Shift from back office to center office

The role of the back office is rapidly changing to support enhanced enterprise integration and breakdown of silos across functions. Traditional back office shared services models are becoming irrelevant as the role of digital expands, with machines and automation redefining work and its delivery.

There is a shift in focus from task execution to business outcomes and anticipation of customer needs. The back office to center office shift is likely the next evolution of global business services (GBS) and shared services and can help build the resilient and adaptable delivery models that are increasingly in demand.

The new model leverages enterprise-wide data and brings together cross-functional talent to deliver end-to-end services. Furthermore, it also delivers cross-functional capabilities such as automation, analystics and continuous inprovement as a service while being focused on customer experience.

Center office models can:

  1. Deliver specialized cross-functional capabilities as-a-service to the enterprise
  2. Overcome a distributed technology landscape with cross-functional scale and digital capabilities and tools
  3. Hyperfocus on customer and user experience, not just on efficiency
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However, there is no single center office model that can serve as a silver bullet for all organizations. „One size does not fit all”: The key to shifting the lens and mindset from the back office to the center office lies in moving from transactions and tasks to anticipating and delivering on business outcomes, which are different for every organization. The right model depends on the ambition of the organization’s leaders, current distribution of work and organizational structures, the level of maturity of existing capabilities and the culture and level of executive sponsorship.

Change is the new normal and it transcends geographical borders and industries. Disruptive events such as the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, market trends, and rapidly changing technology are forcing organizations to adapt fast and be prepared to do it frequently. These outside factors require reimagining work and how it’s delivered across the enterprise. Organizations that renew their perspective on what kind of work and capabilities can be delievered on a shared, seamless basis across the enterprise can outperform their competitors. 

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