Turning the Corner on Digital Transformation with GBS
The COVID-19 pandemic made an already challenging marketplace even more complicated, forcing businesses to seek out value in every corner of their operations—including in their extended networks. As a result, Global Business Service (GBS) organizations are increasingly investing in new capabilities, demonstrating to parent organizations their ability to improve business outcomes as a true strategic partner.
To thrive in this uncertainty, GBS organizations should prioritize technology investments for several reasons: they boost collaboration, fuel innovation and help generate tangible value. Digital transformation is only growing in importance, and GBS organizations that are already ahead of the curve have provided a roadmap detailing all that digital technologies have to offer.
The 2021 Deloitte Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey revealed that traditional objectives such as improving efficiencies and reducing costs remain top of mind for GBS leaders. GBS is also taking on more than ever before as they outline for themselves newer, more strategic objectives. According to the survey, GBS priorities are evolving, with the top five being rounded out by business value, the digital agenda and capabilities development.
Those incorporating this work into their daily operations are reaping the benefits not only for themselves but also their partners. Notably, the survey found that over 61% of GBS Organizations have defined acceleration of the digital agenda as one of their strategic priorities, underscoring the focus on digital investment and transformation, and 54% of these organizations have achieved their objectives.
There are many digital enablers already proving successful for GBS. Seventy-two percent of organizations have implemented robotic process automation (RPA)—the number one digital focus area for GBS—which is helping realize upwards of 40% in savings. Overall, more than half of GBS organizations have implemented RPA together with predictive reporting and process excellence.
These enablers, however, extend far past RPA; a majority of organizations, for example, are prioritizing single-instance ERP and cloud solutions and cited them among their most important capabilities. Other enablers include varying AI platforms for self-service, virtual assistance, and more, as well as case management solutions like ServiceNow and predictive and customer analytics. As GBS looks to capitalize on digital investments in both the short- and long-term, 44% plan to prioritize analytics within their operations in the coming years—the number one expected capability investment.
Any digital transformation journey is only as successful as the people involved, meaning GBS organizations looking to level up their operations must prioritize talent. According to the survey, GBS organizations are increasingly focusing on developing a culture of innovation and analytics to support a widespread digital mindset. Sixty-seven percent are building continuous improvement and innovation into talent programs, and a majority are leveraging contract and contingent workers to gain new expertise and skillsets as they expand capabilities, with others using gig workers as well.
As the pandemic offers “proof of concept” for technology-fueled ways of working, GBS organizations are pivoting rapidly to continue innovating their talent models to meet the growing needs of their operations.
Breaking Down Siloes to Succeed with Digital
The survey indicated several key obstacles to achieving digital outcomes, such as siloed processes or unorganized approaches to AI. Another key issue is technical complexity, which has highlighted the importance of having a skilled and engaged workforce.
Those who can navigate these challenges through open communication and collaboration organization-wide will be able to capitalize on the top three trends impacting GBS plans in the near-term—which all happen to be digitally focused: expanded work-from-home capabilities (87%), digital agenda acceleration (61%) and additional virtual practices (59%).
Moving Forward Post-Pandemic
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business. GBS organizations are leaning into digital transformation and already reaping the benefits. To succeed in the long-term and emerge as leaders in a post-pandemic market, GBS organizations must continue to use digital enablers to support their new, evolving strategic priorities.
Still, there is no one-size-fits-all approach given the vast possibilities with digital. Organizations moving forward should continually review and evaluate their priorities and investments to ensure they are pursuing the best possible pathways for their business.
For a more detailed review or discussion of the survey results, please visit Deloitte’s website and contact the report authors.