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Taking people with you

by David Poole | 2 mins read

GBS has bold ambitions for digital transformation but organizations are missing a trick if they don’t take a people-centric approach. Cognition’s Exec Chairman David Poole writes from SSOW in Lisbon.

Shared services are nothing new. The model has been driving more efficient business support for more than 40 years, firstly in the US and then globally.

Although initially focused on cost optimization, shared service organizations (SSOs) have expanded over the years to include productivity and value add on. However, as enterprises stretch across the planet, thanks in part to rapidly expanding technology solutions, the demand for new types of shared services has increased even further.

Importantly, these Global Business Services (GBS) can offer a comprehensive suite of services that helps companies to streamline their operations, improve efficiencies and better serve their customers - wherever they are in the world. In today’s global business environment, this is an invaluable asset, helping to reduce costs and drive further business efficiencies.

According to a recent SSON Research and Analytics report, The State of Global Business Services in 2023 and Beyond, 61% of companies surveyed are committed to GBS with technology a key driver of the strategy. And more than 80% of respondents considered digital technology integration of significant (ie high or critical) importance for the service delivery strategy.

Emerging technologies implemented in GBS/SSO include Robotic Process Automation (79%), ServiceNow Workflow integration (52%), Cloud Computing (49%) and chatbots (46%).

 Helping improve pharma efficiency

Speaking at the 23rd European Shared Services and Outsourcing Week in Lisbon this week, we talked about how we are helping pharmacovigilance company Qinecsa connect life science companies to the right drug safety solutions.

For the last 9 months Cognition has been working with Qinecsa to explore and embed new technology within their ecosystem. In turn, this can enable them to do some amazing things, leapfrogging the competition and leading the drug safety sector. In a society that is becoming increasingly dependent on drugs as we all live longer, being able to test drugs as quickly and as effectively as possible has never been so important.

Once we’ve established a data-driven business case for change, we are able to implement those changes and, using KYP AI, we have the ability to monitor any improvements and changes so that we can implement solutions and accurately measure impact. So far using embedded AI solutions we have generated savings of $500,000 for Qinesca.

People-centric approach

However, while technology is obviously a key driver of GBS and digital transformation more broadly, value realisation can only truly be successful if you take a people-centric approach.

This means putting employees at the heart of the digital transformation journey, redesigning the employee and customer experience, embedding a growth mindset and investing in change management. Only then will automation be seen as an opportunity to be embraced and not a threat to be feared.

Indeed, improving the in-house customer experience (CX) is becoming critical for GBS/SSO, as is improving the employee experience (EX), according to the EY-sponsored The State of Global Business Services in 2023 and Beyond report.

"With talent in short supply, and wage escalation not a sustainable strategy, organizations are recognizing that providing a positive experience in the workplace is critical to retaining staff, ensuring they enjoy their work, and that that positive vibe is passed on to customers. Experience is also critical to consistently sustaining savings over time,” the report states.

According to its research, 61% of companies surveyed consider enhancing employee experience as critical for their GBS/SSO strategy ‘to a great extent’ while 27% consider it critical ‘to a moderate extent’.

Says EY leader, Maria Saggese, EY Global & EMEIA GBS Leader: “EX and CX are becoming more and more prominent in GBS strategy – firstly, from a talent attraction and retention perspective; and secondly, as the scope of GBS and the roles within GBS evolve.”

We completely agree. If we want GBS to succeed then people, not machines, need to be at the very heart of the transformation.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your business increase profits with technology solutions designed and delivered to unlock efficiency, spark growth and maximise the potential of your people.