Newsletters

Optimising financial processes

Posted on:

Lisbon & The State of the (Transformation) Nation . . .


We talk a lot about this word Transformation

In Mathematics, “transformation” is defined as “a process by which one figure, expression, or function is converted into another one of similar value”. Is that your aspiration? Me neither . . .

More impressive definitions include “the genetic alteration of a cell by introduction of extraneous DNA, especially by a plasmid”  Hmmm  . . . .

“A marked change in form, nature, or appearance”.

“A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal. involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt (rapid) change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation”

THAT’S more like it . . .

So, I have just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Lisbon and the Shared Services & Outsourcing Week conference where we explored topics of efficiency, business value, end-to-end processes, digitization, automation vs augmentation, customer experience, EQ, talent, stakeholder engagement, outsourcing and operating models.

And, of course, TRANSFORMATION . . .

I admit I also explored some great Alentejo wines, but that is for another day . . .

Some discussions on “Ownership” really resonated with me. The very word creates division and can be a barrier to effective collaboration. The “GBS Landlord Model” discussion, with Susanne Dreyer (Shell), Jessica Shields (Dexcom) and Michael van der Ploeg (Amway) really amplified this idea.

Why do we spend so much time on trying to advance the idea that we “own” things?

Nobody “owns” a customer or a supplier, although they may be responsible for engagement with them or accountable for outcomes. Does anyone really “own” a process. We want collaborators, influencers, catalysts and orchestrators more than “owners” . . . 

There was also an impressive interrogation of a group of BPO leaders conducted under the “truth serum” of Deborah Kops, which explored the gap between promise and outcomes. I hope that was recorded . . . 

We, of course, discussed AI, and it its more gregarious younger sibling, Generative AI, but I have started to see the faint signs of “indigestion” from a surfeit of GenAI discussion . . . 

We will be much more effective when we can consistently navigate the short cut past “The Peak of Inflated Expectations” as described by Gartner in their “Hype Cycle” through to the “Slope of Enlightenment” to the “Plateau of Productivity”. That’s where the magic is.

We are starting to realise that Generative AI will not “transform” end-to-end processes, or even automate them, but it will provide valuable task augmentation, enabling the “Human in the Loop” to be more effective and deliver greater value to the business and customers. We should not underestimate this, but be clear on the difference between automation and augmentation.

The venerable Tom Bangemann, aka T-Bang, summarised the latest SSON Research & Analytics survey results which are uplifting or disappointing, depending on your tenure in the industry!

As T-Bang explained, some of the results on average performance achievements have not moved the dial much in 30 years . . .  BUT, the devil is in the detail . . and we will be hearing more from Tom, both on GBS strategy & performance and musically.

There was so much more, but my brain is full . . .

My key takeaway?

  • We need a bias for action on all fronts.
  • No plan survives first contact with the enemy.
  • “Fail Fast” has become “ Learn Fast”
  • We must lean in to the “art of execution”.

“The do-ers are the major thinkers. It’s easy to take credit for the thinking. But when you dig deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people that worked through the hard intellectual problems.”  Steve Jobs

Thanks for reading . . .