Large SSCs will become ZOMBIES in a decade: Oyin Oke of Huntsman

Six Dead-or-Alive Questions

Oyin Oke
Oyin Oke
Head of Global Business Services
Oyin Oke is a GBS leader with over 20+ years of experience. She has worked with major companies like Accenture, PwC and Deloitte. Currently she is the Head of GBS at Huntsman Corporation.
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: Dead
  • BPOs would be dead in their current form.
  • They would change from the labor-cost arbitrage perspective as we know them today.
  • They need to transform and evolve to stay alive in the long run.
  • Huntsman Corporation has set up its captives to compete for the same talent level as the BPOs.
  • The right amount of technology and upskilling partnerships with GBS and SS counterparts could help the BPOs stay in the game.
  • BPOs need to change their value proposition from a transaction operator to a true GBS/SS organization partner.
  • Over the years, investment in digital technology and consultancy services would be a key differentiator for the BPOs to stay alive.
  • 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: ZOMBIES
    • It would be a combination of both being dead and alive simultaneously.
    • There are some critical aspects of being in person and leveraging that in-person office feeling for personal and business reasons.
    • From the business perspective, it helps to build a culture between the associate and focus on team building, which gets limited if you are entirely remote.
    • Promoting the corporate culture and the right mindset happens best when done in person.
    • Nevertheless, COVID-19 has proved that working and getting successful can happen outside physical offices too.
      • Ex- The fresher graduates need to explore corporates in person; however, the flexibility factor would be an added benefit making the hybrid model an optimal solution.
      • But if you make a transactional person in the workflow completely remote, they might not be able to be in sync with the workplace culture or grab opportunities that could have been the case in person.

    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 would be dead in its current form.
    • It would be eaten up by the more prominent players in the market.
    • Key system integrators and ERP manufacturers such as SAP and Oracle are investing heavily in this space to have inbuilt automation.
    • They would be buying the smaller RPA providers and incorporating them in their tech stack flow from a low code/ no code perspective.
    • Huntsman Corporation created automation and advanced analytics team that is a 2 part delivery team:
      • The 1st objective is to train the citizens on a low code/ no code software platform: Alrich, Automation Anywhere..
      • The 2nd objective is to develop and build automation solutions to help solve some of the more complex manual processes.
    • Prioritization of “Process Standardization” over “Process Automation” is a crucial aspect.

    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
    • It would be alive.
    • Ten years later, RPA, Data automation would be there, existing as table stakes games. But the differentiation would be based on the AI application perspective.
    • Using natural language programming, machine learning, and predictive and prescriptive forecasting are the areas in which the companies would invest, giving them a competitive advantage.
    • Hence to prevent getting trapped on the curb, companies need to invest in these domains to be alive.

    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
    • It would still be alive.
    • In these geographic locations, we would see new country entries which would have built up their talent and infrastructure to take on high-value services.
    • The focus won’t be on the labor-cost arbitrage that concerned the stakeholders earlier.
    • The crucial question is how the mature geographic locations make themselves more competitive to new companies who would be new entries in investing in people, infrastructure, and talent.
    • The Philippines and Malaysia are the countries building captive and non-captive capabilities to compete in investment and talent, which will be a crucial differentiator.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #6: Would GBS be dead or alive as an organization?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • GBS would be alive.
    • GBS can stay alive as long as it continues to evolve.
    • GBS is an evolution of Shared Services, so if the evolution factor goes missing, it is dead.
    • The ability of GBS to adapt to change and create value for internal customers would help keep it going.
    • Building your organization as a brand of capacity building that can flex based on business functions other than the usual transactional and cost-saving problems would be the differentiator from a GBS perspective.

    Oyin Oke’s advice to you: Most of the workforce leaves colleges and they get recruited by companies like Accenture, PwC and you went from them to becoming a GBS leader. What is your career advice for peers both in consulting and management?
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    Key Points
    • It is essential to be aware, even if you know it all.
    • One should be prepared for the generally unpredictable changes and have a flexible approach to dealing with them.
    • The factor of flexibility and ability to change would make a person successful irrespective of the industry they work for.
    • GBS as a career option provides excellent scope for proactive solutions based on predictions and trends in the market.
    • Finally, the ability to combine cost optimization, process efficiency, and the captive building is a three prompt approach for success for any leader seeking to get desired results.

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