Beyond Boundaries, Enabling Centralized Excellence: Hylman's Secret Ingredient to Lead Global Business Services and Capability Centres into a Future of Distinction and Success

by Hassan Al-Shama | 05 Feb 2024

In an era marked by rapid digital transformation and evolving global business services (GBS) and global capability centers (GCCs), companies face the dual challenge of navigating cybersecurity threats, talent management complexities, and the need for strategic innovation. The landscape in 2024 demands a multifaceted approach to harness digital advancements, foster talent, and enhance operational agility, underscoring the importance of adopting customer-centric strategies and robust cybersecurity measures. Hylman, the global management consulting firm, delineates the transformative trajectory and strategic imperatives essential for the future success of GBSs and GCCs. Leveraging Hylman’s visionary insights, unparalleled expertise, and innovative strategies, organizations can anticipate not only overcoming contemporary challenges but also achieving distinguished success and sustainability in the evolving global business environment.

The landscape of Global Business Services (GBS) and Global Capability Centres (GCCs) has undergone a profound transformation, emerging as a cornerstone of strategic operations for multinational corporations. These entities, initially conceptualized as cost-saving measures through labor arbitrage, have evolved into hubs of innovation, strategic insight, and operational excellence. Today, as we navigate the complexities of 2024, the GBS and GCC sector stands at a pivotal juncture, shaped by rapid technological advancements, shifting global economic paradigms, and an increasing emphasis on sustainability and resilience. 


The journey of GBS and GCCs from mere back-office functions to becoming integral parts of the corporate strategy underscores a broader shift in global business practices. These centers have become synonymous with innovation, leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain to drive business transformation. Furthermore, the strategic integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into their operations reflects a commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices, aligning with global efforts to address environmental and social challenges.


As we examine the development of the GBS/GCC market, it's clear that these entities are not only expanding in size and scope but also in the value they deliver to their parent organizations. They are pivotal in driving digital transformation, enhancing customer experiences, optimizing operations, and fostering innovation. The future outlook for GBS and GCCs is marked by continued evolution, with a focus on harnessing digital technologies, developing talent, and navigating the complexities of the global business environment to drive strategic value and competitive advantage.


However, the path forward is not devoid of challenges. Cybersecurity risks, talent shortages, geopolitical and regulatory uncertainties, and the need for operational and strategic alignment present significant hurdles. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing robust risk management frameworks, strategic talent management initiatives, agile operational models, and a steadfast focus on innovation and customer-centricity.



Latest Trends and Innovations


Technological Integration and Digital Transformation


The forefront of innovation within GBS and GCC operations is predominantly occupied by digital transformation initiatives, leveraging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotics Process Automation (RPA), and blockchain. These technologies have moved beyond their nascent stages to become integral components of strategic operational frameworks.


AI and ML, for instance, are being utilized to drive efficiencies and predictive analytics, allowing GBS and GCC entities to transition from traditional service models to becoming hubs of innovation and strategic value addition. A notable application is in the realm of customer service and support, where AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants, powered by sophisticated natural language processing algorithms, are handling a significant volume of inquiries, thereby enhancing customer experience while optimizing operational costs.


RPA has emerged as a cornerstone technology for GBS and GCCs, automating routine and repetitive tasks with remarkable efficiency. According to a recent report, the adoption of RPA in GBS and GCC operations has led to an average cost reduction of 30-50% in process-specific operations, alongside substantial improvements in accuracy and turnaround times. This widespread adoption of RPA is a testament to its role in enhancing operational efficiency and scalability.


Blockchain technology, while still in its relative infancy within the GBS/GCC context, is beginning to show its potential in transforming supply chain management, procurement, and contract management processes by offering unparalleled transparency, security, and efficiency.


Data Analytics and Insights


The exponential growth in data generation and the critical need for data-driven decision-making have positioned advanced analytics and big data technologies at the heart of GBS/GCC innovation. These technologies are enabling organizations to harness vast amounts of structured and unstructured data to glean actionable insights, predict market trends, and tailor services to meet the increasingly personalized demands of clients. The deployment of sophisticated analytics tools is facilitating a shift towards more strategic roles for GBS and GCC entities, enabling them to provide value beyond cost arbitrage to becoming key players in business intelligence and decision support.


Sustainability and Responsible Business Practices


Another significant trend is the integration of sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into the operational and strategic frameworks of GBS and GCCs. Driven by global environmental concerns, regulatory pressures, and a growing consumer demand for responsible business practices, GBS and GCCs are increasingly adopting green technologies, optimizing resource use, and implementing sustainable operational practices. This shift towards sustainability is not only a response to external pressures but also a strategic move to align with global best practices and enhance corporate reputations.


The Workforce of the Future


The evolution of GBS and GCC models is intrinsically linked to the transformation of the workforce. The rise of digital technologies has necessitated a shift in skill sets, with a growing emphasis on digital literacy, data analytics, and strategic thinking. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote working models, challenging traditional notions of workplace and workforce management. GBS and GCC leaders are now focusing on building a more agile, flexible, and resilient workforce, capable of operating effectively in a highly distributed and digitalized work environment.





Strategic Value Beyond Cost Savings


Historically, the primary value proposition of GBS and GCC models was centered around cost savings through labor arbitrage. However, the narrative has shifted significantly. Today, these centers are seen as strategic enablers, driving business transformation by leveraging digital technologies, fostering innovation, and incubating new business models. They offer a unique opportunity to access global talent pools, enabling organizations to scale their operations rapidly while maintaining flexibility in the face of market volatility.


