Emerging Global Trends in Talent Management and the Future of Work for GBS

Naomi Secor

Naomi Secor

Global Managing Director, SSON
Bain Company

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As a global leader of SSON, Naomi is responsible for the strategic direction and continued growth of all SSON customer channels. That includes SSON’s events, online portal, research and data analytics centre and more!
Barbara Hodge

Barbara Hodge

Head of Digital Content, SSON
Bain Company

Connect on Linkedin

Barbara is responsible for SSON's global digital content – including specialist reports – which cements SSON's position as the most trusted resource for practitioners from around the world. As the voice of her company, she ensures the content reflects current trends and opportunities to help SSON leaders continuously drive performance.

Session Summary:

In the shortest time imaginable, organizations worldwide have had to pivot and adjust to a “remote everything” scenario. A year later, what’s extraordinary is how well most shared services organizations have maintained operations. However, the past 12 months have left an indelible mark on the workforce. O2C leaders are focusing on talent management more than ever before and trying to understand the Future of Work for GBS and adapting to it in the best possible way.
Naomi Secor, Global Managing Director at SSON and Barbara Hodge, Head of Digital Content at SSON share key insights from SSON analytics about the disruptions in workforce management and how shared services organizations are redesigning their work processes.

Key Takeaways
  • What are the challenges faced by Shared Services and priorities of O2C GPOs in 2021
  • What are the disruptive global trends for enterprises and how GBS defines their process strategies
  • GPOs focus on building a versatile knowledge-based workforce and upskilling
  • What is the Future of Work and how Intelligent Automation plays a vital role

Daisy Ramirez  [0:10]  

All right, we see a couple more coming in. Hi everyone, Welcome Welcome to today’s session will begin shortly.

All right. Welcome, everyone. We’re gonna go ahead and get started today. Hi, everyone. Welcome to Shared Services Tech 2021and thank you for joining this session. My name is Daisy Ramirez, and I’ll be your facilitator. All participants will be on mute. So if you do have a question throughout our session, make sure to put it in the Q&A section below your attendees. It’ll be located on the right-hand side. So the recording for today’s session will be available at the end of the day. And if you do want a PDF right away, please visit our LinkedIn page and that will be linked in the details section. Also, we do appreciate any feedback from you guys. So please take some time to leave a review and share your feedback on this particular session. In order to do so please go to the rate the session or the hearts above the video player. So with that being said, I do want to welcome everyone one more time to our discussion today, Emerging Global Trends in Talent Management and the Future for Work of GBS. So in our session today, we do have Naomi Secor and Barbara Hodge. Naomi is the Global Managing Director of SSON and Barbara is the Head of Digital Content at SSON. Do you guys might go say hi, real quick. 

Naomi Secor  [2:48]  

Hi, everyone.

Barbara Hodge  [2:49]  

Hi, everyone. Great to be here with you, Daisy.

Daisy Ramirez  [2:52]  

All right, perfect. So as a Global Leader of SSON, Naomi is responsible for the strategic direction and continued growth of all SSON Customer Channels. That includes all SSON events, online portal, research and data analytics center, and more. Barbara is responsible for SSON’s Global Digital Content, including specialists reports, which cements SSON’s position as the most trusted resource for practitioners from around the world. As the voice of her company, she ensures the content reflects current trends and opportunities to help SSON’s leaders continuously drive performance. So before we hand it over to Naomi and Barbara, we do have a poll question for you guys today to start off this session. I’m going to go ahead and start that. So the question is, what is the number one challenge for GPO’s facing today? one, achieving operational excellence two, driving world-class customer experience, or three, optimizing working capital. So I’m going to give you guys just a few seconds to go ahead and submit your answers for the question. So as we wait, Naomi and Barbara, what do you guys predict the results to be? 

Naomi Secor  [4:23]  

I think that probably operational excellence is going to be on top here.

Barbara Hodge  [4:30]  

I would think given the audience, we’d see something around working capital being a concern, but let’s see what it comes out as easy.

Daisy Ramirez  [4:37]  

All right, perfect. So we’re going to get go ahead and give our participants just a couple more seconds to get those last-minute answers submitted. And then I’ll pass it on to you guys for results. So all attendees, any last-minute answers you’d like to submit go ahead and do that. Now. We’ll give it about five to seven more seconds.

Barbara Hodge [5:09]  

And Naomi, you were right.

