Taking Global Business Services to the Next Level

For those who have not read my previous post, “Moving from Shared Services to Global Business Services,” let me provide a quick summary. Shared Services (SS) is an operating model that has been around for decades. It enables function-specific resources (i.e., HR, IT, Finance, etc.) to be leveraged across an entire organization, resulting in lower costs with agreed-upon customer-service levels. Around the time of the 2008/2009 recession, greater demands were placed on the SS operating model and what evolved was Global Business Services (GBS). The GBS operating model offers better efficiency, wider geographic reach, and broader scope coverage, to handle greater regulatory scrutiny for the same or even lower costs. However, there are some obstacles to overcome to ensure the full value of the GBS operating model is achieved… which is the focus of this post.

State of GBS

Multiple surveys and commentary have been published indicating the widespread and increasing trend of companies moving from SS to the GBS operating model. An annual survey by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), one of the largest communities of shared services and outsourcing professionals, stated that nearly 70% of the respondents operate as a GBS or multi-function model. Although GBS adoption continues, we have also heard of examples of GBS initiatives not delivering the “promised” return on investment (ROI). In the first year, most initiatives seem to deliver a respectable 7-10% ROI, but what is concerning is that according to Genpact, a global leader in business process management and technology services, “as many as one-third of all such transitions fail to ever achieve anticipated cost savings.” Unfortunately, from my network of peers in this space, I personally know of examples where this has occurred. There are several reasons for this occurrence, so let’s discuss a few of the major ones.

ROI Shortfall

Fundamentally, there are a few main reasons why a GBS transformation may fall short:

1. Aligned Strategy and Governance – Many companies do not take the time to have ALL key stakeholders agree to an overall GBS strategy and governance upfront. Executive commitment is key.

2. Direct Linkage to Desired Business Outcomes – Misalignment between GBS Leaders and Business Clients on priorities, and/or not being able to adjust quickly as market conditions change. Alignment to client priorities is key.

3. End-to-End Scope Coverage – Only portions of an “end to end” process like Order to Cash are moved into GBS, without accountability (or a voice) to influence the balance of the “end to end” process not moved into GBS. “End to End” process accountability is key.

There are a myriad of other operational, process and technological constraints that impact success. Some of those areas include limited technology investment, an unclear talent management and acquisition strategy, under-resourced service and client management capabilities, to name a few.

Improvement Areas

So, what can you do to ensure that your GBS is positioned to get to the next level? As with most any enterprise transformations, it is critical to have executive commitment prior to moving forward. However, for a successful GBS transformation it is even more critical to have the CEO/COO and all the business and functional executives onboard, due to the potential enterprise impact. Obviously, there may be situations where select businesses or functions may be deferred (or even excluded) due to business model conflicts, but these need to be managed carefully so as to not encourage others to “opt-out.” Other improvement areas include:

1. Strategy – Alignment upfront and on an ongoing basis between GBS and Business Clients is critically important to creating value. If that is done, GBS is off to a good start. Some key strategy elements to “hash out” include short/medium term vision, value proposition, roles and responsibilities, decision rights, and governance structure.

2. Governance – Many companies prefer to not have a separate governance structure for GBS, but rather to add the responsibility to an existing structure. I think that is a mistake in the beginning because it is critical to get this right at the outset. Good governance establishes a clear mandate for GBS, removes board members from operational issues, and develops a separate “client voice” when business complexity requires doing so. In addition, as the GBS/Client relationship matures the concept of an enterprise process owners board could be considered, to help drive even larger areas of business value.

3. Scope – The discussion of scope is a topic that i

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Work for Yourself With a Business Service Franchise

More Americans than ever before are starting up a business of their own, making a real difference to the state of the nation at a local and a national level. However all too often, even with the best intentions and the best work ethic, insurmountable challenges can be faced. One option which offers the freedom of running your own business, with the support of a network, is a business service franchise.

There are a great many reasons as to why this is such a great option for entrepreneurs in the country. As economic strength returns to the US and greater confidence is found by organizations in the country, they will require professional services. Operating in a local area, a franchised company can often provide a more bespoke service and faster turnaround.

One such business sector that is well positioned to help local economies pick up is in digital printing. With local companies starting to require all manner of stationery and other printed materials, entrepreneurs have a great opportunity to stake a claim in the sector.

A successful local print shop can quickly become an integral part of the local business community, but it is essential that the service provided is of a high standard. It is for this reason that setting up a franchised store makes such great sense.

Providing printing as a business service, a franchise has the immediate and constant support of a recognized brand. This allows other companies in the area to immediately trust the product and the experience they receive. With a reputable franchisor, the training should allow for knowledge to be acquired and put into practice quickly and effectively.

Moreover, working with a strong nationally recognized franchisor allows a valuable support network to be drawn upon. This network can extend across the state, the country and even across the globe. It all means that experience can be shared and mistakes collectively learned from and mitigated. Put simply, it makes for a stronger business model than regular start-ups.

This greater strength by working to a proven business model also ensures that getting initial and ongoing finance is easier. Banks and other lenders will always favor those new businesses that they feel have an enhanced chance of success, and a business service franchise offers this. With a high success rate throughout America, securing lending at preferential rates is a very real possibility.

Despite all the benefits though, the success of such a printing business still relies on one thing above all else, and that is the determination of the individual. Great training and advice, the latest equipment and materials and the very best information can only take you so far. Effort and a strong ethic are what actually carry the business from day to day.

If the right attitude is forthcoming, it is possible to provide the very best service whether designing and printing posters and banners, setting out and printing catalogs and brochures or creating business cards. With so many advertising and marketing needs, as well as daily operational materials, a print shop business service franchise really could be a success story for anyone wanting to take control of their own life and career.

Mark writes for Minuteman Press, the world leader in print franchises and design fr

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