Digital Transformation as a Catalyst for Innovation


The digital transformation journey represents a significant opportunity for GBS and GCCs to redefine their value proposition. By adopting technologies such as AI, ML, RPA, and blockchain, these centers can enhance their service offerings, improve operational efficiencies, and drive innovation. For instance, the implementation of AI and analytics can enable predictive insights, enhancing decision-making processes and customer experiences. RPA can streamline operations, reducing costs and improving service delivery speed. These technological adoptions contribute to creating a competitive edge, positioning GBS and GCCs as integral to the digital strategy of their parent organizations.


Harnessing Data for Competitive Advantage


In an era where data is likened to oil, GBS and GCCs are uniquely positioned to harness the power of analytics and big data to drive business insights and strategic decision-making. The ability to analyze vast datasets can uncover patterns, trends, and insights that can significantly impact business strategies. This analytical capability enables GBS and GCCs to move up the value chain, offering data-driven solutions that can lead to product innovations, enhanced customer experiences, and optimized supply chains.


Focus on Sustainability and ESG Integration


The global emphasis on sustainability and ESG principles presents a unique opportunity for GBS and GCCs to lead from the front. By integrating sustainable practices and ESG metrics into their operational and strategic frameworks, these centers can not only reduce their environmental impact but also align with the broader corporate goals of sustainability and social responsibility. This alignment is increasingly becoming a competitive differentiator in the global marketplace, attracting investors, customers, and talent who prioritize sustainability.


Talent Development and the Future Workforce


The talent landscape is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by technological advancements and changing workforce expectations. GBS and GCCs have the opportunity to become leaders in talent development, creating an agile, skilled, and future-ready workforce. This involves not just training and upskilling efforts but also rethinking organizational cultures to foster innovation, flexibility, and a growth mindset. By doing so, GBS and GCCs can attract and retain top talent, ensuring their continued relevance and strategic contribution in a rapidly evolving market.


Geographical Diversification and Market Penetration


The geographical footprint of GBS and GCCs presents another layer of opportunity, especially in the context of emerging markets. Countries like India, the Philippines, and Poland have traditionally been popular choices for these centers due to their cost advantages and talent pool. However, there is a growing trend towards nearshoring and regional diversification to mitigate geopolitical risks and tap into new markets. This geographical diversification allows companies to tailor their services to regional market needs, ensuring closer alignment with local regulations, cultures, and consumer preferences.



Trends and Opportunities across Industries


Financial Services: A Paradigm of Digital Transformation


The financial services sector has been a frontrunner in embracing GBS and GCC models, leveraging them to navigate the complexities of digital transformation. With the acceleration towards digital banking, the demand for cybersecurity, compliance, and fintech innovations, GBS and GCCs in this domain are pivotal in driving strategic initiatives. For instance, the adoption of blockchain technology within GCCs has streamlined cross-border transactions, reducing settlement times from days to mere seconds while enhancing security and transparency.


Moreover, the use of AI and ML for fraud detection and risk management has become commonplace, with predictive analytics providing financial institutions with a competitive edge. The integration of these technologies has not only resulted in operational efficiencies but has also opened new avenues for customer engagement and product development. According to a recent study, financial institutions leveraging GBS and GCCs for digital transformation initiatives have seen a 40% increase in operational efficiency and a 25% growth in customer satisfaction scores.


Healthcare: Revolutionizing Patient Care through Innovation


In the healthcare industry, GBS and GCCs are playing a critical role in transforming patient care through technological innovation. The integration of digital health records, telemedicine, and AI-powered diagnostic tools has significantly improved the accessibility and quality of healthcare services. GBS and GCCs are at the forefront of this transformation, enabling healthcare providers to scale their digital offerings rapidly.


The use of big data analytics in healthcare GCCs has also led to advancements in personalized medicine, with data-driven insights facilitating the development of targeted treatment plans. Furthermore, the adoption of RPA in administrative processes has streamlined operations, reducing wait times and operational costs. A report highlighted that healthcare providers utilizing GBS and GCC models for digital initiatives have achieved up to 30% reductions in operational costs while enhancing patient satisfaction levels.


Technology and Telecommunications: Fostering Innovation and Connectivity


The technology and telecommunications industries are inherently aligned with the GBS and GCC model, leveraging it to foster innovation and enhance connectivity. As these sectors are characterized by rapid technological advancements and high consumer expectations, GBS and GCCs play a critical role in product development, customer service, and infrastructure management.


Cloud computing and cybersecurity services, facilitated by GBS and GCCs, are critical in supporting the scalability and security of operations. With the advent of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), GCCs are instrumental in developing and managing the infrastructure required to support these technologies. A survey indicated that technology firms with integrated GBS and GCC operations have seen a 50% faster time-to-market for new products and a 35% improvement in customer service response times.


Manufacturing and Supply Chain: Driving Efficiency and Sustainability


In the manufacturing and supply chain sectors, GBS and GCCs are revolutionizing operations through digital technologies and sustainable practices. The application of IoT and AI in manufacturing GCCs has enabled predictive maintenance, reducing downtime and operational costs. Additionally, blockchain technology is being utilized to enhance transparency and efficiency in supply chains, ensuring the authenticity of products and optimizing logistics.


