RPA and automation in GBS is also a journey in itself !

The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Steve Rudderham
Steve Rudderham
Head of Global Business Services at AkzoNobel
Head of GBS at AkzoNobel, with nearly 20+ years of experience across top companies like Accenture, Capgemini, Genpact, and Kellogg’s. Steve is an expert at driving transformation strategies for revenue and operational efficiency.
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:Steve, you have led major BPO operations so what is your perspective on captive center versus outsourcing model for shared services?
Key Points
  • The choice of either model or even a hybrid model depends on where you are in your journey.
  • At AkzoNobel
    • There were a lot of transactional processes which can be automated in the longer run.
    • So it made sense to have a glance at what the outsourcing partners had in store for us.
  • Outsourcing partners can help you scale quickly and in improving flexibility that can add even more value to your processes.
  • What is the biggest value add of using the outsourcing model?
    • Many of my peers work with BPOs to scale their processes, but eventually cut back to bring the value in-house
    • But the biggest value-add from outsourcing is that it opens the doors to automation
Million Dollar Question #2: There is a common debate going on among shared services leaders about what strategy to transition work. What’s your take on what companies should do, Standardize the process first or Lift-and-Shift first?
Key Points
  • The ideal answer is to give time and resources to transform your process first and then shift it.
  • But instead, companies lift and shift first to get the value creation and cost savings immediately.
  • By outsourcing the processes, they expect it will transform overnight. Which never happens.
  • However, if you want to lift and shift and fix the process while you go along, you should be transparent to show what journey you are on.
  • Change management is also a key to the above scenario.
    • You got to communicate up-front and set those expectations.
    • Along the way, things may go wrong, but as long as you keep your action plans visible, you will be good to go.
Million Dollar Question #3:Many GBS leaders struggle with scaling the number of bots and have limited experience of optimizing. How was your experience, and what would be your recommendation on using RPA or any other technology like AI for GBS?
Key Points
  • RPA and automation in GBS is also a journey in itself.
  • Steve’s Experience in RPA
    • Many companies were selling automation by pitching it as a cost saving tool that could equal the productivity of 500+ people.
    • This was enough to excite stakeholders to invest in these tools.
    • Although we implemented RPA and gained success with functions like invoice inception at our business, that isn’t enough.
    • Our outsourcing partners are using it increasingly with us as well
  • At the end of the day, it is not just about cost savings, but more about driving accuracy, stability, and putting the controls in place.
Million Dollar Question #4: Steve, in GBS you have successfully executed both cost-cutting and revenue driving strategies. Could you share your secret recipe for transforming GBS from a cost-cutting to a revenue growth strategy?
Key Points
  • You should start off with a cost-cutting strategy as it gets the train moving. However, it has its own limitations.
  • Once you have your processes standardized, you can ask yourself, how to transform them?
  • So, you have got to evolve with your GBS model to deliver great value.
  • This can be achieved with the help of predictive analytics, AI, or any automation in your processes.
  • On a broader scale, the transparency of your data can bring great value to your business.
Million Dollar Question #5: When you think of the processes of finance and accounting, what do you think the trade-off looks like between core ERP solutions like SAP or Oracle and modern software cloud platforms like Highradius or Coupa?
Key Points
  • There is a very common nervousness about going after modern niche platforms
  • So, the correct path is to look for what is the best fit for your purpose.
  • There are many companies that are going after ERP solutions that can fit their major chunk of processes.
  • But today, there are some best-in-class niche platforms that can bring quick transformation and even create a lot of value for your business.
  • Eventually, it all boils down to the concept of looking for a best-in-class solution that can complement your purpose within the business.
Million Dollar Question #6: You have had an amazing experience of over 20 years across various executive roles. So on a closing note, what would be your parting advice to a younger self, or to someone who is starting their career or even for your peers?
Key Points
  • GBS is not just about transactional processing or automation anymore, it is all about having the mindset of continuous improvement.
  • Being in the GBS, it’s a lot about the people around you, because it proves to be a great learning experience for everyone.
  • People should also start looking at GBS as a talent incubator, as it provides great talents to the organization as well.

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