Naomi Secor  [5:12]  

Yes, it looks like I was 67%, achieving Operational Excellence and we have 33% with our second option here, which just kind of disappeared from my screen. And actually, interestingly, working capital wasn’t chosen. But that’s, you know, we’re going to talk a lot about that. And probably because we’ve continued to do well, optimizing our working capital, and certainly technologies like we’ll be talking about today that help us do that. So well, thank you so much, Daisy, for the warm welcome and to the entire hiring this team for the invitation to be here we are so very excited. We are going to talk about Trends and Talent Management and the Future Working Global Business Services. Thank you for that great introduction. I am Naomi Secor from SSON and, and I had the pleasure of being here with Barbara Hodge, who is our Editor in Chief. And today what we wanted to do was focus on talent and a critical role of the Global Process Owner, the data from this presentation comes from SSON analytics, which is the Data Analytics Center of the Shared Services Analysis Network. We’ve been doing a lot of surveys over the last year specifically in the areas of future of work, how Shared Services Organizations are redesigning their work processes, accelerating the use of automation and then AI, and creating a stable and engaged workforce, which is obviously a top priority right now. And you know, our members do tell us this is the year of the GPO. GPO range supremes the benefits of end to end. We’re going to talk through what those benefits are, and how we can get to that standardization. And that that level of transparency, we want to across the end to end. So with that. Let’s go ahead and jump right in here.

Barbara Hodge  [6:58]  

Perfectly. I mean, I’ll take it from here. So let’s start with what is putting pressure on your Organization, right? What’s disrupting your Enterprise. And this is not a surprise, obviously, given what’s happened in the last 15 months, health concerns raised to prime, cost pressures are always going to be there. Two-thirds of respondents cite cost pressures. But I think what’s encouraging; I would say to see is that half of the audience of the survey that we’re sharing the data with you about half of the respondents indicate that digitization is a disruptive opportunity. And what I think that really means is it’s the opportunity rather than a cause for concern, that’s how I’m interpreting the data. Naomi, did you want to add something?

Naomi Secor  [7:45]  

I actually do. You know, just around the Supply Chain disruption piece here. 46%. I know talking with you know, many, many GBS Leaders every day, they tell me that, you know, a top problem right now is keeping up with demand. Right? So we’ve seen Supply Chains build for free COVID would have been hit hard. It’s a whole different story now. And it’s not just the pandemic that’s driving the reality, you know, re-evaluation of our operating success is the external environment. Our customers want perfect availability they want near-instant delivery. And so GBS Organizations have a unique opportunity right now to play a key role in the Supply Chain Operating Model. And they can do this with a continued focus on you know, Digitally-Enabled Services and the technology to support that. But, you know, as we are doing, we’ve always done a great job and continue to do a great job keeping up with service levels through this pandemic. More work is coming into the Shared Services Organization. And as a result, there has never been more of a need for Shared Services to walk to work, really completely integrated with our Supply Chain partners.

Barbara Hodge [8:50]  

Absolutely. Let’s jump to the next one. How does GBS define their process strategy? First of all, we’re focusing on Global Business Services because that is sort of the holy grail of Shared Services Models. It’s kind of the ultimate it may not be right for everyone, but certainly, the thinking that underpins GBS is the top quartile. So how did GBS define their process strategy and what we see here, Naomi already addressed this end to end is the big theme this year. And the reason that is important is that whatever you are doing within your operations, the opportunity lies within holistically integrating end-to-end processes. So it’s something you’ll hear again and again during the next half hour. We also see, of course, continuous improvement, that’s no surprise, but I think what is also interesting is the GPO model or governance and I think for this particular audience today, you’re all interested in Global Process Ownership. The fact that nearly four out of 10 respondents recognize that a GPO model will drive process effectiveness is fairly significant. Naomi, I’ll hand it back to you.

Naomi Secor  [10:03]  

Yes, I think when we’re talking about how do these GBS Organizations define the process strategy to one thing that enables, you know, certainly Process Excellence is the creation of the Center of Excellence. I love this topic. You know, we know that 68% of Shared Services Organizations globally are already leveraging the Center of Expertise. And this is largely driven, you know, by the demand for enhanced services support, when you develop a Center of Excellence, you’re able to hone in on that skills. This is really where we get to the heart of Talent Management, too, right? So in response to the pressures, SSO leaders, they’re developing enhanced companies competencies and skills to deliver extended value. And this is where a Center of Excellence can come into play here. Yeah, so here, we’re looking at, you know, the top priorities to accelerate service delivery excellence. So we know, we can see digitization is the solution to Service Excellence, two-thirds are looking at emerging technologies, more than half are planning to increase the scope. And they’re going to be focused on managing that process holistically, looking at an end-to-end approach, but the Global Process Owners in place with the right governance and accountability. You know, as I looked at this, and I started reducing operational costs and second priority. second priority, it’s just, you know, we have done such a good job already managing this. And so there is and will always be that focus on cost. And so it just goes to show that we are doing a good job, we have to stay the course.

