Trust plays a key role in GBS space today !

The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Rob Bradford
Rob Bradford
VP of Global Business Services
Currently the VP of GBS at Zimmer Biomet, Rob is a business leader with 30+ years of experience in building shared services organizations. The runner-up of SSON Impact Awards has been a key leader in the development of 5 large Shared Services organizations.
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 spent a good bit of your career starting shared service and GBS organizations from the ground up. What is your opinion on outsourcing or captive centers?
Key Points
  • They both are robust methods for transforming your function.
  • Based on the stakeholders and personal histories, one might have an affinity towards one of the methods.
  • It boils down to depending on the nature of your processes.
  • For example, if a process is responsible for maintaining the secret formula for Coca-Cola, you would not want to outsource it. No matter how good they are, you would want to keep that in-house.
  • However, historically we have found a comfortable mix at around 60-40 split, where 60% is captive, and 40% is outsourced.
  • 10 Questions you need to ask yourself before deciding what is the best fit for your process?
    • These are divided into two dimensions: The ‘Who’ and the ‘Where’
    • We have a matrix that breaks out the options for placement into three ‘who’ options, which consists of the following decisions:
      • BPO or Captive Centers
      • Retaining with the business or the function
      • Processes that should and shouldn’t move into GBS
    • The second dimension is ‘where’ the process should be performed?
      • Offshore?
      • Onshore?
      • Middle-Ground?
  • These questions are all done on a Likert Scale.
  • It creates a nice scatterplot that takes an end-to-end process, breaks out all the activities, and shows who and where they can best be done to maximize the value.
  • This methodology easily takes care of 90-95% of the decision-making process.
Million Dollar Question #2: Would you recommend harmonizing and standardizing first, or lift-and-shift first?
Key Points
  • Practically, ‘lift and shift’ has given better results than ‘transform and shift’ in GBS.
  • It seems counterintuitive and people might wonder why onboard new people within a complicated and messy process? Instead, fix it first.
  • But when you unpack it, you realize it’s the other way around.
  • Three reasons why lifting and shifting can provide better value-
    • We hire very smart people in these centers, though it’s a misconception that we’re hiring right out of college
    • It’s easier to move all the processes from different locations centrally and compare them for re-engineering
    • There’s no incentive for the legacy staff to want to fix the process. A fixed process could be moved offshore and threaten their jobs.
  • It’s important to note that lift and shift doesn’t mean you don’t transform your processes- you just transform after you shift the process.
Million Dollar Question #3:I know you co-founded Prometheus GBS where you worked with GBS organizations to implement large-scale technologies. What has been your experience in the area of RPA and AI in GBS?
Key Points
  • What is Prometheus?
    Prometheus GBS was a small company that I put together with a couple of other experts who have been doing GBS for 20-30 years, and advising some of our peers in the industry.
  • Rob’s introduction to RPA-
    • Was an early adopter back in the 90s when RPA started popping up in this space.
    • Made the same rookie mistakes like everyone and struggled for quite some time to figure out what was wrong.
    • We figured that there were two good cases for implementing RPA and sticking to those two cases would add greater value.
      • First Use Case- Very high volume and low complexity processes where minimal decision-making is involved, such as a straightforward transactional process.
      • Second Use Case- Processes that involve a lot of manual activities from the employee’s end. Eg.: recording data across hundreds of spreadsheets with an army of people doing cut-copy-paste for hours.
  • With RPA, you are not just making the employee experience better but also putting them into something more innovative and strategic.
  • The myth around RPA is thinking that building a robot would take over all the human labor saving millions overnight for your organization.
Million Dollar Question #4:What according to you is the secret recipe to transform GBS from a cost-cutting to a revenue growth oriented organization?
Key Points
  • Trust plays a key role in the GBS space today.
  • You will need to prove yourself one step at a time to contribute to revenue generation- one of the critical activities in any company.
  • Though GBS has built the reputation of delivering high-value mechanisms, you need to deliver the simpler process first and then build on those successes.
  • You start proving your mechanisms with the typical AR, AP, or R2R processes and then gradually move upstream to the end-to-ends.
  • When you start to get into the area of revenue, never go in with a holistic approach on day 1. It will scare your sales leadership.
  • Instead, go for a stair step approach to revenue.
  • To sum up, start with the low hanging or less risky processes, and once you prove yourself, take the stair step to the higher processes.
Million Dollar Question #5: There is a lot of confusion about what technology one should use- core ERP systems or modern niche platforms? What, in your view, is the trade-off between the two choices?
Key Points
  • Firstly, these two are complementary to each other rather than being competitive solutions.
  • The decision-making process here also depends on figuring out what the challenge is and what do you want as the outcome.
  • In reality, ERP has grown more through acquisitions rather than innovations, whereas modern cloud solutions offer direct innovation and enable you to cut out the middleman.
  • If you’re looking to do it faster and it doesn’t have to be innovative, you can stick to the ERP technology.
  • But if you want something that’s going to drive more value to your business, you need to go straight to a partner and get that plug-and-play solution.
  • Since you implement these two solutions with a complementary approach, it is critical to find a partner that already has an understanding and experience with your ERP provider.
Million Dollar Question #6: What would you like to leave as parting advice?
Key Points
  • Many doubt GBS as being a relevant platform in the modern-day, but it is still by far one of the best ways to transform your company’s savings.
  • But if you just want to do it faster and cheaper, you’re not really a GBS, but operating in the classical shared services or outsourcing model.
  • GBS organizations are always striving to move up the value chain and do high-value work
  • Today, it’s all about how we are going to work in new environments where we have to collaborate from home or across geographies- GBS has been doing this for years even before it was fancy.
  • The problems are just getting more and more complex and the solutions are going to require a diverse set of perspectives.
  • Diversity and inclusion is more than just a goal, it’s a way of life.
Misc #7: Rob, you were the runner-up in the SSON Impact awards for diversity and inclusion, so tell us a little about how you went about getting there?
Key Points
  • We were alongside a few companies that were operating diversity and inclusion for many years.
  • We were in our first year of the journey. So, incredibly proud of the team.
  • Although a bit disappointed that we didn’t win, we’re going to keep pushing harder until we win the whole category.
  • I tell people that the dinosaurs didn’t diversify and look where it got them.
  • We don’t want GBS to go the way of the dinosaurs!

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