Optimising financial processes

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Burning Down The House!

Last week saw a great virtual audience and speakers at Global Shared Services Leaders’ Summit 2021 courtesy of Susie, Sally, Sarah, Josh and the team at SharedServicesLink. You can get access to all the presentations at the end of this short treatise.

Discussing the aspirations for GBS leadership in the future was provided with a perfect counterpoint with some of the other speakers, absolutely at the top of their game and already demonstrating some of the characteristics Steve and I described. We heard from GBS leaders with impressive “VC influenced” 10x returns-on-change strategies, leaders that combined the expectations and responsibilities of both CIO and head of GBS leader (one of the “New House” characteristics that I predict will become much more prevalent), a focus on the value of truly end-to-end business processes

The roll call of global talent was impressive, including;

  • Tamsin Hoborough of Coca-Cola European Partners
  • Jennifer Sturch of McDonalds
  • Theresa Wilson-Szokalo of National Grid
  • Robert Weltevreden of Novartis
  • Phil Priest of Smith & Nephew  
  • Luca Condosta of ABB
  • Paul Dubbelman of Kraft Heinz
  • Joost van Daelen and Maayke Van Houdt of AkzoNobel   
  • Moustapha Ould Ibn Mogdad of BMS
  • Dan Foley of Kier
  • Andrew Atkinson of VP  

Steve Fox, former VP GBS at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and I addressed the topic of “Next Generation GBS” under the tongue in cheek title “We Never Really Meant to Burn the house Down”, referring to a talk I had given just prior to the COVID pandemic. Little did I realise that business globally was about to hit an “immovable object” which had the capacity to do far worse!

We reported back on the research that shows that GBS leaders have aspirations far beyond the core expectations and demands of their organizations and aim to deliver;

  • Enhanced Reputation as value creator as well as cost reducer
  • Centre of Excellence (CoE), with expertise to optimise and automate
  • End-to-End Business Process Collaboration
  • Digitised, integrated processes
  • Talent Pipeline for the entire business

For all of the havoc and pain caused over the past 13 months, in some ways, COVID has accelerated “Next Generation GBS” through major (unplanned) advances in;

  • Faster Response & Action
  • Remote, Separated Work
  • More Contactless Interfaces and Interactions
  • Integrated end-to-end Processes
  • Accelerated Digitization
  • Focus on Data

But many leaders are now seeing a new problem emerge, and the “engagement” or “sense of belonging” of colleagues in this new world is an increasing challenge.

We discussed The Burning “House” (Imperatives & Expectations) and some critical enablers to driving and sustaining GBS performance;

  • Making “global processes” work in practice
  • Establishing a “defect focus”
  • Building a winning culture and behaviours
  • Enabling Technologies & Delivering Business Value

Steve explained his principle of “Defectivity”. Defects, exceptions and anomalies drive many negative outcomes.  They decrease productivity, distract our teams, put our credibility at risk, and drive non-value added activity.  The good news is that driving defects from our processes can be accomplished by leveraging the data that already exists in our business. It exists, but may not be immediate accessible in a meaningful, focused way.

Once you define what a defect-free process flow looks like and identify/characterize the defects themselves, then you can utilize your data to identify where the breakdowns occur and eliminate a ultimately prevent them. These may not be simple tasks of prevention, rather some may require global process collaboration with various stakeholders to drive the necessary outcomes. This is part of the value creation of the next generation GBS team.

Establishing a focus on resolving defects and promoting a culture of root cause analysis is a critical success factor for leading GBS organizations.

We have this focus and approach a name. “Defectivity”.

We also talked about the some of the challenges in Business change and transformation, especially technology enabled change. The “trough of disillusionment “ and the  Value Anticipation Trough of Despair or “VATOD” and propose a strategy based on Pareto’s’ 80/2 rule. Not a simplistic interpretation, b ut one with governance, risk management and control that reduces the likelihood of future “technical debt” a.k.a the “Frankenstack”. You can see some appropriate visuals in the slides . . .

This Pareto way of thinking in implementing business change is already creating new and better ways of tackling some of the perennial issues we face, whether it is driving behavioural change in colleagues, suppliers, business partners and customers, or accelerating time to value in the Data-Action-Insight cycle.

You can browse the various sessions in the agenda below and you can access the slides/materials here . .

Thanks for reading . . . .