RPA is traditionally the table-stakes in shared services !

The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Jamesetta Strickland
Jamesetta Strickland
SVP & Head of Global Business Services
A transformational leader with 30+ years of experience in building and driving sustainable business models. She has been a crucial part of top organizations like Ford, GE, and Capstone Solutions, and is currently the SVP & Head of GBS in Iron Mountain.
Caroline Basyn
Sashi Narahari
Founder and CEO
CEO and Founder of HighRadius, a Fintech enterprise SaaS company that 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: In your view, which model is better for deploying shared services today, captive centers or outsourcing to third parties?
Key Points
  • The answer is to have a mix of both captive centers and outsourcing.
    • Choose Captive-Centers for the processes where the work can be done internally on your own behalf as the organization.
    • And choose to Outsource when there are experts that have better focus, better tools, and better expertise, that makes sense to that process.
  • Covid-19 made us rethink captive centers for providing maximum value, but we still need the hybrid model to move forward.
Million-Dollar Question #2:Harmonize and Standardize first, or Lift and Shift first? What is your recommendation given your past experience?
Key Points
  • The choice majorly depends on two things-
    • The speed at which you need to drive the change.
    • The maturity level of both your process and the GBS organization.
  • By doing lift-and-shift you can get a lot of speed and drive technology and standardization really fast.
  • However, it is true that fixing your process first will unlock a great amount of value.
  • One crucial thing is to make sure you are very clear on the baseline of the processes and the metrics.
  • Equally important to have regular reviews to keep a track of where you are standing.
  • The Iron Mountain story-
    • Let’s say we worked on behalf of Finance, HR, or the Commercial teams, we always agree on some basic factors.
    • Example: what are the improvements you want to see or how are they going to measure us.
    • Once we have an estimate, we create an operating rhythm and framework in place.
Million-Dollar Question #3:What are your viewpoints on RPA lately, and also beyond RPA? How do you see the world of technology evolve?
Key Points
  • There is this common debate going on regarding ‘How necessary RPA actually is in the GBS space’.
  • RPA is traditionally the table-stakes in shared services, as it can automate as many functions or processes as possible.
  • We would still be leveraging RPA in the future, but the question is about the pace of that function where tools like AI and ML excel.
  • The new trends of AI & ML-
    • Cloud in a Pocket- Where you have devices that can store a lot more information than one can usually gather.
    • COVID-19 Effect- This pandemic has accelerated the pace of these tools in the Pharma and Healthcare industries with the latest interface and better customer experience.
    • E-Commerce Sites- The study of how customers interact with the products is where these tools also play a vital role.
Million Dollar Question #4: Historically, GBS was considered a cost-cutting strategy, so how do you transition it to be a revenue driver?
Key Points
  • Rightly said that historically people think of GBS as the back office and not tertiary to value-add.
  • The Iron Mountain Strategy-
    • We traditionally do GBS processes like the financial teams and employee routines around R2R.
    • Along with it, our team also works with our commercial teams to do proposals to run the customer reference program.
    • In Iron Mountain, procurements are a part of GBS because it’s the backbone of everything that we’re doing.
    • Our procurement team is bringing in leads to our sales team and our deal teams.
    • So, we keep commercial shared services and targets at the forefront of our GBS approach.
    • We’re not only working with our supply chain on traditional things but also focusing on how we work with our supply base to drive partnerships and revenue growth.
Million Dollar Question #5: What’s your view on the trade-off between ERP solutions like SAP or Oracle and software platforms like HighRadius, Coupa, BlackLine, and others?
Key Points
  • The trade-off Scenario of Iron Mountain-
    • Iron Mountain was created in large part by acquisitions, and coming up with an optimal roadmap was critical.
    • Also, there is an increase in the numbers of ERPs and SaaS platforms today that can scale and drive speed.
    • So, our decision-making process is a mix of cost, speed, and user experience across every corner of the world.
    • Our GBS at Iron Mountain has created a partner for our global technology team to work with and help in making the decisions.
    • So we’re going to have systems that will be the standard ERPs, but certainly along with a couple of niche products that just make sense for us as we try to execute our processes.
Million Dollar Question #6: What parting advice would you like to leave for your listeners?
Key Points
  • If you look at GBS from a certain distance, this space is all about making things better.
  • So, if you are a person who always likes to tinker, GBS is going to be fantastic for you.
  • Most GBS are multifaceted and multifunctional organizations, so it’s a great place to learn the business.
  • Diversity in Iron Mountain-
    • I am very proud of the diversity we have across Iron Mountain, particularly in our GBS team.
    • This has allowed us to collaborate and solve problems faster.

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The GBS Masterminds

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