Of all the factors driving the success of global business services (GBS), information technology (IT) is one of the most critical – but IT is all too often overlooked or under-appreciated. Few organizations have a formal strategy or take a structured and systematic approach to leveraging and utilizing IT to drive innovation into their operations and deliver greater strategic value. These are some of the key findings from a survey of leading business and IT service providers and sourcing advisory professionals with KPMG International’s member firms advising clients on the front lines.
KPMG’s research shows that companies with more mature GBS are moving their view of IT from technology provider to more broadly focused service integrator that:
The current survey suggests organizations are in the early stages of shifting their IT models toward closer integration of IT operations with the GBS efforts they support. At 31 percent, the most common model cited by advisors is one in which GBS and IT operations are separated organizationally but integrated from a planning and governance standpoint. Only about 12 percent of advisors cited fully or partially integrated IT models.
When it comes to supporting more integrated GBS operations, the fewer instances of enterprise software or ERP (e.g. SAP, Oracle) systems deployed globally, the better. Most firms with more integrated ERP environments and less ERP instances have more mature GBS operations. Nearly one-third of KPMG consultants say that typical clients have multiple different IT systems with non-standardized and harmonized data architectures and standards. Just five percent say clients have a single instance of an ERP system.
Advisors say IT adds the most value in providing a standardized set of IT processes and tools that can be leveraged for business services management.
The second biggest value contribution comes from IT’s provision of a standardized platform that can support integrated GBS efforts across functions, geographies and business units.
The area where IT earned the lowest ranks is in enabling GBS operations to increase high-level process automation via “robotics process automation” (RPA). While RPA is a hot topic in today’s market, most organizations have a long way to go to execute on it.
The top two areas where advisors say IT groups typically add the most value to GBS efforts are in:
The area identified as having the most room for improvement was in providing insights into industry best practices for IT GBS and helping interpret them in the context of the current GBS organization.
Just one percent of advisors and no providers say that typical GBS accounts have dedicated and well-funded efforts to develop innovative IT solutions for GBS operations coordinated across functions, geographies and business units. These findings show that IT is typically an underutilized resource when it comes to improving organizations’ GBS maturity and capabilities.
While IT groups and IT itself can support a range of improved GBS efforts, the emphasis on deploying a standardized platform is arguably the most critical. High-performing and highly integrated IT operations and systems are key to enabling the other high-value capabilities, such as data analytics, access to required operational data, and maintaining secure and robust communications among GBS groups and third-party partners, suppliers and customers.