers gathered around a conference table looking at a laptop
    AI and Automation
    Forrester report: ServiceNow debuts as a Strong Performer in RPA
  • Digital innovation: three workers looking at a computer monitor
    AI and Automation
    Survey says digital innovation is the way to navigate macro uncertainty