Is our approach to GBS enough?

How today’s leaders in global business services are delivering on its promise

Remember when global business services (GBS) was the hot new thing? From its beginning, it was defined as "the future of all operating models"—an integrated, seamless network of back- and middle-office functions that delivers critical business services centrally. It would forever change the role and value of enabling functions.

That was only a few years ago. But given the significant number of early GBS adopters, there is already a wealth of experiences on which others can draw. Early leaders in GBS are far enough along to make a clear-eyed assessment of what they’ve achieved with GBS, where they may be at risk of falling short, and why— and you can learn from their experiences.

Broadly speaking, these organizations fit into these categories:

  • "We only got as far as shared services!" These companies made significant progress by establishing shared services capabilities, but stopped short of pursuing GBS.
  • "We tried—but we fell short." These companies had lofty ambitions for GBS, but were hamstrung by a number of obstacles, ultimately abandoning their bids for GBS.
  • "We’ve found a different model that works for us." Companies in this category preserved many of the aspects of GBS most relevant to their business, but don’t adhere to any hard-and-fast GBS rules.

What about all the companies that signed on for GBS and have achieved their goals? In reality, there are precious few companies that belong in this category. Even among leaders, most are still not operating in a true GBS environment. They have many of the hallmarks of the original GBS vision in place —but not enough to claim outright victory in their quest for GBS success. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at exactly which practices they are adopting to achieve the true vision of GBS—so that you may more clearly map out your own organization’s path to GBS value.

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