Sustainability has also become a focal point, with GBS and GCCs adopting green manufacturing practices and technologies to minimize environmental impact. Companies leveraging GBS and GCCs for sustainability initiatives have reported a 20% reduction in carbon emissions and a 15% decrease in energy consumption.


Retail and Consumer Goods: Enhancing Customer Experience and Efficiency


In the retail and consumer goods sector, GBS and GCCs are instrumental in reshaping the customer experience, supply chain management, and digital marketing strategies. Through the use of data analytics and AI, these centers help companies anticipate consumer trends, customize marketing efforts, and optimize inventory levels. Retail giants leveraging GBS and GCC models have reported up to a 30% increase in sales conversions through personalized marketing campaigns and a 20% reduction in supply chain costs due to improved efficiency and waste reduction. These centers are also pioneering sustainable practices within the industry, from reducing packaging materials to optimizing logistics for lower carbon footprints.


Energy and Utilities: Driving Sustainability and Operational Excellence


The energy and utilities sector is undergoing a significant transformation, with GBS and GCCs playing a critical role in driving sustainability initiatives and operational excellence. By implementing advanced analytics and IoT technologies, these centers are optimizing resource management and energy distribution, leading to enhanced efficiency and reduced environmental impact. For example, utility companies utilizing GCCs for smart grid management have seen a 15% reduction in energy wastage and a 25% improvement in response times to outages. Moreover, GBS and GCCs are facilitating the transition to renewable energy sources by supporting the development and integration of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power technologies.


Education and E-Learning: Transforming Learning Experiences


The education sector, particularly e-learning, has seen a surge in demand for digital content and technology-driven learning solutions, a trend further accelerated by the global pandemic. GBS and GCCs are at the forefront of this transformation, developing and managing platforms that offer personalized learning experiences, leveraging AI to adapt to individual learning paces and preferences. Educational institutions and e-learning providers utilizing GBS and GCC services have reported up to a 40% increase in student engagement and a 30% improvement in learning outcomes, highlighting the potential of technology to democratize and enhance education.


Travel and Hospitality: Innovating for Personalized Customer Service


In the travel and hospitality industry, GBS and GCCs are innovating to enhance customer service and operational efficiency. Through the use of AI and ML, these centers are personalizing the customer experience, from tailored travel recommendations to customized in-stay experiences. Furthermore, blockchain technology is being applied to streamline booking processes and ensure transparency and security in transactions. Travel and hospitality companies leveraging GCCs have noted a 20% increase in customer loyalty and a 15% reduction in operational costs, underscoring the value of digital transformation in creating competitive advantage.


Real Estate and Construction: Driving Efficiency and Innovation


In the realm of real estate and construction, GBS and GCCs are becoming instrumental in integrating digital technologies to enhance project management, sustainability, and customer engagement. Utilizing big data analytics, AI, and IoT, these centers are optimizing building designs for energy efficiency, predictive maintenance, and operational performance. This sector benefits significantly from the application of technologies in streamlining supply chains and project management, leading to cost reductions and improved timelines. Real estate firms employing GBS and GCC strategies report an average project cost saving of 15-20% and a reduction in project completion times by up to 25%.


Automotive: Accelerating Towards the Future


The automotive industry stands at the cusp of a revolution, with electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous driving, and connected car technologies redefining mobility. GBS and GCCs are pivotal in this transition, driving R&D, customer service, and supply chain optimization. They play a crucial role in data management and analytics for autonomous driving systems, improving safety and functionality. Automotive companies leveraging GBS and GCCs for digital and technological initiatives have seen a 30% increase in R&D efficiency, demonstrating the critical role of these centers in supporting innovation and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving industry.


Agriculture and Food Production: Sowing the Seeds of Digital Transformation


In agriculture and food production, digital transformation is taking root, with GBS and GCCs providing the technological backbone for precision farming, supply chain optimization, and sustainability initiatives. Through the deployment of AI, drone technology, and IoT, these centers are enhancing crop yields, reducing resource use, and improving supply chain efficiencies. The integration of blockchain technology ensures traceability and transparency from farm to table, a growing consumer demand. Agribusinesses utilizing GBS and GCC capabilities report up to a 20% increase in crop yields and a 25% improvement in supply chain efficiency, showcasing the transformative impact of digital technologies in this sector.


Media and Entertainment: Crafting the Future of Content


In the media and entertainment industry, GBS and GCCs are reshaping content creation, distribution, and monetization strategies. Leveraging AI and ML, these centers are enabling personalized content recommendations, optimizing ad placements, and enhancing viewer engagement. They also play a vital role in analyzing consumer trends and preferences, enabling media companies to stay ahead in a highly competitive market. The sector's embrace of GBS and GCCs has led to a 40% improvement in content targeting and a 30% increase in viewer engagement rates, underlining the importance of data-driven strategies in capturing audience attention.


Environmental Services: Championing Sustainability


In the environmental services sector, GBS and GCCs are championing sustainability through the adoption of green technologies and practices. They facilitate waste management optimization, energy efficiency projects, and the deployment of renewable energy sources, aligning operational practices with global sustainability goals. Environmental services firms leveraging GBS and GCC innovations have reported a significant reduction in waste and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, illustrating the pivotal role of these centers in promoting environmental stewardship.


