Global Business Services in the age of COVID-19 and beyond


Global Business Services in the age of COVID-19 and beyond

Surviving the business onslaught of the pandemic

Insights how organisations can recover stronger by revamping business continuity, their workforce and workplace, and technology stack. Guest contribution by PMI.

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GBS Business Continuity in the limelight

Responding to the global lockdowns, Global Business Services were quick to enable their own workforce and maintain service, whilst also successfully supporting the wider business in establishing work-from-home (WFH) infrastructure.

Nevertheless, GBS leaders will need to revamp their Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and associated capabilities in light of COVID-19, namely:

  • Analyse: Operationalise lessons learned.
  • Develop and Update: Build defences for the future.
  • Implement and Test: Evaluate operational responsiveness.

This will allow organisations to be better poised to deliver future work with minimal disruption.

All our existing business continuity plans that were built on the premise of a single location being disrupted had to be swiftly redesigned.

Natarajan Gopalan, Head of Integrated Business Services and Finance Transformation at Philip Morris International

The Future of Work for GBS during COVID-19 and beyond

COVID-19 has propelled many GBS organisations into the future of work within a fortnight. It has amplified the need to rethink how work is delivered, the composition and management of the workforce and that of the workplace itself.

To emerge stronger from COVID-19 we believe that workforce strategies in the recovery phase will be best orchestrated through five critical actions: reflect, recommit, re-engage, rethink, and reboot. These actions can help organisations to bridge the crisis response to the new normal by laying the foundation to thrive in the aftermath of the crisis. The “next normal” requires thoughtful consideration of the work, workforce and workplace.

Winning in the new normal

Natarajan Gopalan, Head of Integrated Business Services and Finance Transformation at Philip Morris International envisions that, fundamentally, GBS strategies will not be changed by COVID-19. Instead, the crisis has shown the imperative of a cross-organisational mindset that is intensely curious, open to learning, flexible in approach and intensely customer focused.

The key consideration to this being:

  • An accelerated focus on digital innovation
  • Moving to an even more agile and learning organisation
  • Empathetic and firm leadership

Read the full report for Gopalan’s contribution “Winning in the new normal”.

Invest in a partnership ecosystem to strengthen your GBS network

The lockdowns around the world and subsequent unique working conditions highlighted the need for advanced and cooperative vendor management governance. Strong partnerships with third parties and/or business customers allow for the delivery of best-in-class services and foster a resilient environment.

The COVID-19 crisis has shown the benefit of well-developed networks and partnerships to ascertain successful service delivery.

Technology adoption, data security and the benefits of digital maturity

The recovery from this crisis and ability for GBS organisations to thrive going forward will be directly linked to the ability to increase the level of digital maturity. Those already extensively leveraging digital solutions were better prepared.

GBS leaders will need to continue to invest in:

  • Collaboration platforms to enable virtualisation
  • Digital employee experience
  • Digital end-to-end integration
  • Task-based automation
  • Ensuring data availability and security
  • Training on overall security practices

Adapting to the new reality

Overall, GBS organisations are well positioned to overcome the foreboding challenges. GBS leaders must move quickly to enable their processes and people, implementing flexible workplace models (incl. WFH setups), leveraging digital interventions and forging of stronger partnerships to deliver best-in-class services. This will cement the position of GBS position as the one stop shop for all business users in such difficult times.

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