Deloitte's Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey 2023: Leading Global Business Services (GBS) Organizations Align Closely with C-Suite Objectives

Priorities Include Cost Reduction, Standardization & Digital, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Processes

NEW YORK, Aug. 22, 2023 —

Key takeaways

  • GBS organizations are making strides in delivering transformational capabilities to their companies to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
  • The world’s largest companies are accelerating digital capabilities like automation, analytics, and reporting to become more customer centric.
  • GBS organizations are also promoting social responsibility and diversity and supporting a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) processes. 

Why this matters

Since 1999, Deloitte has been conducting biennial surveys to understand how organizations are leveraging shared services and outsourcing service delivery models to address their business challenges and better meet customer needs. This report highlights leading practices and trends on how these models are evolving and generating value. Deloitte’s 2023 Global Shared Services Survey received approximately 500 responses across six industries and 12 sectors. In 2023, it’s clear shared services centers (SSCs) and GBS models are becoming more agile, digital and cost efficient in a constantly evolving environment, as they seek to provide better customer and employee experiences and improve efficacy. 

Top priorities

Service delivery models exist in a state of evolution. This can be seen year after year as some of the world’s largest companies are transforming to leverage global, multifunctional and hybrid working models to keep up with dynamic economic conditions. This year’s study revealed six key themes for GBS organizations:

  • Cost reduction – GBS continues to focus on cost reduction as the number one objective, with many SSCs relocating to more cost-efficient locations in response to tight labor markets and changing global dynamics.
  • Key enablers – By adopting key enablers including automation, single instance enterprise resource planning (ERP) and workflow tools, GBS organizations are driving more value. Additionally, there is an increased interest in global standard processes, centralized analytics and self-service models.
  • ESG – GBS is playing a key role in ESG, with approximately 50% of GBS organizations reporting ESG as a focus area. Within that area, promoting social responsibility and diversity also emerged as a top priority.
  • C-suite alignment – Survey results reveal that mature GBS organizations (of over seven years) are reporting primarily to a GBS leader, with CFOs serving as the most common C-suite GBS leader.
  • Customer and user experience – GBS organizations are providing value as business partners through an increased focus on customer and user experience. To assist in this process, over 50% of GBS organizations have adopted automation, reporting and analytics, end to end process ownership and business continuity planning.
  • Agile talent models – GBS organizations are finding new ways to build agile and resilient talent models by expanding work-from home, accelerating the digital agenda and implementing flexible work hours to retain talent in challenging environments. Well-being opportunities, upskilling and better compensation also aid retention. 

Enabling technology

What key enablers are helping GBS organizations become more agile, digital and cost efficient? Amid tightening economic conditions, successful GBS organizations are transforming to leverage global, multifunctional and hybrid working models. In addition to expanding traditional functional scope, GBS organizations are investing in single instance ERP and workflow tools to enhance standardized processes and centralized analytics & reporting capabilities in the future. Over the years, automation has remained the most desirable digital enabler and is expected to be a key focus area in the next few years. Centralized analytics reporting and performance dashboards have jumped sharply from ninth position in 2021 to fourth position in 2023, with organizations evolving in their digital journeys through persona-based performance dashboards linked to leadership goals and objectives. While cloud capabilities have become table stakes for many organizations, GBS are increasingly leveraging the cloud as an enabler for tools and capabilities such as automation, ERP, workflow tools and analytics.

Key quotes

“GBS functions are continuing to push the envelope in transitioning beyond back-office to be strategic partners. While the traditional GBS functions—finance, human relations (HR) and information technology (IT)—are still the most predominant across all industries, we’ve also seen a rise in expansion within these functions and including more mid and front office functions.”

- Sonal Bhagia, managing director, Global Business Services, Deloitte Consulting LLP 

“In 2023, GBS organizations are in a pivotal moment of change. By transitioning to the driver’s seat in driving transformation for the organization and aligning to the C-suite priorities, it’s clear GBS organizations are becoming more agile and getting tightly aligned with the enterprise. And with a hyper-focus on customer and user experience, by leveraging analytics and emerging technologies, GBS organizations are posed to provide increasingly more value as ‘the Center Office’ than ever before.”

- Parag Saigaonkar, partner, Global Business Services, Deloitte Consulting LLP 

For additional results from Deloitte’s Global Shared Services and Outsourcing Survey, read the full report here.

About Deloitte
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