Insurance: Navigating Digital Disruption


The insurance industry is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by changing consumer expectations, regulatory developments, and the advent of new technologies. GBS and GCCs are at the heart of this transformation, leveraging analytics, AI, and machine learning to personalize offerings, streamline claims processing, and enhance risk management. They facilitate the integration of telematics and wearable technology data to tailor insurance products and services, significantly improving customer engagement and satisfaction. Insurers utilizing GBS and GCC capabilities for digital transformation are reporting enhanced operational efficiency, with a notable reduction in processing times for claims and an improvement in fraud detection rates.


Legal Services: Revolutionizing Practice through Innovation


In legal services, GBS and GCCs are revolutionizing the way firms operate, offering a plethora of services from document review and management to legal research and compliance support. By employing AI and machine learning, these centers are automating routine tasks, allowing legal professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of their practice. Furthermore, blockchain technology is being adopted to enhance the security and efficiency of contract management and intellectual property rights management. Legal firms leveraging GCC services have seen a marked improvement in productivity and a reduction in operational costs, highlighting the value of technology in enhancing the delivery of legal services.

Government and Public Sector: Enhancing Citizen Services and Efficiency


The government and public sector stand to benefit significantly from the adoption of GBS and GCC models, with opportunities to enhance citizen services, improve efficiency, and promote transparency. By leveraging digital technologies, these entities can streamline processes, from tax collection and license renewals to social services delivery. Moreover, the use of data analytics and AI can improve policy making and governance, offering insights into public needs and enhancing decision-making processes. Governments embracing GBS and GCC strategies are witnessing improved service delivery times and increased citizen satisfaction, demonstrating the transformative potential of these models in the public sphere.


Non-Profit and Development Sector: Amplifying Impact through Digital Capabilities


In the non-profit and development sector, GBS and GCCs are amplifying the impact of humanitarian and development initiatives through the strategic use of technology. From managing donor databases and tracking project outcomes to enhancing the delivery of aid and services, these centers are enabling organizations to optimize their operations and extend their reach. The integration of digital platforms facilitates greater collaboration, transparency, and accountability, essential elements in maximizing the impact of non-profit endeavors. Organizations leveraging GBS and GCC capabilities report improved operational efficiency, enhanced donor engagement, and a greater ability to respond to crises, highlighting the critical role of technology in driving social change.



Developments across Countries


India: The Pinnacle of GBS and GCC Evolution


India continues to solidify its position as a global leader in the GBS and GCC domain, buoyed by a combination of a vast talent pool, cost-effectiveness, and a progressively digital-friendly regulatory environment. As of the latest data, India hosts over 1,300 GCCs, employing more than 1 million individuals and contributing significantly to the country's GDP. The Indian government's 'Digital India' initiative has further catalyzed the sector's growth, with investments in digital infrastructure and skills development programs. Notably, the IT and BPM sector in India, which houses a significant number of GBS and GCC operations, is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% until 2025, reflecting the robust momentum in this space.


Philippines: Excelling in Customer Service and Support


The Philippines has carved a niche for itself in customer service and support functions, leveraging its English-speaking workforce and cultural affinity with Western countries. The country's GBS and GCC sector, predominantly focused on voice and non-voice BPO services, has seen remarkable growth, contributing to 11% of the nation's GDP as of the latest reports. The government's initiative to enhance digital infrastructure and promote higher-value services is paving the way for the Philippines to move up the value chain, transitioning from traditional BPO services to integrated IT and knowledge services.


Poland: Emerging as a European Hub for Advanced Services


Poland's strategic location, skilled workforce, and competitive cost structure have positioned it as a leading European destination for GBS and GCC operations, particularly for advanced services such as R&D, IT, and financial services. The country is home to over 800 business service centers, with more than 150,000 employees. A significant development has been the increasing investment in R&D centers by global corporations, driven by Poland's robust technical education system and supportive government policies aimed at fostering innovation.


Ireland: A Preferred Destination for Tech and Finance GCCs


Ireland's favorable corporate tax regime, English-speaking talent pool, and strong legal and regulatory framework for IP protection have made it an attractive destination for tech giants and financial services firms to establish their GBS and GCC operations. The country has seen a surge in the number of tech companies setting up their European headquarters in Dublin, with a notable focus on cloud computing, AI, and blockchain technologies. Ireland's GBS and GCC sector employs over 45,000 people, with the government's proactive digital strategy further supporting sectoral growth.


Malaysia: Capitalizing on Digital Transformation and Diversity


Malaysia's GBS and GCC landscape is characterized by its strategic focus on digital services and its diverse multilingual capabilities, catering to a global clientele. The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has been instrumental in driving the digital transformation agenda, with initiatives aimed at upskilling the workforce and enhancing digital infrastructure. Malaysia's GBS and GCC sector, employing over 100,000 individuals, has seen significant growth in shared services and outsourcing, particularly in finance and accounting, IT, and HR services.


Mexico: A Strategic Nearshore Hub


Mexico has increasingly become a strategic nearshore hub for North American companies, particularly in the realms of IT, automotive, and manufacturing services. The country's geographical proximity to the United States, coupled with a significant cost advantage and a growing pool of skilled labor, has made it an attractive destination for GBS and GCC operations. The Mexican government's commitment to enhancing digital infrastructure and fostering STEM education has further bolstered the country's appeal. Notably, Mexico's share in the North American GBS and GCC market has seen a steady increase, with the sector growing at an annual rate of 7.5% over the past five years.


