PwC and HfS Research evaluate the future of Global Business Services

Study identifies drivers and results of organizational efforts to improve business support services


NEW YORK, June 20, 2012PwC US and HfS Research today released “The Future of Global Business Services,” an analysis of how organizations maximize the impact of their shared service, Global Business Service (GBS), and outsourcing strategies.  The study found that while organizations largely achieve the global sourcing objectives they focus on, such as cost reduction, they are challenged to achieve other related objectives such as scalability, flexibility, and innovation unless disciplined focus is applied.  The study included a survey of 325 senior business operations with responsibility for shared services and outsourcing strategy. The survey was conducted between February and March 2012.

According to the PwC and HfS Research report, shared services create substantial value and have had the most positive impact on: internal operating costs, productivity/operating efficiency, and contribution to corporate business strategies. The study also reveals that outsourcing infrequently delivers significant impact beyond cost reduction.

“The tide is shifting and organizations have begun putting less relative importance on cost reduction objectives and greater emphasis on objectives such as talent management, organizational efficiency, scalability, and flexibility,” said Dr. Charles Aird, U.S. and Global Leader of PwC’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory Practice. “This shows the progress that this industry has made as Global Business Services evolves from being an operational approach to a strategic one, becoming more integrated into companies’ business objectives.”

Phil Fersht, Founder, Chief Executive Officer of HfS Research, added, “Our findings reveal that there are still a significant number of organizational functions that can use shared services or outsourcing delivery models much more extensively and effectively. Our research shows the continuous development of this industry and which elements of GBS are going to be fundamental in years to come.”

“The Future of Global Business Services” provides additional insight into considerations for organizations’ shared services strategies, including:

  • Organizations are leveraging global shared services and outsourcing delivery centers on a regional basis to address global needs
  • Programs with centralized governance organizations, such as Global Business Services, create the best outcomes
  • Shared services and hybrid models are the primary service delivery model for HR, finance, procurement, and customer service
  • Hybrid or shared services delivery models are the dominant choice across all industries
  • Programs that have greater alignment with corporate strategies create better outcomes
  • Those who manage shared services and outsourcing performance create better outcomes

“Our research points to the notion that the benefits of expanding shared services and outsourcing can be fleeting unless appropriate governance and performance management are addressed,” said Dr. Aird of PwC. “However, when organizations have centralized governance teams and follow-through on an appropriate management strategy, they will find the benefits of GBS can be profound.”

For an executive summary of “The Future of Global Business Services,” visit

To learn more about PwC’s Shared Services and Outsourcing Advisory practice, visit

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Suzanne Dawson
Linden Alschuler & Kaplan
Tel: +1 (212) 329-1420                                            

Tricia Bolger
HfS Research
Tel: +1 (617) 875-7816