Is GBS really going to be DEAD (despite the hype)?

Six Dead-or-Alive Questions

Maciej Piwowarczyk
Maciej Piwowarczyk
exGlobal VP, GBS for Discovery
Maciej Piwowarczyk is a business leader with 20+ years of experience. He has worked with some reputed organizations like HP, Accenture, CBRE and Discovery where he led GBS globally – transforming it heavily. Today he is acting as an Independent GBS Advisor and Career Coach.
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 800+ clients across 92+ countries, with 250+ Fortune 1000 clients including GE, PepsiCo, Bayer, P&G, Unilever, J&J, and UBER.

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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
  • BPOs would be dead in their current form and need to transform.
  • Ten years down the line, BPOs would become client technology enablers and a partner.
  • BPOs should have operations integrated with the delivery system.
  • The future model should help deliver value.
  • They need to scrape out the back-office tasks, focus on shaping the talent pool available and drop the politics involved in the workflow.
  • In the long run, it should try to become agile and customer-centric.
  • Both the sides, BPO and the Buyers, need a significant step up to achieve the desired goal.
  • 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: Dead
    • The operations from home were the need of the hour, but optimal output could not be derived.
    • In my view, the Hybrid Model is the optimal solution for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.
    • A place to collaborate is essential for meeting operational efficiency and fostering innovation.
    • What does the Hybrid Model look like-
      • Three days of work from home.
      • Two days of work from the office.
    • But currently, even the hybrid models are broken, which can be elaborated because of 2 reasons:
      • Offices in the current form cannot provide the environment for true collaboration.
      • Even when people are at the office, they spend time replying to emails or joining meetings that undermine the purpose of innovation, brainstorming, and having face-to-face interactions when present at the office.
    • Although the large service centers won’t be there in the future, the essence of their presence would continue to create impact while collaborating globally.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #3: In the next ten 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: Dead
    • RPA has never been really ‘Alive’ for real.
    • Back in 2015-16, Maciej wrote one of the first articles in Polish media about RPA – Describing it as a macro on steroids.
    • Maciej wrote Its problems are workaround where a system solution fails, or system upgrade is too expensive.
    • The potential of RPA to revolutionize the industry is skeptical.
    • Even today, RPA has automated many processes, but its adoption in terms of scale and favorable returns on investments seems minimal.
    • Moreover, it replicates RTA (Robotic Task Automation) rather than acting as RPA.
    • The reasons for this shortcoming are:
      • Processes are still not fully standardized.
      • Data integrity remains an unresolved issue.
      • BPOs still function on obsolete dealing methods rather than leading the way towards a new approach.
    • Ten years down the line, RPA would remain critical from the education standpoint but not hold any disruptive technology.
    • HighRadius, as an example:
      • It has established itself as a niche company with a tool specialized in automation.
      • That is easily Plug ‘n’ Play and offers a business case that delivers results.
      • It has established its position in the business arena and is set to disrupt the space of automation in the next ten years.

    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
    • The next step following RPA is AI.
    • AI is a holistic approach to the solution. It is a key enabler in the delivery ecosystem with a precise area of specialization.
    • It has more unknown as compared to the known potential for our industry.
    • For this reason, it is the best tool to be tested in GBS and Shared Services to get the desired output.
    • AI is the moon that businesses would like to achieve in the long run. But currently, we need to get the basics right to do so.
    • The right technology and investment strategy can help predict growth with AI.
    • Examples: Cloud-based ERP systems and possible re-organization so that you as a GBS Leader :
      • Can see and fix the full spectrum of the data end-to-end.
      • And be able to analyze & action the data as our customers see it.

    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
    • From earlier days of dealing with India, I am impressed with the work ethics, attitude, diversified culture, and remarkable ability to adapt to the situation.
    • India is a great inspiration for work and has a huge potential in terms of scale, talent, and experience.
    • The world in ten years will be 75% + led by Technology, and it will be very much about the outcome, solution mindset, quick learning & adaptability skills.
    • I do not doubt that India Talent can and will evolve to maintain its position as a critical destination – smaller with scale but making a more significant impact than today.
    • Cost is, Cost was, and Cost will be a major factor in growing our business.
    • We can see it now in a post covid world which puts many companies in a very cost-pressure environment.
    • Thus, Indian leaders must fix it to be alive in 10 years.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #6: Would GBS be dead or alive as an organization?
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    Answer First: Dead
    • GBS needs to die and be reborn to survive.
    • Why is that?
      • The game of labor arbitrage is almost over.
      • GBS organizations are getting too complex.
      • People don’t want to do transactional work.
      • Technology adoption has failed in the last decade.
    • GBS should be imagined as a tech-enabled service that should balance the outcome of true technology and the organization’s operating model.
    • 50% of the operations in an organization should be working on the model of mass-led automation, and GBS leaders have a new role.
    • They are true technology experts and can lead centers of excellence, innovation centers that can act as collaboration spaces for data scientists and engineers.
    • GBS leaders can act as an extension of function and charismatic enablers connecting dots in the process and the shadow of an expert compared to taking the front seat.
    • In the future, we should focus more on improvising technology to make it customer-friendly and spend less time on people and stakeholder management, which is the case currently.

    Maciej Piwowarczyk’s advice to you and thoughts on what’s happening in Ukrains: You’re in Poland and probably seeing what’s happening in Ukraine. So, what do you leaders think globally?
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    Key Points
    • We need to be careful where we get our news and validate it against reality.
    • Draw out political correctness and speak the truth.
    • We all should support the best we can with donations, plus we must keep pushing our local/country authorities to do the right thing.
    • It’s only then that we will win, I have no doubt, and we will become stronger & better as a Global Society of Human Beings.

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