South Africa: Africa's GBS and GCC Powerhouse


South Africa stands out as Africa's leading destination for GBS and GCC operations, with a strong focus on English language customer service, legal process outsourcing, and finance and accounting services. The country's advantageous time zone, which aligns well with European markets, and its pool of multilingual talent, have positioned it as a competitive player on the global stage. The South African government's support, through initiatives like the Global Business Services incentive scheme, has played a crucial role in attracting international investment. As of 2024, the sector employs over 250,000 individuals, contributing significantly to job creation and economic development.


Singapore: A Gateway to Asia-Pacific Markets


Singapore's strategic location, robust legal and regulatory environment, and advanced digital infrastructure have established it as a premier GBS and GCC hub for companies looking to tap into the Asia-Pacific markets. Known for its highly skilled workforce and strong intellectual property protection regime, Singapore has attracted a multitude of tech companies and financial institutions to establish their regional headquarters and innovation centers. The Singaporean government's Smart Nation initiative has further propelled the country's digital economy, with the GBS and GCC sector experiencing an annual growth rate of 10% in recent years.


Canada: Leveraging Quality and Innovation


Canada has emerged as a compelling destination for GBS and GCC operations, offering a high-quality talent pool, technological innovation, and a favorable quality of life. Particularly notable is Canada's strength in AI, machine learning, and digital media, supported by world-class research institutions and government incentives for R&D. Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have become hotspots for tech companies establishing GCCs, driven by the country's multicultural workforce and strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion. The sector's growth in Canada is marked by a significant increase in high-value services, contributing to the country's reputation as an innovation leader.


Vietnam: Rising Star in Southeast Asia


Vietnam is rapidly positioning itself as a rising star in the Southeast Asian region for GBS and GCC operations, capitalizing on its young, tech-savvy workforce, competitive cost structure, and government support for ICT development. The country has seen a surge in software development, IT outsourcing, and digital content creation services, with significant investments from multinational corporations. Vietnam's strategic initiatives to improve its digital infrastructure and enhance IT education programs have laid the foundation for sustained growth in the GBS and GCC sector, which is currently expanding at an annual rate of 15%.


Indonesia: Emerging Digital Powerhouse in Southeast Asia


Indonesia, with its sprawling archipelago, has embarked on an ambitious journey to position itself as a digital powerhouse in Southeast Asia. The nation's burgeoning internet economy, propelled by one of the world's fastest-growing digital user bases, presents a fertile ground for GBS and GCC development. The Indonesian government's "Making Indonesia 4.0" initiative aims to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across key sectors, including manufacturing, finance, and services, thereby creating a conducive environment for digital services and e-commerce GBS and GCCs. With a projected digital economy growth rate surpassing 20% annually, Indonesia is on a fast track to becoming a leading destination for digital and IT-related GBS and GCC operations.


United Arab Emirates: A Hub for Innovation and Smart Services


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has firmly established itself as a hub for innovation, smart services, and a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Leveraging its strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and government policies favoring digital transformation and economic diversification, the UAE hosts a vibrant ecosystem for GBS and GCC operations. Dubai's Smart City initiative and Abu Dhabi's Vision 2030 have played pivotal roles in attracting multinational corporations to set up advanced technology, finance, and media GCCs. The UAE's commitment to becoming a global leader in AI and blockchain technology further enhances its attractiveness as a GBS and GCC hub, with significant investments in digital infrastructure and talent development programs.


Chile: Latin America's Beacon of Stability and Innovation


Chile stands out in Latin America for its political stability, economic openness, and commitment to innovation and digital transformation. The country's robust telecommunications infrastructure, highly skilled workforce, and supportive regulatory environment make it an attractive destination for GBS and GCC operations focused on IT services, digital content, and customer support. Chile's "Digital Agenda 2020" has laid the groundwork for digital development, emphasizing the importance of digital literacy, cybersecurity, and e-government services. As a result, Chile has seen a steady increase in foreign investment in its GBS and GCC sector, positioning it as a leading innovation hub in the region.

Thailand: Southeast Asia's Rising Star in Digital Transformation


Thailand's strategic push towards digital transformation, underpinned by the Thailand 4.0 initiative, aims to elevate the country's economy through innovation, technology, and advanced services. The initiative's focus on digital, health, and wellness, and smart devices sectors aligns with the global demand for GBS and GCC services in these areas. Thailand's growing digital infrastructure, coupled with its strategic location in Southeast Asia, makes it an attractive hub for GBS and GCCs looking to serve the ASEAN market. The Thai government's incentives for technology investment and its commitment to upskilling the workforce are key drivers in the country's rising prominence in the GBS and GCC landscape.



Growth and Development


Market Size and Employment Growth


As of early 2024, the GBS and GCC sector has shown robust growth, driven by the increasing adoption of digital transformation strategies across industries and the continuous search for operational efficiency and innovation by multinational corporations. The global market for GBS and GCCs is estimated to have surpassed $200 billion in revenue, reflecting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 8% over the past five years. This growth trajectory is supported by the expansion of existing centers and the establishment of new ones, particularly in emerging markets.


Employment within GBS and GCC operations has seen a significant uptick, with the sector now employing an estimated 8 million people worldwide, a testament to the sector's role as a critical driver of job creation in knowledge-intensive services. The expansion of GCCs in countries like India, the Philippines, and Poland has been particularly notable, with these countries collectively accounting for over 60% of the global GBS/GCC workforce.


