Market experience with global business services

“The concept of shared services is proven but has come of age now. A logical next step is the global business services model of tomorrow, which is multifunctional, fully integrated, end-to-end process oriented and has the power to support the transformation of your business. The journey to this point has been lengthy and many organizations still have some way to go. However, the direction of travel is clear,” says Christian Mertin, Shared Services Network Leader for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), Ernst & Young.

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One of the drivers of this trend is the economic environment, as the world struggles to recover from the financial crisis and subsequent global recession. That slowdown has forced companies to look closely at the bottom line – to think hard about how the cost of operating is impacting margins.

The shared services approach not only offers cost savings, but also boosts a business’s scalability. In a recovery that has been unusually volatile, many companies are having to cope with sudden and extreme shifts in demand. A single global business services unit enables the organization to scale operations up or down more efficiently and speedily – in line with both organic growth and M&A activity.

A third key driver for the trend toward multifunctional shared services is the emergence of technology to facilitate the shift.

While the multifunctional approach certainly can deliver additional savings, its allure lies in its transformative potential. With processes that cut across different functions, offering end-to-end service and applications that go beyond transactional tasks into very high-value work, the fully evolved global business services unit operates as a partner to the business, as well as a service provider.

This article presents views from a number of global businesses, such as the pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector enterprise, and Henkel, the global consumer and industrial products group.

The complete article was written by:

  • Christian Mertin
    Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, India
  • Dominic Hollis
    Director, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, UK & Ireland
  • Martin Weis
    Senior Manager, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, Switzerland

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