Optimising financial processes

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Survey Insights on Integrated Business Services

The vision of common, standardized, centralized business services has come a long way, as has the value delivered for global businesses.

But you could argue there has been some soul searching for “identity”, mission and purpose.

Framing the capability as “Shared Services”, “Global Business Services”, “Integrated Business Services” (IBS) reflects that journey . .

Deloitte delivered another insightful report this year on IBS and I include some highlights below, and you can access the report itself.

IBS is increasingly multifunctional in scope, with Finance leading the way with HR, Procurement and IT increasingly engaged.

Leadership is changing, and progress is being made on diversity. More than 80% indicated that a third of their leadership teams are composed of minorities and women.

Delivery models are shifting to be more remote, virtual, and location-agnostic. There is an understandably increasing emphasis on developing strong culture, well-being, and flexible work practices to retain talent.

Process efficiency and standardization has overtaken cost reduction as a primary objective for investing in GBS. Efficiency and standardization tend to drive cost reduction in addition to enhanced agility, which is an increasingly critical quality, as the last 20 months have demonstrated.

Organizations have adopted the digital agenda. For many, the split between the digital leadership of the CIO and that of IBS remains a challenge. Governance being a critical issue with oversight required for strategic technologies, as well as “rapid response technologies”, process specific applications, cloud services and data insight applications. It is an increasingly complex landscape. A growing number of IBS organizations combine the function and role of the CIO with that of the head of Business Services. That makes a lot of sense and trends to enhance organizational agility.

IBS are beginning to realize more significant benefits from RPA implementation, although as Gartner points out “the use of RPA has grown exponentially, delivering speed, efficiency and cost optimization. But RPA doesn’t scale easily. CFOs now need to focus on additional technologies that cover increasingly complex, dynamic processes requiring human judgment.”

Data – the aspiration of Data Driven Decision making remains a challenge. Among CFOs surveyed by Accenture, 99 percent want to use real-time data to improve decision-making, yet only 16 percent can do so.”. IBS is developing analytics and reporting capabilities, and is well-positioned to drive value but needs to focus on “time to value” and the Pareto Principle to deliver on the ambition. There is significant headroom for additional ROI from targeted, process specific data investments.

There is an increasing focus on better customer experience with user-centric design and self-service capabilities.

You can access the Deloitte 2021 report itself here . . .

It makes for an interesting read.