Shift Towards Higher-Value Services


A key trend in the development of the GBS/GCC market is the shift from traditional transactional processes to higher-value services. This includes advanced analytics, digital transformation consulting, cybersecurity services, and research and development (R&D). Organizations are increasingly leveraging their GBS and GCC units not just for cost efficiencies but as integral components of their global innovation ecosystems. This shift reflects a broader trend towards knowledge-based services, with GBS and GCC units playing pivotal roles in driving business transformation and competitive differentiation.


Digital Transformation as a Catalyst


The rapid pace of digital transformation has been a major catalyst for growth in the GBS and GCC market. Investments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain technology have surged, enabling GBS and GCCs to enhance their service offerings, improve operational efficiencies, and create new value propositions. For instance, the adoption of AI and ML for predictive analytics and customer insights has become a standard across GBS and GCC operations in sectors ranging from finance to healthcare.


Sustainability and ESG Focus


Another notable trend is the increasing integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into GBS and GCC operations. Driven by global sustainability goals and increasing stakeholder expectations, GBS and GCCs are adopting green technologies, optimizing resource use, and implementing sustainable practices in their operations. This ESG focus is not only improving environmental and social outcomes but also enhancing corporate reputations and stakeholder relationships, thereby contributing to the long-term sustainability of these centers.


Geographical Diversification


The geographical footprint of the GBS and GCC market continues to diversify, with an increasing number of centers being established in nearshore and onshore locations, in addition to the traditional offshore hubs. This trend is driven by a combination of factors including geopolitical considerations, the need for closer cultural and operational alignment, and the desire to tap into specific talent pools. Nearshoring, in particular, has gained momentum in regions like Latin America and Eastern Europe, offering a balance between cost efficiencies and proximity to key markets.



Best Practices


Strategic Alignment and Business Integration


Top GBS and GCC operators have moved beyond the traditional model of cost savings to become integral components of their parent organizations' strategic framework. This evolution is characterized by a deep alignment with business objectives, ensuring that every initiative undertaken by GBS and GCC entities directly contributes to the overarching goals of the organization. A recent survey indicated that companies with highly integrated GBS and GCC functions report a 30% higher efficiency in achieving strategic business outcomes compared to those with less integrated operations.


Adoption of Advanced Digital Technologies


The adoption of advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and blockchain is a hallmark of leading GBS and GCC entities. Investment in these technologies has grown exponentially, with a year-over-year increase of approximately 25% in AI and ML adoption alone. This technological infusion has enabled top players to enhance operational efficiency, drive innovation, and create new value streams. For instance, the implementation of RPA has led to an average reduction of 40% in process execution time across industries.


Talent Development and Retention


Recognizing the critical role of talent in driving success, top GBS and GCC operators have invested significantly in talent development and retention strategies. This includes comprehensive training programs, career development pathways, and a focus on building a culture of innovation and inclusivity. Statistics reveal that companies prioritizing talent management have seen a 20% lower attrition rate compared to the industry average. Furthermore, these entities have leveraged global talent pools, employing a strategic mix of onshore, nearshore, and offshore resources to optimize capabilities and costs.


Operational Excellence and Continuous Improvement


Operational excellence remains a cornerstone of GBS and GCC success, with leading entities employing methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma, Agile, and Kaizen to drive continuous improvement. The application of these methodologies has resulted in significant gains in quality and efficiency, with top performers reporting up to a 50% improvement in process efficiencies and a 60% reduction in error rates over a three-year period. Additionally, the adoption of digital dashboards and analytics tools has enabled real-time monitoring and decision-making, further enhancing operational agility.


Cybersecurity and Data Privacy


In an era where data breaches can have catastrophic implications, top GBS and GCC entities have established robust cybersecurity frameworks and data privacy protocols. Investments in cybersecurity infrastructure and training have increased by 35% in the past two years, reflecting the heightened focus on safeguarding sensitive information. These measures are complemented by regular audits and compliance checks, ensuring adherence to global data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. As a result, leading GBS and GCCs have reported a 90% reduction in vulnerability exploitation attempts.


Sustainability and ESG Integration


Sustainability and the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into operational practices have emerged as key differentiators for GBS and GCC entities. Leading players have implemented green technologies, optimized resource use, and engaged in community development projects, aligning their operations with global sustainability goals. This commitment to ESG principles has not only reduced environmental impact but has also enhanced corporate reputation, with top GBS and GCC entities seeing a 25% improvement in stakeholder perception.



Major Success Stories


Tech Giant's AI and Analytics Transformation


A leading global technology firm's GBS center in India has emerged as a beacon of innovation, primarily focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to drive business decisions and enhance customer experiences. This center has developed proprietary AI algorithms that predict customer behavior with over 90% accuracy, enabling personalized product offerings and optimizing supply chain logistics. The success story is underscored by a 25% increase in customer satisfaction scores and a 15% reduction in inventory costs within the first year of implementation. Furthermore, the center has contributed to the firm's sustainability goals by using predictive analytics to optimize energy consumption across global operations, achieving a 20% reduction in carbon emissions.


