What are Global Business Services (GBS)?

Global Business Services (GBS) is an organisational model designed to deliver end-to-end enterprise services within a single consolidated structure.

Expectations have never been higher for enterprises to boost competitive advantage and drive agility. To achieve these goals, organisations must deploy service models that continually improve operational efficiencies while transforming employee and customer experiences. Organisations that have successfully put the Global Business Services (GBS) model to work have done so with the intention of driving scaled, cost-efficient delivery, while also focusing on improving service quality and governance across the enterprise. They have achieved this by bringing together traditionally separate, siloed internal operational service functions into a single corporate support organisation.

Organisations that seek to drive efficiencies through GBS strive to benefit from the following outcomes:

Connect end-to-end processes while reducing costs

To establish a foundation for cross-departmental process standardisation, automation and operating efficiencies, organisations must eliminate silos and drive greater end-to-end alignment. Connecting processes using automation and integrations to back-end systems of record allow GBS agents and business function specialists to resolve requests faster and more effectively, freeing up their capacity to focus on higher-value work.

Provide unified employee service experiences

Eliminating silos and connecting processes sets the path toward unified employee service experiences in an organisation. This transformation allows you to present a singular GBS face to the enterprise that is accessible through interfaces like portal, mobile, chatbots and collaboration tools. These omnichannel services enable employees to get questions answered quickly in a channel of their choice, ensuring your enterprise can proactively address employee concerns with intelligent recommendations and targeted content across channels.

Deliver shared visibility across all service cases

In addition to connecting end-to-end process and delivering unified employee service experiences, a critical enabler of GBS transformation is shared, cross-departmental visibility. This allows teams to work smarter, identifying holistic continuous improvement opportunity. With on demand insights across GBS, including HR, finance, legal, facilities, procurement, and corporate services, you can reduce operational cost and deliver higher service quality to the enterprise.

Gain agility and ease of continuous improvement

Having already implemented the other foundational GBS steps, your organisation is now in a position to create its own employee experiences and facilitate exciting cross departmental innovations — all thanks to low-code application development editors and citizen experience builders. Your GBS organisation can build new case management applications across portal, mobile and chatbots or extend existing ones from the same platform. The GBS team can also:

  • Scale back-office operations to achieve better business outcomes.
  • Create employee-centric experiences that bring together services and information across the enterprise.
  • Connect systems and departments
  • Extend service delivery to new use cases

Some of the qualities GBS-focused organisations share include:

  • Global or regional coverage

  • Consolidating to fewer, lower cost centres of delivery

  • Pooled resource models

  • Standardised process and service delivery methodology
  • Accountability for operational performance outcomes

There’s not a “one-size-fits-all” GBS model. However, there are some common strategic steps you can take to successfully deploy GBS in your organisation, regardless of scale or complexity.

Approach GBS in phases

The key to successfully implementing GBS in your enterprise is to take a phased approach. Access your digital capability gap and prioritise where you focus your efforts based on resources and value return. It’s fundamental that the organisation’s stakeholders shift from a discreet process mindset into a global service delivery mindset. The first step is typically to consolidate regional service hubs into a global shared services framework, building to full end-to-end business process and unified experience delivery, with strong governance underpinning.

Build the right GBS team

Investing in the right GBS talent is critical. As you evaluate your existing talent landscape and build a GBS talent strategy, consider key roles (such as a Head of GBS) along with skills and capabilities that will be most critical to your organisation’s success.

Empower your GBS team to find process issues and implement improvements

Most organisations are structured to focus on work within a single workflow or department. Identifying bottlenecks and implementing improvements both within a silo and across departments should be an essential part of your GBS team’s charter.

People often ask how Global Business Services (GBS) differs from Shared Services. GBS is an evolution of the Shared Services model.

Traditionally, the Shared Services support model provides services across countries or geographies within a single functional department, whereas the evolved GBS model brings together these functional shared services into a single organisation structure that extends the capabilities of an organisation with the aim to drive further optimisation.

Most larger organisations have implemented Shared Services for their main support services (e.g. IT, HR) in order to save cost and improve performance by sharing resources and standardising processes across countries, regions or geographies.

Where there is sufficient size and scale, some organisations establish Global Business Services (GBS) delivery organisations to centralise large numbers of services and optimise the resource, supplier and technology needs.


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