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The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Andy Walter
Andy Walter
CEO at AJW Advisory, Former SVP of IT & Shared Services at P&G
CEO at AJW Advisory and former SVP of IT & Shared Services at P&G with over 35 years of experience. Andy actively influences the GBS community with advanced transformation ideas through multiple board-level advisory roles.
Caroline Basyn
Sashi Narahari
Founder and CEO
CEO and Founder of HighRadius, a Fintech enterprise SaaS company which leverages AI-based Autonomous Systems to help companies automate Accounts Receivable and Treasury. Sashi’s leadership has secured the trust of 200+ Global 2000 companies.

Podcast Summary:
Six Million Dollar Questions every GBS Leader wants to Know

Million Dollar Question #1:You have expertise in driving value-driven partnerships and have even created a Strategic Partnership Model. Would you recommend outsourcing over captive centers for deploying shared services?
Key Points
  • A big supporter of outsourcing with strategic partners which is critical in driving value and speed.
  • The key is to find a hybrid model which allows you to leverage your talents and scale up your capabilities much faster.
  • The talent hybrid model is more critical now since getting access to talent is tougher than ever before.
  • Always championed teaming up the organization’s top people with the top people from the strategic partners.
  • Key to Outsourcing in P&G
    • First fold- Before you ask for help, be clear on understanding your business model and what you want to achieve.
    • Second fold- Pick strategic partners who can bring innovation to your GBS model.
Million Dollar Question #2: What would be your advice on process transition, standardize first and then lift and shift, or the other way, how would you do it?
Key Points
  • If you want speed, the ideal answer is to lift and shift.
  • But before choosing either option, make sure the four critical pieces are in place. Without them, you will be spinning your wheels for years.
  • What are the Four critical pieces?
    • First- The people responsible for the processes need to move.
    • Second- Business process ownership. Owning business processes and having the ability to transform them into more value
    • Third- Introduction of technology to help in running these business processes.
    • Fourth- Owning the budget, the accountability to deliver the savings, and reinvesting them back into capabilities.
  • One of Andy’s short stories
    • For years, I was working with one large fortune 500. They had been doing, at best, shared operations for five to six years.
    • They didn’t have accountability for the technology, and there was no way we could transform their processes.
    • So, part of the model we put in place was with shared services and IT leadership coming together. They recruited top talents and a CIO whom the GBS was reporting to.
    • Now they had accountability for all four elements and could make technological transformations.
    • They are making incredible progress today.
Million Dollar Question #3:Your advisory focuses on the future of GBS and the next generation of technology infrastructure. What are your views and recommendations on AI and RPA in GBS?
Key Points
  • Automation is critical. Unfortunately, most RPAs today are not quite enterprise-ready.
  • Mostly everybody is trying to do script-based and screen-scraping, which is fragile and leads to a lot of maintenance and operating issues.
  • With RPA, as you start changing the processes, everything starts breaking down.
  • One should start focusing on automation as model-based and AI-based autonomous automation as a part of those business processes solutions that can fit your transformational needs.
  • At P&G, we were even using AI-based automation to optimize verticals like a product launch
Million Dollar Question #4: What are your views on transforming GBS from a cost-cutting focus to a revenue-growth instrument?
Key Points
  • This is a challenge I hear from a lot of GBS Leaders since they are stuck in the cost-cutting mode.
  • But first, you have to deliver savings. Not only because GBS is traditionally a cost-cutting business, but also because you need to reinvest savings back into new capabilities.
  • Andy’s revenue-driven narrative-
    • I was asked to start up marketing services for our 1000s of brands and business units around the world.
    • It was about delivering savings, but also about bringing in new capabilities to 20+ categories and regions that are going to grow the business
  • As you start getting into the front office and commercial services, you will no longer have the ability to move slow, you have to move fast.
  • This is where it becomes necessary to build partnerships across the C-suite leadership.
  • Strategic partners also come into the picture in building your revenue growth journey.
Million Dollar Question #5: SAP/Oracle or Core ERP Vs. modern niche software platforms like HighRadius is a debated subject in the GBS community. In your view, what is the trade-off?
Key Points
  • The greatest transformation that happened in the last decade is this modern SaaS platform.
  • Previously, the enterprise-level companies were trapped by these giant monolithic systems and couldn’t leverage transformational capabilities.
  • These cloud-based applications facilitating at an extremely fast speed are just phenomenal.
  • P&G in the 90s-
    • I was in a manufacturing site rolling out the first SAP or three. It was this monolithic system where we had no choice but to do everything from M&A to business process transformation.
    • But over the last decade with these cloud-based SaaS platforms, and their ability to put best-in-class capabilities in unison with our ERP investment has been absolutely critical.
  • You need to look for the right fit to use both in unison and take the best-in-class SaaS platforms to leverage within your core ecosystem.
Million Dollar Question #6: On a closing note, would you like to leave your listeners with some parting advice?
Key Points
  • I started too late in my career in focusing externally on disruptive innovators and their ability to help us on this journey
  • During the last two years at P&G, I think I created more value than the previous eight combined because I started looking externally.
  • You should not wait anymore and start building your network of disruptive innovators and advisors right now.
Misc #7: I know that Andy, you’re writing a book, and I’m waiting to be one of the early readers. So tell us a little bit about that.
Key Points
  • This book will majorly cover Andy’s journey so far, including 26 years of service at one of the greatest companies in the world.
  • This will also cover his journey from working for one fortune 500 to now working across a portfolio of disruptive innovators, or a plural career.
  • The book is also going to be helpful for the ones who are starting their journey in GBS and want to build a network.
  • 100% of the proceeds are going to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.

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