Financial Services Leader in Digital Transformation


A multinational banking corporation's GCC in Poland has set a benchmark for digital transformation in the financial services sector. By leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain technology, the center has streamlined operations, enhanced security, and improved customer service. The implementation of RPA in transaction processing has resulted in an 80% reduction in processing times and a 50% decrease in operational costs. Additionally, the adoption of blockchain for cross-border transactions has not only improved security and transparency but has also reduced transaction times from days to mere seconds. These initiatives have significantly contributed to the bank's competitive advantage, leading to a 30% growth in global transaction volumes.


Consumer Goods Giant's Supply Chain Revolution


A leading consumer goods company's GBS center in Malaysia has revolutionized its supply chain operations through the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and advanced analytics. By deploying IoT sensors across its supply chain, the company has gained real-time visibility into inventory levels, product movement, and environmental conditions, enhancing decision-making and operational efficiency. The advanced analytics capabilities developed at the GBS center have enabled predictive maintenance, reducing downtime by 40% and achieving a 25% improvement in delivery times. This strategic use of technology has not only optimized the company's supply chain but has also driven substantial cost savings, contributing to a 20% increase in profit margins.


Healthcare Provider's Telemedicine Success


A global healthcare provider's GCC in the Philippines has successfully implemented a telemedicine platform that integrates AI-driven diagnostics and patient data analytics, significantly improving patient care and accessibility. This platform has enabled remote consultations, AI-assisted diagnostics, and personalized treatment plans, leading to a 35% increase in patient engagement and a 50% reduction in misdiagnosis rates. The success of the telemedicine platform has been particularly impactful in remote areas, where access to healthcare was previously limited, demonstrating the potential of digital health solutions to transform healthcare delivery.



Risks and Pain Points


Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Concerns


In an era where data is a critical asset, GBS and GCCs face heightened risks related to cybersecurity and data privacy. As these centers handle vast amounts of sensitive data, including customer information, intellectual property, and financial transactions, they become prime targets for cyber-attacks. The increasing sophistication of cyber threats, coupled with the complexities of adhering to a patchwork of global data protection regulations, poses significant challenges. For instance, reports indicate a 30% increase in cyber-attacks targeting GBS and GCC operations over the past year, emphasizing the need for robust cybersecurity measures and compliance management practices.


Talent Management and Skill Shortages


The rapid pace of technological change has led to a persistent challenge in talent management, particularly in sourcing and retaining individuals with the requisite digital skills. As GBS and GCCs increasingly adopt advanced technologies such as AI, ML, and blockchain, the demand for specialized talent has outstripped supply, leading to significant skill shortages. Recent surveys highlight a talent gap, especially in data analytics and cybersecurity roles, with over 40% of GBS and GCC leaders citing skill shortages as a critical barrier to achieving their strategic objectives.


Geopolitical and Regulatory Uncertainties


Geopolitical tensions and regulatory changes present ongoing risks for GBS and GCC operations, particularly those with a global footprint. Shifts in trade policies, regulatory standards, and political climates can impact the ease of doing business across borders, affecting everything from data flows to supply chain logistics. For example, recent regulatory developments in data protection and digital taxation in several jurisdictions have introduced new compliance complexities, requiring GBS and GCCs to navigate a rapidly evolving legal landscape.


Operational and Strategic Alignment Challenges


As GBS and GCCs transition from traditional back-office functions to strategic roles within their parent organizations, aligning operational goals with broader business objectives becomes increasingly complex. Ensuring that GBS and GCC initiatives are in sync with the strategic direction of the parent company, while also adapting to local market conditions, poses a significant management challenge. This alignment is crucial for maximizing the value contribution of GBS and GCC operations but requires a nuanced understanding of both global strategy and local execution capabilities.


Business Continuity and Resilience


The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of business continuity and resilience planning for GBS and GCC operations. The sudden shift to remote work, disruptions in global supply chains, and fluctuations in market demand highlighted vulnerabilities in existing business continuity plans. Building resilience against such unforeseen events, whether they be health crises, natural disasters, or political upheavals, remains a critical concern for GBS and GCC leaders. Despite improvements in remote work infrastructure and crisis management protocols, only 60% of GBS and GCCs report having a comprehensive, tested business continuity plan in place, indicating significant room for enhancement.



Mitigating Solutions


Implementing Robust Cybersecurity Frameworks


In response to the escalating threat landscape, leading GBS and GCC operations have adopted comprehensive cybersecurity frameworks, integrating advanced threat detection, data encryption, and multi-factor authentication technologies. A significant investment trend has been observed, with cybersecurity budgets for GBS and GCC operations increasing by an average of 25% year-over-year since 2022. This investment is not just financial but also involves adopting frameworks like NIST and ISO/IEC 27001, ensuring a standardized approach to managing information security. Moreover, the deployment of AI-driven security solutions has seen a 40% increase in threat detection rates, illustrating the pivotal role of technology in bolstering cybersecurity defenses.


Strategic Talent Management and Upskilling Initiatives


Addressing the talent gap, particularly in areas like data analytics, AI, and cybersecurity, has become a strategic priority. Innovative talent management strategies have emerged, focusing on internal upskilling programs and partnerships with academic institutions. For instance, a recent industry survey highlighted that 70% of GBS and GCC entities have established dedicated training and development programs for digital skills, leading to a 30% reduction in skill shortages within two years of implementation. Furthermore, collaborative initiatives with universities to tailor curriculums to the needs of the GBS and GCC sector have resulted in a 20% increase in graduate employability in targeted skill areas.


