Never fall for the technology, but go with a proven case !

The Six Million-Dollar Questions

Tony Saldanha
Tony Saldanha
Co-Founder at Inixia and Former VP of GBS at P&G
Co-Founder at Inixia and former VP of GBS at P&G with 35 years in driving innovation and technology across shared services. Currently, Tony is working on establishing an industry standard for GBS through the Professional Business Services Institute under Inixia.
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: Tony, you’ve program managed the biggest outsourcing deal in the world worth about $8 billion in P&G, would you suggest that outsourcing is a better model for defining shared services compared to a captive center?
Key Points
  • There are specific situations for captive centers and outsourcing to work best individually.
  • So, the correct answer is that it has to be driven in the context of your GBS objectives.
  • You need to think of your work not just to reduce transaction costs, but mainly to transform your business.
  • Being the GBS leader you need to ask yourself, “is this work a commodity”?
  • For cheaper, better, and faster solutions that can be purchased, choose Outsourcing.
  • If you want to innovate and implement continuous improvement, then Captive Center is the answer
Million Dollar Question #2: You brought about major standardization in P&G in the 90s. What would be your suggestion to the GBS community listening today about going ahead with standardization first, or lift and shift first?
Key Points
  • Unlike the 90s, technology has evolved to the extent that you have enterprise service buses and other microservices that allow you to deal with multiple platforms.
  • To be GBS specific, the advice is to Lift and Shift first, even if the processes are not standardized.
  • Why? It will get you savings relatively quicker and later you can standardize your process with the help of a partner.
Million Dollar Question #3: The book you wrote on Digital Transformation shows how transformation can be made routinely successful. So, what is the recommendation on implementing RPA, AI, or any other foundational platforms?
Key Points
  • RPA, AI, and other platforms are all sequentially sophisticated ways for companies to get cost productivity and then create value.
  • Today, RPA is much more reliable. But how to be successful in implementing RPA is a two-fold process:
    • First- Standardize as much you can before you begin to automate your process.
    • Second- Consider the cost of routine change management instead of automating everything and finding out later that the process has to be redone because of minor changes.
  • RPA is an important tool if utilized correctly because you can easily get another 10%, 20%, or even 30% more cost-efficiency by using it.
  • Whenever any judgement is required, AI and machine learning come into the picture.
  • With AI, the advice is to never fall for the technology, instead, always go with a proven use case.
  • The Use Case we worked on with HighRadius-
    • Figuring out whether a deduction or a claim is valid or invalid by using Machine Learning.
    • So, instead of investing in a platform, we invested in the use case, which was incredibly successful.
  • The DOs & DON’Ts of Automation-
    • Study your business issue and be clear on what you want as a result before you pick a tool.
    • Figure out where and how to apply the tool to resurrect an inefficient process.
Million Dollar Question #4: Most GBS centers start with labor cost arbitrage as the main motivation. Could you share your secret recipe for transforming GBS from a cost-cutting focus to a revenue growth strategy?
Key Points
  • As GBS leaders, don’t just focus on cost setting, but set your goal as business value creation and transformation.
  • As an industry, GBS was created as a cost-cutting exercise, so once you standardize your process at a low cost, what is next?
    • You need to have a long-term vision of the business as the digital transformation engine of the company.
    • You need to design the plan smartly, whether using offshore location, outsourcing, or technologies such as AI, all based on the understanding of your business model.
  • Another advice to go from cost-cutting to value creation is, think of yourself as not running a function, but running a company within a company.
Million Dollar Question #5: Circling back to your expertise in digital transformation, in your view, what is the trade-off between Core ERP versus modern SaaS platforms?
Key Points
  • It’s more of a ‘complementary’ strategy, rather than an ‘either-or’ strategy.
  • If you use platforms like SAP, you will get about 70% of automation on your processes, and that too just in terms of costs.
  • To unlock value creation further, modern niche platforms need to come into the picture.
  • Diving deeper, let’s say you need to target consumers based on dynamic data, modern niche platforms with AI is the solution –
    • It takes a specific and narrow area of AR and can achieve the remaining 30% automation.
    • Even if they work on a narrow area, these platforms perform what no other standard platforms can because of niche expertise.
Million Dollar Question #6: What parting advice would you leave for your listeners in the GBS community?
Key Points
  • Go beyond cost and get into value creation. Have a 5, 7, or 10-year roadmap on how to add value to the business because the GBS model gets obsolete very fast.
  • There has never been a better time than now to actually be in the GBS business since the number one priority for most CEOs is digital transformation, and GBS leaders can be the best digital transformation leaders.
  • It is never about technology or any specific strategies. It is all about how you create value for the CEO and the organization.

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