Taking a Pulse on the Global Business Services Market: Results from the Front Lines

Stan Lepeak, Global Research Director, KPMG LLP Advisory

KPMG recently released the results of its global 4Q12 Sourcing Advisory Pulse (Pulse) surveys. These Pulse surveys provide insights into trends and projections in end-user organizations’ usage of global business services (GBS). A prior blog reviews the highlights of this quarter’s Pulse.

Below are the results from the online polling that occurred as part of the Pulse release Webcast held on January 24.  They reinforce the findings from the Pulse survey itself.

Figure 1 illustrates demand trending for shared services as compared to IT and business process outsourcing.  It reaffirms that buyer interest in the use of shared services has increased relative to the use of outsourcing over the past year though firms are often sticking with their existing sourcing model.

Figure 2 highlights the top initiative organizations have on their collective agendas for 2013.  Similar to findings from the Pulse survey that polled third-party business and IT service providers as well as KPMG member firm professionals globally, continue to drive down operating costs is the top initiative identified.   Note that in the trends polling questions (Figures 2-4) respondents could only select one response compared to five in the Pulse survey. 

Figure 3 examines the top challenges organizations face in undertaking these initiatives.   As with the Pulse, dysfunctional and fragmented organizational and operating  models, designs and processes are the top challenge.  Talent shortages are another top challenge cited.

Figure 4 depicts what are perceived as the most important capabilities and skills required to successfully undertake the initiatives outlined.  Smart and innovative management and management practices are the top capability cited, followed by collective “big data” skills as well as global business services capabilities. 

Finally, the Pulse examined the levels of different sourcing skills typical organizations possess to undertake and manage global business services efforts.   In general, there is much room for improvement with these skills.  The polling question queried participants on the importance of improving these skills (see Figure 5).  Given the criticality of improving these skills to GBS success, greater urgency is needed to improve them. 

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