Taking a Pulse on the Global Business Services Market: Seeking Success via (More) Shared Services

Stan Lepeak, Global Research Director, KPMG LLP Advisory

KPMG LLP recently released the results of its global third quarter 2012 Sourcing Advisory Pulse surveys. These Pulse surveys provide insights into trends and projections in end-user organizations’ usage of global business services (GBS). The learnings are gleaned from KPMG member firms’ advisors, who are working closely with end-user organizations that are actively exploring or undertaking GBS initiatives, as well as from leading global business and IT service providers. 

This quarter’s study features an analysis of trends in the usage of global shared services. Relative demand for domestic shared services has increased over the past year (see Figure 1), though buyers maintain a growing global footprint for their global business services operations (see Figure 2). Finance and accounting and human resources are the business functions most commonly placed into a shared services environment, though there is an increased interest in using shared services to deliver sourcing and procurement services. Overall, KPMG finds increased buyer interest in placing a broad range of business activities into a shared services environment, including strategic work such as data analytics and sales, and marketing support functions.

While some have viewed shared services as a precursor to outsourcing, there is a range of scenarios and situations where buyers see shared services as complementary or preferable to the use of outsourcing. In some cases this is because of the nature of work being performed, and in others it is more simply because buyers feel they can perform the work better or cheaper than an outsourcer. KPMG does typically find, however, that firms with experience and success in the use of shared services tend to have more success with outsourcing.

Organizations must perform thorough assessments to determine the preferred delivery model mix for a given functional area, and develop a sound means to measure the performance and success of each model. The value proposition and success metrics for shared services operations are evolving. Leading organizations today receive measureable business value from shared services—above and beyond driving costs down—via consolidation, automation, and labor arbitrage. These organizations are assuming a more commercial orientation to the business. This involves driving and improving overall business performance as well as competing for internal business on level ground with external service providers. KPMG’s ongoing global business services research efforts closely examine how organizations are driving the maturity of their global shared services efforts.

To access findings from other recent KPMG market trend surveys, please view our whitepapers on the KPMG Shared Services and Outsourcing Institute.

And to receive the latest insights from KPMG, join the KPMG Institutes.  Be sure to customize your profile by selecting “Shared Services” and “Outsourcing” along with other interest areas.



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