INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW ARTICLE WITH MR. DEEPAK KUMBHAT,
Director Global Finance Shared Service Organisation
What are the top 5 factors that enterprises should keep in mind to build as they build and mature their shared services?
- Hire not for today but keeping one eye on tomorrow, resources that are keen to own the process and adapt to changing dynamics.
- Choose technology intervention wisely – One show does not fit all.
- Transformation programs – Next generation shared services are essential to stay competitive.
- Global processes helps in swift actions – Move away from geography specific process to global standard process. Invest in process excellence.
- Capability development – Drift from being a processing center to capability center. Shared services when act as engine for growth for organisation, that is the real value of SSO. See shared service as strategic partner to CXO.
How do you see the GBS organization of the future look like? What factors will contribute to its changes?
Emotional intelligence quotient / soft skill, attitude, and courage to take calculated risk are the key differentiators. The GBS become real when you have the right skilled people with upright attitude who are ready to venture into unknown.
People are doing jobs they were hired to do yesterday, but those jobs are gone. We need them to do the job that exists today. If they are not seeing what the opportunities are, they are not empowering themselves and they are not stepping into the gaps.
GBS will see the Emotional intelligence quotient will percolate deep down in the organisation allowing people to take decision and go beyond the standard operating procedure. Workforce will need to see big picture beyond their tasks and look to own the process chain and impact of their work on it.
Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to see your infinite possibilities. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
Shared service / GBS will be more partners to organisation. We are already seeing the transition from being a processing center to capability centers.
What is the role of a GBS leader in building a digitally mature organization?
Intelligent Automation is not a “thing to do” anymore but rather a “way we do things.”
Robotic process automation is becoming increasingly recognized as the “gateway drug” to digital transformation.
The role of GBS leader is to find a fine balance between technical know how and functional knowledge so that benefit of technology can be optimized. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a technology, and we need to shift to PPA (Pragmatic Process Automation). It is the fine balance of technology and functional knowledge that will make it possible.
As leaders in digital world, we need to grow technofunctional experts to increase success rate of technology implementation in process world (shared services / BPS)
In this fourth industrial revolution it’s the confluence of technology and people that will make the impact.
What are some of the transformation trends in the finance function within large enterprises? In what ways are these contributing to better company performance? What is the role of the Shared service leader in the context of such transformations?
One finance strategy is one theme that has been the core of many other initiatives. One finance means that we have one process across the globe when it comes to accounting policies and procedure / only deviation are regulatory requirements.
This leads to initiatives like one ERP, process design standardization, optimizing process using technology, humbots etc.
Besides RPA the technology that has gained momentum is low code no code also known as citizen program. This allows non-technical people to build reports that otherwise are very manual intensive. e.g., Power BI, Pega’s low-code platform etc.
GBS has now scoped to cover M&A and integration for which the experts are now sitting in shared services. The expertise and standardization are reaping benefits in terms shorter payback periods.
How is technology contributing to accelerating the pace of such transformations? Do you also see this resulting in better execution?
The world around us is changing so dramatically that real-time customized experiences with predictive insights at unparalleled speed are becoming the norm. This would not have been possible without the technology interventions.
Predictive tools and models combined with AI are fast changing the landscape of shared service, employees are now moving towards knowledge driven initiatives away from rule based and mundane tasks.
RPA as a technology discipline is evolving to support sophisticated processes (not just swivel-chair processes).
Do you believe there will be significant skill gap in the future as a result of such transformations? What if any, will be the kind of skill gaps?
One of the biggest challenges we are facing in the shared service domain is people have become task masters of the broken processes they manage. They does not seem to bother too much about upstream and downstream process or are completely unaware about it. Unawareness is not a bliss and they are caught on wrong foot about the impact of their on the value chain.
Need is to change the mindset from being task masters to process owners. Wing to wing and not wall to wall should be the approach.
Technology and functions are blending so much that each of us need to have technofunctional skills. The CFO’s of the future must have deep insights in the technology. This trend is cascading down to the lower echelons.
What are shared service organizations doing to deliver game changing performance from their shared services? Is there any change in terms of preparedness that you’re seeing now versus say five years back?
Next generation shared service is like a kitchen and can produce many dishes. They don’t come with set menu anymore (scenario 5 years back with well scoped processes). Customisation is the expectations and capabilities need to be built.
The role of the shared service leader is to establish the right enablers at the right level of maturity, they are ultimately creating capacity to do “more with less” and shift capacity from transactions to innovation and growth.
There is much more emphasis on big picture thinking rather then myopic and scope stagnant view. This is impacting how we are skilling employees in shared service. There is great demand of people who are low maintenance, work independently and do not hesitate on the move call. I see lot of focus on Emotional intelligence quotient / soft skill in preparedness of shared services.
How do you believe digital has enabled shared service organizations to deliver improved business impact? Could you please detail with some examples?
Digital interventions has enabled shared services to move from transactional finance to emerging finance. The roles of shared service employees have changed from back office to partnering with business. Using data, they are doing comparative analysis of within and across business and suggesting actions that business should take.
I work for an engineering consultant organisation and the shared services has work with engineers to develop a model on how change in design and material real time can be reflected in financial term giving customers the data points to make decisions immediately.
How do people within shared services need to be reskilled to get ready for the future? What should enterprises be doing about it?
My father struggled with computer, but my son learned to browse google first and leaned the English alphabets later.
In last five years both the pilots and cameramen who combined together to take aerial pictures lost the jobs because we have drones who can do their jobs.
Reskilling employees is not a choice but a mandate. “A CFO questioned the CEO why we are investing so much on people reskilling, if they leave, we will lose big time. The CEO replied what if they don’t leave?”
The easiest way to reskill people is to move performers from low skilled jobs to high skilled jobs. Don’t wait for them to be 100% ready, if they are 60% ready put them in the ocean, they will find the destination.
Several organizations take a POC route before making RPA decisions. What is your view about taking this route? Is this a good practice?
The problem is not with proof of concept but with the decision on what goes in as proof of concept. The organisation often chooses a very small process / streamlined process for POC which even if it succeed is still a failure.
When they then go ahead with the bigger, more complex, cross functional process which are nonstandard process they success rate of implementation remains poor.
The distinction between RPA as a task specific tool or a value driven competency is important to grasp, as it separate those who will ride the digital wave at its breaking edge from those safely playing inside the breakwater.
What are some of the good practices for designing and deploying an RPA? What are some of the key business benefits of an RPA?
- Optimize the process first before you apply RPA
- RPA needs skill to be a benefit case. You must have a volume where you want RPA.
- RPA is just a technology, don’t ignore the change management
- There is a myth that ones you have implemented RPA its done, the fact is BOT need maintenance.
Like any other technology RPA free up resources do value add work, knowledge intensive work and of course, make the business more competitive by becoming efficient.