Barbara Hodge  [11:36]  

I’ll just add something Naomi. Obviously, digitization is number one, and most of it’s the answer to many questions these days. But what I find interesting is there’s a disconnect here, because let’s say two-thirds of respondents say they’re prioritizing digitization. And yet, if you go down the list, second from the bottom, Adopting a Virtual Service Delivery Model, less than a quarter has chosen that as a means of Accelerating Service Delivery Excellence. And I think we need to recognize that what we’re seeing here is the market lagging, what it knows to be true. And this is very common. If we go back 10 years and look at you know, the initial entrance of robotic automation into the marketplace. There’s the awareness of what needs to be done, but then there’s the practical implementation. So I think if we did this in a year’s time, that 23% would be a lot higher. Let’s go to the next slide. Okay, I’ll take this one, what enables Service Delivery service, Effective Service Delivery, again, the answer end to end process, optimizing end to end processes globally. If you want to provide a service, well, you need to get away from a siloed approach where you have a part of a process that’s being handed on from department to department, but you need to have some kind of Global Process Ownership, which is what you’re all about. You’ll also see if I jumped down to the third one 56% said to have a GPO Organization in place. So I presume that those of you attending here, if you’re already a GPO, you’re in you’re on the right direction. The customer-focused element is very important here because as we have improved service management as we are automating transactional activities, what we’re finding is that employees teams are released to focus on what you might call the value-added element, the value adds element needs to meet customers objectives, so that needs to problem-solve. We know from a survey we’ve done, that solving customer’s problem is the best way to drive a positive customer experience. So I think it’s very important that the second if you like, strategy mentioned here is to be more customer-focused right after end to end. And I think those are really the most important parts, of course, we have Adopting Digital Services. Again, that’s a trend we’ll see that’s recognized in the top four.

Naomi Secor  [14:09]  

So, here we wanted to look at processes, where our most admired Shared Services Organizations implemented. I am so but I want to first tell you what, what do we mean by the top 20 most admired SSOs? Every year SSO analytics, we conduct an extensive benchmarking survey with leading Shared Services Organizations to find out how they’re performing against key metrics, like the ones that you see on this slide. So you know, we collect data from them across over 50 metrics, but I wanted to give you a snapshot here to just show you where these Organizations are at the moment. So you can see about you know, three-fourths to mark have implemented IA in Order-to-Cash. In contrast, if we look at FP&A, it’s score to 10. I think is really interesting here is because we’re talking about Global Business Services, you know, and typically that will include a multifunctional setup of finance, HR, IT, and procurement bound together by some common processes and technology. So a lot of you on the line may have HR Shared Services under your remit. We also know from our recent surveys, it’s you know that 60% of Organizations, Shared Services Organizations do have HR, which is actually just on par with FP&A. But it’s interesting to see the adoption of IA within HR is a little bit slower. But I absolutely you know, believe that within the next year or so these numbers are going to be vastly different because we’ve already started to see the huge benefits of IA across HR services. Again, on this slide, we’re looking at, you know, the processes where these, most artists has implemented IA, if you are interested in understanding what those benchmarks are, you know, even within order to cache we have over a dozen metrics across SSON and analytics, we have about 120, if you’re just an understanding, okay, what are the benchmarks across these areas, please do reach out to myself and Barbs, we’d be happy to take you through the study. I mean, we are happy to tell you how you can get logged in to the study to so really about this slide.

Barbara Hodge  [16:16]  

So to pivot now, we’ve talked a little bit about the challenges facing you, let’s talk about Talent Management, Workforce Management. So if we move on to the next slide, let me just Yep, perfect. Thank you, what defines your Workforce Strategy, right?. So here, when we ask practitioners within Shared Services, how they’re planning to adapt the workforce to the experience they’ve had over the past 15 months, retaining and retraining for higher level and value-added skills is the number one factor. And what that means is you’ve got your staff, you recognize they need a different skill set, partly because we’ve seen more automation creeping into the workplace, and therefore, rescaling employees is key. The second element, which goes hand in hand with that truly is adopting process automation, so that you are less reliant on human labor, and that I think, will resonate with everyone on this call. And then we also see in third place just under 50%, Machine Learning and Cognitive type solutions that drive more value. Now the reason and we’re going to hear a lot more about Machine Learning and Cognitive and AI in the next year or two is because they are now coming into their own in terms of Teaching Software, how to make smarter choices. Again, it’s all about freeing up employees, so that they can create more value add, just as a note, at the bottom, they gave us an option future of what principles are kind of what we planned here or meant here was really more of the resourcing element. And again, we see fewer people actually choosing this, but in truth, all the three options on top or part of future of work, right retraining staff, automating work that can be done and bringing in more Cognitive Solutions. So the big messages future of work through moving to higher value add.

