The evolution of global business services: Enhancing the benefits of shared services and outsourcing

July 2011
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Adoption of shared services and outsourcing drives the need for a global business services framework: PwC

At a glance

A well-executed global business services strategy is distinctly different from the narrower focuses of shared services and outsourcing strategies. It identifies corporate objectives and encourages internal functions to collaborate with each other and third-party service providers to create breakthrough, strategic operational capabilities that drive business outcomes that can result in real marketplace differentiation and competitive advantage.

In today’s business environment, nine out of every ten enterprises have shared services and 97 percent manage outsourcing relationships. However, the majority have yet to benefit from combining shared services and outsourcing into one integrated global business services framework.

A well-executed global business services strategy is distinctly different from the narrower focuses of shared services and outsourcing strategies. It identifies corporate objectives and encourages internal functions to collaborate with each other and third-party service providers to create breakthrough, strategic operational capabilities that drive business outcomes that can result in real marketplace differentiation and competitive advantage.

When employing a full-lifecycle global business services framework, it is essential to ensure goal alignment, execution and ongoing governance. As more organizations leverage global business services strategies to align business objectives and obtain economies of scale, outsourcing has become an important tool to accelerate and complement shared services strategies. However, executives should be wary of relying too heavily on uncoordinated hybrid strategies. The goal of a global business services strategy is not only to source globally, but also to leverage shared services, outsourcing and third-party investments to advance the objectives of the enterprise. It is a new approach to managing global sourcing.