Pharmaceutical companies can learn from each other and from organizations in other industries the lessons they have drawn from their experience along the GBS journey.
Learning from other companies that have implemented GBS can accelerate implementation of the GBS model and quickly gain the benefits. Based on its extensive experience in guiding companies toward full GBS implementation, KPMG member firms have developed the following lessons to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities:
Pharmaceutical companies can smooth the transition up the maturity scale by ensuring that GBS implementation is closely aligned with the overall strategy of the company. This will help to determine the timing of the transition and investment priorities. If the pharmaceutical company is focused on inorganic growth, for example, then it should tailor the development of its GBS to prepare for the absorption of another company’s services into a unified structure.
Cognitive automation offers a powerful way for GBS to make gains quickly, dramatically reducing costs and speeding up time to market. Data and analytics should be used to identify areas for service delivery and measurement as well as those for process improvements and rationalization. Once GBS has developed the analytical capabilities, they can be offered to the business as a valuable service to support enterprise goals.
Many companies are hindered by fragmented, overlapping IT systems and applications that will impede the transition to GBS maturity. If GBS priorities are aligned with the company’s overall strategy, then the timing of investments in things like ERP consolidation and software harmonization will benefit both GBS and the enterprise as a whole.
To build support for their objectives, successful GBS organizations clearly explain the overall business benefits of the model to the enterprise. Early wins gained from the transition are communicated to the entire company, and especially the Board and senior management, to build momentum behind structural change.
GBS organizations have to topple silos, disassemble fiefs and strengthen IT support for the initiatives. All of these require consummate change management skills coupled with strong governance capabilities to support complex GBS operations.
A successful GBS organization is a compelling career opportunity. The best way to attract the most promising employees is to train them in the skills that will be most effective, both within GBS and in the rest of the company. Then rotate staff both within GBS and between GBS and the business.
Over-reaching and implementing GBS too fast can lead to a backlash. For companies that have grown by acquisition or have siloed services, centralizing the delivery of functions may have to move gradually. By taking a more process-focused approach that links shared services with the retained organization, companies might gain sustainable cost benefits. Based on KPMG’s experience in working with clients on implementing GBS in the pharmaceutical industry, we have identified 10 best practices that GBS leaders are focused on (see figure).