Naomi Secor  [18:17]  

They haven’t wanted to look at how is digitalization impacting GBS Skill requirements. And so we can see here that 54% of existing skill profiles are key, but some additional ones are required. So you can see the data here, what I, you know, what’s really cool here is about a year ago that you’ll remember you’re very involved. The SSON  launched the startup zone where we wanted to bring the early-stage Business Services startups who are doing really innovative work in the area. And one of the categories that was really well represented at the startup zone was around this Talent, Intelligence, AI-driven knowledge base technologies. And what these companies do is they literally, they, you know, they use AI to sort through and build out extensive profiles from within your Organization. And so I think these types of technologies are going to become very, very important as we look at, you know, upskilling, and, you know, it’s more about the skills that you have less about the title and how we look at one of our right skills and competencies that are going to shape the workforce of the future. So definitely, you know, be on the lookout for these types of technologies. If you need any information on kind of what are some of these companies that do build out these extensive skill profiles do get in touch.

Barbara Hodge  [19:38]  

And I would just add to that on the certification we’ve recently partnered with a company to provide GBS certification. Again, we’re seeing a lot of interest in recertifying or rather upskilling and certifying Shared Services teams so, a big trend this year.

Naomi Secor  [19:56]  

That’s great. Thanks. Barbs, um, I moved us on for the next one which looks at the top two talent challenges and priorities. And so you know, as you can see, Data Analytics is still a big challenge. We have both been doing this for a long time. We, we absolutely love this topic. Unfortunately, we don’t see it moving fast enough in the right direction. So we can see organizations believe that it’s the way forward to drive the greatest value as the enterprise. But it’s also one of the biggest inhibitors. So right now, the majority of the respondents of basic Data Analytics, they tell us that it’s primarily descriptive. It’s based on the historic data that they know, they’re using some limited business intelligence tools, but only about 12% have progressed to any advanced analytics, right. And so we know we want to analyze the data for better decision support. And you know, the next thing is around, certainly problem-solving. Which is, which is another challenge. But I also think it’s interesting, if you look down here at Customer-Centricity, that it’s not a little bit higher, because everything that we’re doing when we’re analyzing our data, for better decision support, analyze ideas to improve our process, we’re bringing automation to improve our customer experience, both internally and externally. It’s all very much about the customer experience, even as we’re using Data Analytics, to drive new products and services that our customers want. And so, you know, we do need to look at this as a Customer-Centricity as an integrated part of the entire story. I didn’t know that if you wanted to add anything to this particular slide.

Barbara Hodge [21:34]  

Other than in a problem solving is really about customer service. So I think as Naomi said, we’ve seen these same top three gaps highlighted in the past four, three, or four years of doing our annual survey. And what is concerning is that we’re not seeing more progress. So it’s definitely these are the areas that we need to focus on. Okay, so we’ve done that for so let’s look at the future of work. Specifically, this is one of the top two trends that our survey last year identified, we can move on Thank you very much. Accelerated Automation and future of work. There are two trends. Two strategies that shared services are building a more resilient future on so what does the future of work include? It includes a number of things, we allowed people to choose multiple answers, which is why the percentages will add up to more than 100. First of all, where the work is done, is it done in an office? Is it done at home? The Hybrid Office is definitely the way of the future. Is it done outsourced? Or is done internally? So the were is a big deal, rethinking how the work is done? Is it done for humans? Or is it done through automation? So again, it’s a resourcing element that needs to be determined. New processes are coming into Shared Services scenarios, we see a lot of service line growth coming in as Shared Services have proven themselves on the Finance and Accounting, Human Resource, etc. The Business is more comfortable, senior management has more confidence in pushing more workshop services way and Shared Services can certainly do it. We see enhanced automation, of course, that’s going to play a very big part in how the work is done. And then I also want to point out roughly 50% chose rethinking the nature of current work, should it be done at all, it kind of brings us back to the BPR, The Business Process Reengineering days of 20 years ago. You know, as we automate and take human touchpoints out of the process, sometimes it gives you an opportunity to look at the process, even visually through some process mining solutions, to determine is it being done the right way? Just Automating the assets doesn’t make sense. And then, of course, who does the work and location less, even though that’s just a third of respondents? We believe certainly that in a year’s time, that will be bigger that will play a bigger role than it seems to be playing right now.

