Vision for GBS in the Next Decade

Six Dead-or-Alive Questions

Tracey Schaefer
Tracey Schaefer
Vice President Global Business Services
Tracy Schaefaer is a business service leader with 20+ years of experience across companies like P&G and Conagra. She has held various leadership positions and is currently the VP of GBS at Conagra Brands.
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
  • BPOs would be still alive.
  • The last two years showed that it’s hard to predict the next ten years.
  • The most important skill the COVID phase taught us is agility.
  • BPOs would still continue to exist, assuming that they reinvent, modernize and transform themselves for the better.
  • But if the BPOs continue with the same business model, they will be dead.
  • Probably then, leaders would sort to a better, modernized alternative.
  • 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
    • Even before the decade approached, the large service center model would already be dead.
    • The current model is already approaching its death.
    • Post-COVID, many service centers haven’t even returned to business.
    • The pre-COVID idea of having large, filled-up-to-brim service centers working five days a week would never likely be in the application again.
    • The new model should adopt a new way of thinking that focuses on the work environment and whether we are becoming more geography agnostic?
    • The flexibility factor should be improvised in getting the best out of employees by letting them lead, enabling leaders to think more agilely to provide a better environment for their employees.
    • A service center environment is essential for collaboration, teamwork, and career-building where one can work together effectively.
    • But the Work From Home model made leaders believe that a model that strikes a balance between the two is the perfect option.

    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.
    • The current model offers minimal success rates compared to the number of associated challenges.
    • But it will continue to mature and continue to be more democratic. The following model can be currently seen in action at Conagra.
    • RPA and automation are becoming an everyday expectation nowadays.
    • The workforce sees RPA not just as an opportunity but more like a manual process that is a complete annoyance to their day due to the various challenges involved.
    • Currently, there are two primary areas to focus on related to RPA:
      • Get the proper governance structure and support on board to keep it going.
      • Having a constant view on ROI and whether in its current form it can bring value to the organization or not.

    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 would become even more mature in the years to come.
    • AI adoption is undoubtedly a difficult task for GBS organizations.
    • But we need to improve at showcasing its worth in terms of ROI.
    • From experience, it is prominent that AI cannot only be an idea generator but requires a practical application that approaches the solution from a human perspective more than a machine.
    • The proper utilization of the output obtained from AI remains debated and yet needs to be aligned efficiently.
    • A significant challenge is making humans believe in AI’s capabilities and powers.
    • AI would never replace humans but would still be used to recommend and assist in decision making, as we see today in the case of Netflix and Amazon.

    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
    • The model of remote work has taught us the ability to connect with people versus being there in person.
    • If we reflect on why India is a top choice today, it relates to the cost as a value and what we receive for that cost.
    • As long as India continues to provide that value to our organizations, they will remain alive.
    • But if the pendulum starts to swing and the value proposition is no longer there. Then we could experiment with remote working as well, and there could be significant changes in where work is executed.

    Dead-or-Alive Question #6: Would GBS be dead or alive as an organization?
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    Answer First: Alive
    • It would be very much alive but would look different.
    • GBS models would transform and work around capabilities rather than just traditional services.
    • Ex: There is a GBS organization within Conagra offering a set of services like accounts payable, accounts receivables, customer order management, and a consumer contact center that would continue to work effectively and efficiently ten years from now also. But the focus remains on utilizing capabilities to harness the GBS perspective.
    • The focus should be more on building around capabilities built in the past and how these capabilities would support the enterprise in total.
    • Ex: Conagra built an automation COE to support automating accounts receivable, which has now turned into an enterprise function that deploys automation resources to supply chain organizations and sales organizations to help them automate the workflow themselves.
    • Automation has become a service and a capability being deployed out of our GBS organization. Today, I look for other abilities like AI, like process engineering that is core to what we do in GBS, to be deployed in similar ways.

    What’s your advice to other GBS leaders?What’s most vital for them to keep their eyes on for success?
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    Key Points
    • It is crucial to adapt the idea of agility and constant transformation in the workflow.
    • As GBS organizations, it is crucial to be at the forefront, look out for what’s coming, and lead the way for the organization in totality.
    • The only way to ensure the continuous transformation is by having the people with the required skill set who can lead the change available within the organization.
    • Leaders should not set a robust strategy without a good team that can execute it.
    • Great performers within organizations usually change resistors, which needs to be addressed with a proper upskill strategy that brings together a team to work and accomplish the set transformation agendas.
    • Leaders need to check that the agendas are aligned to the workflow daily to promote a culture that inspires and drives transformation within the organization.

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