Like the iPhone, RPA does not look much different in all these years.

Six Dead-or-Alive Questions

Gavin Ifield
Gavin Ifield
VP & Head of GBS, AECOM
Gavin is a global finance and shared services leader with over 20 years of experience in organizations like LafargeHolcim and AECOM. He is currently responsible for developing the strategic roadmap for the GBS of AECOM as their VP & Head of GBS.
Caroline Basyn
Sashi Narahari
Founder and CEO
Founder & CEO of HighRadius, a fintech enterprise SaaS leader that provides Autonomous Software for Order to Cash, Treasury & Record to Report. Sashi’s leadership has secured the trust of 200+ Global 2000 companies.

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Dead-or-Alive Question #1: In 10 years, do you think BPOs for outsourcing will be dead or alive?
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Answer First: Alive
  • In the last ten years, there has been much hype around eliminating key fundamentals of GBS organizations.
  • However, BPOs share specific expertise unmet in an organization’s core capability.
  • BPOs can bring tremendous governance and frameworks which aren’t usually possible for internal organizations.
  • It ultimately helps companies minimize their imperfections and helps deliver the speed to value ratio.
  • BPOs need to evolve with time, and they need to adapt as the needs of individual businesses change.
  • Dead-or-Alive Question #2: In 10 years, will large, centralized service centers be dead or alive? Especially given the Covid effect of Work From Anywhere?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • Big central locations promote collaboration to a very large extent because of energy, the environment, and the community.
    • Large locations expose employees to culture and alternative ideas from the environment.
    • Centralized locations help build that goodwill and relationship between stakeholders and GBS organizations.
    • Because of COVID, there have been many challenges, but they’ll change with time and be more balanced.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #3: In the next 10 years, do you think RPA in the current form ‘AS IS screen flow automation’ will be dead or alive?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • RPA brings a lot of hope and excitement from an operational standpoint.
    • It enables the personal development of employees beyond mere transactional processing.
    • It is considered an essential tool in the toolbox of an organization.
    • However, RPA is not necessarily the only tool in the toolbox.
    • The iPhone analogy:
      • iPhone technology has evolved over the years.
      • However, the older version works fine even today.
      • In a period, some might start getting used to it.
      • Meanwhile, others might start enjoying it and doing innovative things using it.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #4: What are your thoughts on AI in GBS. In 10 years, will AI be dead or alive?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • AI in GBS is going to be more alive than ever.
    • And indeed, it is something we’ll look at as we mature and go into the future.
    • AI in AECOM:
      • At AECOM, we have been lucky enough to have a few talented people.
      • And we want to continue investing in AI for better chances of success in the future.
      • It is the most excellent chance of success for us to take the next step beyond just traditional intelligence automation.
    • AI is still considered an untapped area in the GBS space.
    • So, many organizations will be bringing AI to this space in the next ten years.
    • Things like big data, digital transformation, and AI will be playing critical parts in the GBS space.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #5: In 10 years, given the consistent wage inflation, will India be a top choice for service centers?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • Centers like India, the Philippines, and Romania would emerge as top choices for service centers.
    • Companies have now gone beyond labor arbitrage in these best-cost locations.
    • Experts and Industries push the demand, which has thus put pressure and caused inflation.
    • It is essential to de-commoditize that industry and stabilize inflation.
    • India thus would be able to make and maintain its mark in providing the best cost locations encouraging more investments to be made.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #6: Would GBS be dead or alive as an organization?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • It would be a crucial stage for GBS maturity.
    • It is time for organizations to go beyond standardization.
    • Customers and technology are becoming more sophisticated and demand personalization in the long run.
    • Things such as cybersecurity and information have to be at the forefront of a GBS organization in the future.
    • Some organizations would then be thinking about centralization, while others would be leading some core components.

    Gavin’s advice to you: What’s your advice to other GBS leaders? What’s most important for them to keep their eyes on for success?
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    Key Points
    • It is crucial to align the GBS objectives with the organization and its goals.
    • Focus on value creation and allow investments in fundamentals.
    • Leaders in the domain should actively increase their networking and leverage knowledge.
    • Ultimately one should learn from the experience of other pioneers in the market space.

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