As companies move past the maturity level of scaled services across functions, GBS begins to provide expert services on top of the day-to-day transactional processes.
This is where data and analytics and cognitive automation come into play (see page How can cognitive automation enhance GBS?). Predictive and prescriptive analytics, properly targeted, help drive better-informed decision making.
The head of analytics services in the GBS of a major pharmaceutical company tells how their organization achieved savings totaling US$2 billion between 2008 and 2015 through revenue enhancements, cost containment and working capital improvements. As GBS organizations develop, companies can begin tying their value proposition directly to the C-suite agenda.
A company may be able to absorb the services of acquired companies in as little as 9 months, for example. “The GBS organization is helping to decommission systems, rationalize the workforce and increase the speed of obtaining critical information; all of these are of tremendous value,” says Bertheaud. But there has to be a strong backbone that can bear the pressure. “When you link disparate service providers by means of data and analytics, you need an organization with very disciplined processes and a very strong governance structure,” says Ryan.
A robust governance structure is an extremely important component in the success of GBS, but it works best when combined with other ingredients. “Standardized processes, a governance model, and organizational architecture on their own do not create value, but when they are all put together cohesively, they create value for a company,” says Machida.
n the past, the R&D department of pharmaceutical companies has not been included in GBS, even though the amount of spending on clinical research dwarfs what is spent on functions such as accounting and HR.“
A large company will often have hundreds of suppliers of clinical research without a clear view of whether they are all needed and whether the money is spent wisely. This is largely because the head of R&D is in a very powerful position at the heart of the company and has been able to keep itself separate from GBS,” says Altini.
“But changes are afoot,” says Phelan. “Before, R&D was the crown jewels. Now, things have shifted. A lot of companies are laying off their own researchers and partnering with others. The mindset is more open as to how to cut research timeframes and save money. One large pharmaceutical company is moving selected functions of R&D from New Jersey to Florida to save money. Every function, including components of R&D is being absorbed into GBS,” says Phelan.