The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Every GBS Leader Wants To Know

Michael van der Steen
Michael van der Steen
Global Vice President Order to Cash
Global VP of Order to Cash at Adidas, with 20+ years of experience in leading global business services in companies like AkzoNobel and Bose Corporation. Currently, Michael is responsible for implementing end-to-end global processes to deliver high customer value.
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 Leaders want to Know

Million Dollar Question #1: Captive center vs outsourcing. In your view, which model is better for deploying shared services?
Key Points
  • I think there’s no better model, it all depends on what you want to achieve.
  • Using a Captive Model-
    • You will have more retention of your staff, and by acquiring higher quality people you can deliver the services in a more agile way.
  • Using an Outsourcing Model-
    • Since they have the hiring engine, they can make sure that you build your organization very quickly.
  • One of the most interesting approaches is that BPOs are now offering hybrid models, from which you can extract all the benefits you need and switch it to a captive model later.
  • With that being said, one should make the best out of both models to move forward.
Million Dollar Question #2: What is your take on what a company should do, first lift and shift or standardize the process first and then lift and shift?
Key Points
  • In my career, I’ve been in the situation where we’ve both ‘lifted and shifted’ and ‘fixed and shifted’.
  • The ADIDAS approach
    • Why is Fix and Shift tough?
      We needed to fix processes in 82 countries with smaller teams, which requires a lot of bandwidth from the experts to actually go in and standardize first before you shift.
    • So why is Lift and Shift simpler?
      We just needed to connect with our three centers which make the training a lot easier and agile, which then drives the growth relatively faster.
  • One question that you need to ask yourself is if you want to change it locally and fix it in the market, why hasn’t that worked in the past 10 years?
Million Dollar Question #3: What is your experience in implementing RPA and your recommendation on using RPA as well as RPA vs AI in GBS?
Key Points
  • I think it’s more like a collaboration, instead of a trade-off.
  • On a cloud platform, you can do a lot more with RPA than if you’re building it on top of an on-premise.
  • I think it should be like a backpack, filled with different tools, consisting of RPA, machine learning, and more to resolve a problem.
  • The key is to choose the right combination of tools and align it with that specific hurdle in your process.
Million Dollar Question #4: Michael, you have been successful in optimizing GBS for three large enterprises. Could you share with us your secret recipe for transforming GBS from a cost-cutting focus to a revenue growth strategy?
Key Points
  • GBS tends to develop by starting with a shared service center for a particular function
  • Then you start to improve your labor arbitrage to get that low cost.
  • When you start making the changes, you go from one single function to multiple functions, combine the end-to-end processes and all the data for your organization.
  • I think data analytics is one of the keys that reflects the value of GBS which can also influence your bottom line, but also your top line.
  • What did ADIDAS do?
    • We automated a lot of processes, while also making sure that we are properly processing our finance and collecting our funds.
    • This, along with other factors during COVID, resulted in 96% growth in our e-comm business during the 2nd Quarter last year.
  • There are many values that a GBS can add, but you have to make sure when is the right time to do that and market it properly.
Million Dollar Question #5: What is your trade-off between SAP/Oracle versus modern niche platforms like Coupa or BlackLine?
Key Points
  • I think both are complementary to each other, the choice simply depends on what are your requirements.
  • The ADIDAS way
    • We have a lot of SaaS solutions which are the best of breed and add a lot of business value
    • SaaS is responsible for all the developments and we also deliver some intellectual property into that, to make our products better.
    • In the core we have a system, in our case it is SAP. At the moment, it’s S3 and in the future it will be S4.
    • But to create an exciting customer and consumer experience, we integrate the technologies that are required to excel.
    • The combination unlocks data in a way that allows you to use further tools like process mining tools
Million Dollar Question #6: What parting advice would you like to leave for our listeners?
Key Points
  • Especially for GBS, we need to understand that we belong to the whole organization, and are not a separate team. This collaboration will drive a lot of value.
  • We embrace diversity and what we see is that we must listen to each other, which makes whatever you deliver stronger.

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