Always put the customer at the center of what you are doing !

The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell
Head of Global Business Services, Krakow
Head of Global Business Services at ABB, Krakow, with nearly 25 years of experience across top companies like DSM and PwC. Peter specializes in building and transforming high-performance teams across processes and geographies.
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 Centers versus Outsourcing, in your view which model is better in deploying shared services?
Key Points
  • Passionate about a captive model, mainly because ABB’s GBS is quite heavy and complicated
  • It is challenging to pass on the complexities to an outsource company.
  • If you have in-house systems, it becomes part of your culture, and also creates better career opportunities within larger organizations
  • With a captive model, the relationship with the customer becomes more intertwined
  • Once well-standardized, there are pockets of non-captive areas such as repetitive work that can be delegated to external companies
Million Dollar Question #2: Peter when ABB decided to create its largest GBS center in Krakow, you were heavily involved, so what’s your take on what companies should do, lift and shift first or standardize the process first and then lift and shift?
Key Points
  • It all depends on where you are on your journey
  • If you do not have the luxury of time, lift and shift is the better choice
  • The more ERPs, global and local applications you have, the more complex you are as a company and it becomes challenging to standardize first
  • Once you have placed the processes into fewer locations, you get a holistic view and standardization becomes feasible and easier.
Million Dollar Question #3:Peter you are the executive board member of ASPIRE which focuses on world-class technology, so what would be your recommendation on using RPA and AI technology?
Key Points
  • The question of how standardized your process is? Because automating a mess is not the smartest way to proceed
  • Automation is not just about RPA or any cutting-edge technology
  • The urban legend is 40% automation across the industry and particularly in financial shared services
  • Where we are as an industry today, it’s probably closer to 10-15% -that’s leaving the potential for growth of the automation and AI
  • The ABB Story-
    • We have well over 70 bots at the moment
    • We started by focusing heavily on the sub-ledger where we had high volumes and repetitive processes
    • Ironically, one of the first bots introduced in ABB was around a non-standard process
    • Success with the non-standard process was an encouragement to take on even more complex processes down the line
    • But the question is always going to be, is it scalable?
  • There’s an exciting future ahead with automation in GBS, but it is not going to be a walk in the park, a lot of dedication will be required
Million Dollar Question #4: What do you think is the future of GBS? One of the things that always comes up or debated is how GBS can be a revenue driver, instead of the traditional cost-cutting unit, what are your thoughts on it?
Key Points
  • You have to put the customer always in the center of what you are doing
  • Also making sure the quality that you are delivering is not going at the same rate as the cost
  • You have to keep the cost set at a certain level and the quality higher.
  • If you ask How?
    • Ensuring that the cash is getting paid in time can save a good amount of cost since overdue can shut down factories and stop production for hours
    • Follow up on customer disputes, and maintain overdue at a bare minimum
    • Ensure that you’re not having too many things out there that don’t actually belong to you as a company
  • The ABB Story-
    • ABB went for a decentralized model a year ago (since 2020)
    • The centralized GBS model or the “glue” ensures to not just deliver the bare minimum but also to keep running critical processes
    • It ensures that businesses identify what value is being created by the shared services on a periodic basis
    • I call it the customer arena or the customer-centricity that decides the rhythm of GBS towards the business
Million Dollar Question #5: What is your view on the trade-off between a core ERP solution like SAP and Oracle or a modern software cloud platform like Coupa and Highradius?
Key Points
  • It is all about the fit for purpose, you can have both co-existing and delivering to your business landscape together
  • In today’s industry, not all the processes can be supported by ERPs, so you will need to have cloud applications as a complimentary service
  • The upcoming change into the industry is going to be more around the cloud and to be able to rely on different applications in a bigger way.
  • This can particularly help with financial reporting which is evolving and becoming much more of a daily activity as opposed to the big peak of work at the end of the month
  • We are trying to flatten the curve and ensure that there are continuous reporting numbers available
Million Dollar Question #6: On a closing note, Peter, what parting advice would you like to leave your listeners with?
Key Points
  • Have a co-creation mindset. Do something better than you did yesterday and not only for yourself but for the team around you
  • Make sure you hire the right set of people while ensuring they have opportunities to grow
  • And the future in GBS is very bright and the services that can be included are yet to be listed, so there is quite some energy left in the tank to evolve and challenge yourself

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