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A practical approach based on sharing knowledge, external benchmarking and accelerated workshops ensured we were able to deliver agreement on a model for global business services where previous attempts had failed.

The background

The client is a manufacturer and retailer with a global footprint. Aware of pressures emerging from new markets, they wanted to proactively assess the benefits a global business services model could offer for the future. It was clear that the back office functions had the potential to deliver more of a competitive advantage and greater agility for the organisation.

Our aim was to leverage our extensive experience of global business services to help the organisation make an informed and confident decision to move forward with a new strategy that would put them in a strong position. 

The challenge

When we started working with the client, the organisation had around 1800 employees spread across multiple locations around the globe.  Many were completing similar functional roles in different ways. It was clear that the organisation had strengths in creativity and ambition but in some areas lacked the structure, compliance and focus on processes to introduce efficiencies. 

As we often see, decisions that impact multiple functions across different geographies involve a large number of stakeholders, often with conflicting priorities. Three previous attempts to assess and agree a business services model for the organisation had not been successful.

What we delivered

Sharing knowledge and experience

  • Delivered a ‘global business services master class’ to the operational leadership team – based on practical experience from the many business service set ups carried out by the Proservartner team.

  • Enabled the senior team to develop a shared understanding of what global business services would mean for the organisation as well as the challenges and opportunities they would need to consider.

Relevant analysis and healthy challenge

  • Analysed internal data and mapped processes to understand where tasks were carried out within each function – Finance, HR, Procurement, IT and Legal – and the potential benefits that could be delivered by moving work to a different location.

  • Utilised our established benchmarking tools to build a case for investment based on the potential for improvement within each function compared to external organisations.

  • Challenged the leadership team to take a forward-thinking approach and work through what the model would need to deliver for at least the next seven years.

Structured decision making through accelerated workshops

  • Delivered a series of workshops designed to provide information and practical options to allow key decisions to be made in manageable stages.

  • Workshops covered key areas including the operating model, skills, technology, governance, locations and business case development.

  • Developed an ambitious but realistic and pragmatic plan for implementation that functional leaders/teams could buy-in to.

The results

The process we followed allowed the client to gain Board buy-in and sign-off for the business case where three previous attempts had failed. The level of structured thinking resulted in a strategy that the functional leaders and teams could practically see how to implement, and what it would mean for the organisation in the short and longer term.

The team adopted the Proservartner approach to global business services set up and we have supported them with expertise and specialist resource throughout the journey. We have helped them build their own capability, enabling them to deliver more using their own resource.

The organisation now has a new business services delivery model (with centres in Poland, Costa Rica and Malaysia), that brings greater agility, efficiency, clearer roles and governance structures, more documented processes and a focus on solutions. The model has delivered approximately £24 million in annual savings.

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