Naomi Secor [24:09]  

Certainly, and our Business Resiliency plans, you know, we’re seeing Organizations work for, you know, prepared, but pretty much all of them are really looking at these Business Resilience plans and each part of this process. I love this slide. So, next, so what’s changing that is as a result of the future?

Barbara Hodge [ 24:29]  

Well, the most common change, not the most imaginative is that remote work is embed embedded into Organizational design. This means that the Hybrid office is going to be a reality. We know that for sure. People will work at home, some will go into the office, it will probably rotate you’ll have to make decisions around who needs to come into the office. Something someone mentioned to me recently is we don’t want to come into the office to be a punishment for people like working at home. So you need to think carefully about why are they coming in. We know they can work from home. But maybe they need to come in for things that they cannot do at home collaboration, engagement, that kind of activity. Second, I’m going to lump the next two together, there’s a significant investment in technology, to improve transparency and communication across teams, and be to manage workflow to manage processes. So together, team communication and process management will be significantly enabled by technology. That’s a very important takeaway. And then again, we have the shift in skills to higher value-added work. But those are really the main takeaways from this slide.

Naomi Secor  [25:41]  

And we wanted to look at, you know, which lever are you prioritizing to drive future work? And I think, you know, we should kind of look at this in two buckets. First, 42% are driving future work in technology and redesigned process workflows, in 36% of them are focused on Team Engagement. And that work from home policy or those remote working policies. So you’ve got the harder side, but the tech and processes, you’ve got the softer element, each coming into play as a key player in driving the future of work strategy. So here we’re looking at is technology a Talent enabler? I touched on this before we saw that data analytics is the biggest Talent Hurdle, but yet, we also know that it’s going to drive the greatest value add to the enterprise. And so, you know, again, I think we’ve touched on this as we are increasingly moving as service consultants as the engines of Digital Transformation. And that is true, as RPA projects are being owned, managed, executed from Shared Services, we’re bringing in more scope when we start having discussions around moving from the back to the front, and the integrated data is what’s going to drive all of this. And so to the extent that we can improve upon this, let’s do that. And I know we are committed at SSON to developing content and events and opportunities for everybody to help increase their knowledge on this spectrum of Data, Analytics, Digitized Data, etc. So sorry, moving a little bit quickly want to get through all the slides. And then the next one. Yes. Hi, Daisy, I think we’ve got a poll here.

Daisy Ramirez  [27:18]  

Yes, thank you for leading us into our poll Naomi. I’m gonna go ahead and start. So the question is, to what extent are you using AR, AI/RPA in your organization. So we have one we are using AI/RPA capabilities to streamline most workflows. Two we are planning on including AI and other technologies into our processes. Three, we use AI, along with RPA and some extent. And Four, we are not sure about the AI Capabilities. So we’ll give them a few seconds to respond to those questions.

Barbara Hodge  [28:00]  

And what’s interesting here is where you’re at, you know, all RPA has been in the market for six years, maybe a decade, from the very early implementations. And we have talked a lot about Artificial Intelligence about AI. What we’ve seen very few use cases, I would say, up until about six to 12 months ago. And now we are seeing AI capabilities built-in. So I’m going to go ahead and jump to the results here, Daisey, the vast majority 83% went with using AI along with RPA to some extent, sorry, 71%. Actually, the percentage shifted nearly three quarters said to some extent. And then 14% said we’re using we are planning on using AI and Technologies in our processes. No one said most works. So we’re still very much at the early stage of AI, which is not a big surprise. And we’ll move on to this slide. Now, this talks, this looks a little bit more various solutions, right? So if we consider chatbots AI, Machine Learning RPA, and Blockchain, the question is, which solutions are you using in which processes we split them by Order to  Cash, etc, along the bottom, and what you can see is no surprise, Robotic Process Automation, it’s been around the longest, and we see the greatest penetration in the record to report. But auditor, again, 70% of respondents are using RPA and that’s kind of in the highest 60s. Other than HR processes and Customer Service, we see a lot of RPA. Now what’s interesting is the chatbot element again, as expected, you see it significantly in Customer Service and HR. And other than that within Finance Processes. Auditor has the highest if you like representation of chatbots 26%. So more than a quarter are using chatbots in order to see. Artificial Intelligence there were still a..

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