As companies look to future-proof their business in an age of fast-evolving digital transformation and rising customer expectations, the maturity of a Global Business Services (GBS) delivery model has been an important goal for those searching for efficient and sustainable growth. The GBS model abandons functional silos and moves towards a multifunctional, collaborative approach to deliver enterprise- level services such as procurement, human resources, finance and accounting, and information technology (IT).
In today’s era of digital transformation and customer-centricity, global marketplace competition and disruptors are everywhere. As a result, outsourcing and shared service centers have had to evolve into a mature GBS model that high-performing companies can use to move to the next level of holistic functioning. By doing so, they can improve the customer experience and develop a single and consistent approach to providing internal customer services.
In fact, integrated multi-channel, multi-function business services delivery models are fast becoming the norm among enterprises. According to the 2017 State of Outsourcing and Operations HfS/KPMG study, there is a drive toward full Global Business Services and a move away from decentralized models. For example, 11% of organizations are already operating under a GBS structure, while 20% are moving in that direction with a global shared services/outsourcing model. Only 16% of organizations are functioning under a fully decentralized structure.
However, while organizations are beginning to reap the benefits of pulling more functions and geographies into a Global Business Services delivery model, they continue to struggle to effectively manage, or govern, all the different channels and functional silos with the same level of integration. And in such a complicated delivery environment, this ineffective management threatens achievement of sustainable business outcomes and does not help improve the customer experience.
The Elusive Services Struggle to Improve Customer Experience
There are two main reasons companies struggle to improve the customer experience with their current services model: For one thing, most enterprises have a complex environment of business units, delivery models, enabling technologies, systems, and governance methodologies. This lack of a holistic view of the customer can leave organizations ill-equipped to handle the rising expectations for a seamless, integrated customer experience that exist in today’s as-a-service economy. The right solution, which would address the expectations, service needs and information requirements of multiple stakeholders; business customers and services service consumers in a customer-centric manner, has remained elusive.
That’s where Enterprise Services Management (ESM) began to emerge as a framework for the GBS organizations services management market. It builds on and is rooted in the principles of IT service management. It’s meant to counter the inherent inefficiencies of each independent business service function, enabling improved value, increased agility, better customer engagement and sustainable business performance.
ESM offers foundation for improved GBS
Organizations typically begin their GBS journey with a subset of traditional back-office functions: finance and accounting, HR, IT, and procurement. As the GBS group becomes more mature, and delivers better services less expensively and with improved quality, additional services will be included in the scope, including real estate, marketing, research and development, design, legal, and industry specific areas.
Some GBS organizations are just getting started with common frameworks. Others are more advanced, focusing on developing management systems to improve governance. For example, an organization at the beginning of its GBS transformation might have finance operating on a number of different platforms with different process taxonomies. And HR may have one platform in the United States, but a different one in Europe.
These are fragmented services experiences and, literally, all over the map. In addition, there is outsourcing and offshoring to third-party service providers. But at the other end of the spectrum, the most mature GBS organizations integrate seamlessly end-to-end, across processes and channels, to deliver enhanced, outcome-based solutions that allow sustainability, flexibility and growth.
Enabling capabilities of ESM
Essentially, ESM is a formal operating model under which corporate services are designed, sourced, requested, delivered, and managed within a common framework. ESM transcends the typical functional boundaries and silos inside an enterprise, enabling the desired business outcome through end-to-end process delivery. It eliminates duplicate and disparate service management capabilities, and strives to ensure that GBS consumers experience a consistent, constructive service experience. Successful ESM execution results in high service quality and fast service delivery outcomes, at a lower cost and with greater effectiveness.
As GBS organizations move toward higher maturity levels, the focus shifts from efficiently governing a single or multiple disparate delivery channels to effectively governing services and solutions integration to drive increasing value to the business. Given that the complexity and cross-functional integration begs for a better sense of order, ESM must be instituted as a foundational element of GBS governance.
Four examples of ESM by leading organizations
There are numerous examples of the enabling capabilities of ESM being leveraged by leading organizations:
1. Streamlined processes to enhance customer experience: A multinational pharmaceutical company had an “aha” moment when it discovered that ESM capabilities could eliminate its multiple request intake processes, help desks/case management systems, and workflow engines. The benefits extend far beyond efficiency; they enhance the customer experience.
2. Enterprise-wide business process management: A multinational consumer products company began its ESM journey by having its GBS organization manage standard, enterprise-wide service level and performance reporting. In its current stage, day-to-day business process management and business process ownership still sit within the individual functions. However, it established an organization-wide capability for enterprise business process management to ensure that function approaches process improvement in the same way. The GBS organization also established a common framework and decision model to make service delivery decisions, i.e., insource, outsource, or offshore, for all the functions.
3. Management framework on top of back office functions: Another example of using ESM to deliver a consistent, enhanced customer experience is a media conglomerate that has established a management framework systems layer on top of its back office functions, including HR, IT, and facilities. This external manifestation of this layer is a self-service portal.
4. Improved new employee onboarding: When a new employee is hired, the business’s desired outcome is for that individual to become productive as quickly as possible. But in most enterprises today, the underlying on-boarding process is complex, multi-faceted, and managed by different functional groups in the enterprise. You can use ESM principles, workflows, and enabling technologies to simplify the process while still maintaining the process discipline. For example, instead of calling three or four different business service functions to initiate their portion of the overall process, an individual can make a single request through a service catalog. The process and underlying technology can coordinate the interdependencies between the different business functions, and report on the status of the request at any point in time.
ESM can enable GBS maturation to serve the needs of customers
Organizations looking to provide improved customer service, better compete in the marketplace, address disruptive technologies and better deliver on business outcomes expected by consumers of services have to figure out how to achieve greater GBS maturity. Many, though, become stuck in the middle of their GBS maturation journey due to their inability to integrate the myriad function-based services and delivery channels in a holistic manner. But they can achieve a far better result by looking to ESM as an enabler of GBS’s ability to progress, deliver the business outcomes that drove its establishment, and seamlessly serve the needs of its customers.