Are you ready for the future of shared services?

  Published : April 29, 2024
  Last Updated: May 14, 2024
Are you ready for the future of shared services


The world of global shared services has evolved rapidly in the last few years. Traditional methods of operation have had to adapt to virtual working and innovate relentlessly to navigate this transforming landscape.

While earlier models were based on parameters of cost-effectiveness and efficiency, next-generation shared services are more like business partners who improve customer experiences, enable rapid digital adoption and deliver more value.

Advancing technology, newer models of working, changing business needs and an uncertain economy are making shared service leaders take a new look at the way they operate. Yes, the future presents new opportunities but it also brings along with it newer challenges, and business leaders are looking for ways to scale up their business delivery model to meet the needs of the evolving corporate landscape.

Welcome to the new future of global shared services

As the world accelerates toward a new and exciting future, client expectations from shared services businesses continue to grow. There is an urgent demand for greater efficiency and improved service effectiveness. Most clients assume, if not expect, that GBS organizations will utilize automation to move things faster, eliminate roadblocks from unnecessary processes, and empower clients in new and meaningful ways.

What are the changes that GBS organizations can expect in the coming years? McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2030, more than 60% of all jobs – mostly in the accounting and administration areas – will be affected by automation1. This presents all GBS organizations with an excellent opportunity to capitalize on and thrive in the coming years.

Having said that, the journey ahead is not without challenges.

Yes, today a vast majority of organizations recognize the value of an agile, efficient and cost-effective back office. However, the numbers drop when it comes to the actual implementation. According to a Boston Consulting Group study, only 41% of companies surveyed believe that shared services create value2. Cost and efficiency remain a major concern, and many organizations are of the opinion that shared services do not always equate to quality service or better customer experience.

Forward-looking GBS organizations are quick on the uptake and are adopting new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to better handle the changing dynamics of the new business landscape.

What transformations can be expected from the GBS industry of tomorrow?

As digital adoption continues to accelerate, businesses are turning to GBS organizations to go beyond support functions and delve deeper into core areas to streamline processes and drive better customer experiences. Let’s take a quick look at some of the trends that will shape the GBS industry in the future.

  1. Provide experiences, not functions

The most successful GBS organizations will be those that cater to their customers’ exact needs, providing them with the service that they need. Rather than approaching the association as a project, they need to treat it as an ongoing user journey, providing improvements and key performance outcomes throughout the lifecycle – from designing, building and operating. Simply providing functional support might not always improve productivity and impact the bottom line.

  1. The power of technology

For a long time, automation has been a game changer for companies that have repetitive tasks that are standardized and rule-based. To drive even further change, businesses can move from robotic process automation (RPA) to intelligent automation technologies that can help them leapfrog over competition with just a few strategically made technological decisions.

Intelligent automation has the unique capability to learn and adapt as it processes information and automates. Workforce analytics is a key component of business success and has the potential to enhance productivity significantly. Smart GBS organizations will keep a range of tools ready to meet changes as they occur.

  1. Data analytics and insights

Data is the biggest resource available to GBS companies. Leaders are creating analytics hubs to collect and analyze vast amounts of data that flow past them every day. The intelligence gathered gives them the edge to understand specific trends, and innovate solutions and operations around those. By using prescriptive and predictive analytics, these leaders are improving time to market by making better, targeted decisions, faster.

  1. Agility to support expansion

Businesses are dynamic, and their support partners must be agile to evolve with them as they grow organically and through business acquisitions. GBS organizations recognize the need for flexible plug-and-play models that can expand in scope and scale, when required. From support functions, they can take on higher-value roles, such as compliance, financial planning and analysis, and even integrated operations across IT, finance, sales, and HR, among others.

  1. Reskilling a distributed workforce

With more employees preferring remote or hybrid models of working, GBS can continue to help companies meet their requirements of an agile workforce. Shared services leaders with an eye on the future can enable businesses to provide development opportunities and better career paths to their workforce, even remotely, thus motivating and upskilling their workforce irrespective of geographical location.

  1. Data security is a priority

As privacy laws become stricter and there is greater scrutiny on data governance, companies are being pressured into watching the quality and completeness of their data, as well as likely biases. The right GBS partner can become the center for organizations, becoming not just a custodian of their data, but also providing them with the tools to translate purpose into results.

  1. Focus on innovation

Considering shared services will be moving beyond its transactional role, it’s imperative that organizations invest in innovating new digital technologies that can enable them to fulfill the role of a strategic business partner for their clients. When the objectives of the two sides align, GBS will truly be equipped to provide solutions to high-performance functions.

What next?

The future looks exciting, with a promise of improved efficiency, greater customer experiences and significant cost savings on the horizon. There will be pain points, but it is crucial for shared services leaders to equip themselves with the right knowledge, skills and technology to devise a strategy that can help them on this transformative journey.

ProHance is a leader in the GBS and shared services space, and we are constantly innovating to create new technology that can empower our clients through improved workforce analytics, workforce management, productivity and business processes. Of the 370k licenses that we possess today, 117k are from GCCs alone.

At ProHance, our single-minded focus is on enhancing client experiences through the use of the latest technology and innovation. We work with them to create a tailored solution that provides accurate, real-time data when required. This allows them to make quick, insight-driven business decisions that can enhance productivity and positively impact their bottom line. Having said that, our data centers offer complete data privacy and adhere to all compliances put forth from time to time.

We understand that the business world is dynamic, and needs can fluctuate. Rather than opting for a rigid model, our plug-and-play model gives them the flexibility to expand and retract as per their need. Additionally, we also create opportunities for training, development and growth of employees, with a focus on business results.

Our hard work and dedication paid off, and we have recently been awarded the Technology of the Year Runner Up at #SSON Impact Award , Orlando, 2024. Being chosen among 15 exceptional innovators is a significant achievement. We understand that clients demand value beyond the traditional shared services model and we believe we are at the juncture where we can meet their requirements.

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