Global Business Services: Where do you rank and what does that mean to your return on equity?

Stan Lepeak, Global Research Director, KPMG LLP Advisory
Rick Bertheaud, Principal, KPMG LLP Advisory

Simply put, Global Business Services (GBS) is the use of shared services and outsourcing to support operations globally.  KPMG looks at many clients and models and has amalgamated a scale upon which an organization can understand where they are in their journey to GBS maturity. 

GBS mostly began in finance and accounting (F&A), information technology (IT) and human resources (HR), but now it often includes other processes such as procurement, supply chain, facilities management, call center services and so on–across the globe–delivering services consistently and for a determined cost and level of service.  While some services are tailored regionally or by design, there is a lot to be learned from other firms’ experiences.

On average, the more mature GBS organizations in our research delivered a four percent higher return on equity.

So there’s real payback to investing in and developing a strong GBS strategy.  We know this journey doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Some companies focus on a function and build out geographically.  Others focus on regions, and then migrate.  Some stumble.  Some never get from a pure functional view to an end-to-end process view. 

Some have derived great benefit from implementing GBS in North America and Europe, but have made little headway in other parts of the world.  In most cases, the journey zig zags where an enterprise may be three years ahead in finance, and they’re just now beginning HR, or vice versa.

It’s not uncommon.  Everything can’t be uniformly pushed out, so while some services may reach number 5 on our five-point scale, others may reach a 2.  But that’s okay.  GBS is all about the journey–not just for clients, but for us as well.   We are continuously learning how the best are evolving and building that knowledge into our thinking and practice.

It’s this research and our ability to bring it to clients that keeps delivering value. If you are interested in learning more about GBS and the KPMG GBS scale, we invite you to visit the KPMG Shared Services and Outsourcing Institute and read the research paper Global Business Services Innovation: Optimizing the Business Model for Competitiveness.

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