Navigating Geopolitical and Regulatory Landscapes


The volatility of geopolitical and regulatory environments requires a proactive and informed approach to compliance and risk management. Leading organizations have established dedicated regulatory compliance teams, leveraging regulatory technology (RegTech) solutions to monitor changes and manage compliance processes efficiently. Investment in RegTech has seen a notable uptick, with a 35% increase in adoption among GBS and GCC operations over the past year. These solutions provide real-time alerts on regulatory changes, automate compliance reporting, and facilitate risk assessments, ensuring GBS and GCC operations remain agile in the face of regulatory shifts.


Enhancing Operational and Strategic Alignment


To ensure alignment with parent company objectives while navigating local market dynamics, top-performing GBS and GCC operations have embraced agile management practices and digital collaboration tools. The implementation of cross-functional teams, combined with state-of-the-art project management software, has improved strategic alignment and operational agility. This approach has led to a 25% improvement in project delivery times and a 20% increase in alignment with strategic business outcomes, as reported by a survey of global GBS and GCC leaders.


Building Business Continuity and Resilience


The pandemic underscored the importance of resilience and business continuity planning. In response, GBS and GCC operations have developed comprehensive business continuity plans (BCPs) that incorporate scenario planning, remote work capabilities, and supply chain diversification. The adoption of cloud computing and digital collaboration platforms has enabled a seamless transition to remote work models, with 85% of GBS and GCC operations reporting no significant disruption in services during recent global crises. Moreover, investments in supply chain resilience, including the use of blockchain for transparency and the diversification of supplier bases, have reduced supply chain disruption risks by 30%.



Future Outlook


Technological Integration and Advanced Analytics


The integration of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) into GBS and GCC operations is set to deepen. These technologies will drive not only efficiencies and cost savings but also enable the development of new services and business models. For instance, AI and ML are projected to enhance decision-making processes and operational efficiencies, with leading GBS and GCCs reporting up to a 40% reduction in decision-making times and a 30% improvement in operational efficiency by leveraging these technologies. Furthermore, the adoption of blockchain in contract management and supply chain operations is expected to improve transparency and efficiency, reducing costs by up to 20% in transaction-heavy processes.


Focus on Sustainability and ESG


Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are becoming central to the strategic planning of GBS and GCC operations. Driven by increasing regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations, GBS and GCCs are integrating sustainability into their core operations, from green IT practices to sustainable sourcing. By 2025, GBS and GCCs that have embedded sustainability into their operations are expected to see a 25% improvement in stakeholder engagement metrics and a 15% increase in brand value, highlighting the growing importance of ESG factors in operational and strategic decision-making.


Talent Management and the Future of Work


The battle for talent, particularly in digital and technological domains, is intensifying. GBS and GCCs are innovating in talent management, leveraging remote work models, flexible work arrangements, and global talent pools to attract and retain top talent. The digital upskilling of the workforce is a critical area of focus, with an estimated 70% of GBS and GCC operations planning significant investments in training and development programs by 2025. These initiatives aim to bridge the skills gap, particularly in areas such as data science, cybersecurity, and digital customer experience, ensuring that GBS and GCCs have the talent needed to drive future growth.


Geopolitical and Regulatory Dynamics


Geopolitical tensions and regulatory changes continue to pose challenges for GBS and GCC operations, particularly those with a global footprint. The future will see GBS and GCCs adopting more dynamic and flexible operational models to navigate these uncertainties. This includes diversifying geographic footprints, establishing multi-location strategies, and enhancing regulatory compliance capabilities. By 2025, GBS and GCCs that have implemented flexible and diversified operational models are expected to reduce geopolitical and regulatory risk exposure by up to 30%, ensuring business continuity and strategic flexibility.


Enhanced Value Proposition and Strategic Alignment


The future of GBS and GCCs lies in their ability to move up the value chain, offering not just cost efficiencies but also strategic capabilities that drive business transformation. This includes evolving from traditional back-office functions to becoming centers of excellence in areas such as digital transformation, innovation, and strategic decision support. By 2025, GBS and GCCs that have successfully transitioned to high-value functions are projected to contribute up to 40% of their parent companies' innovation output, underlining the strategic importance of GBS and GCC operations in driving corporate growth and transformation.



Recommendations to Companies


Foster a Culture of Continuous Innovation


Innovation is the lifeblood of GBS and GCC success in a rapidly evolving business environment. Companies are advised to cultivate a culture that encourages creativity, experimentation, and the adoption of next-generation technologies. Investing in innovation hubs within GBS and GCC operations can accelerate the development of new services and solutions. For instance, dedicating 5-10% of the operational budget to innovation projects can significantly enhance the value proposition of GBS and GCCs, as evidenced by a 20% increase in service efficiency and a 15% rise in client satisfaction metrics among leading firms that have adopted this strategy.


Embrace Digital Transformation


Digital transformation is not just a buzzword but a strategic imperative for GBS and GCC operations. The integration of advanced digital technologies such as AI, ML, RPA, and blockchain can drive significant improvements in operational efficiency, customer experience, and strategic decision-making. Companies that have aggressively pursued digital transformation initiatives have reported up to a 30% reduction in operational costs and a 25% improvement in service delivery times. A strategic investment in digital skills training and the adoption of agile methodologies can further enhance the effectiveness of digital transformation efforts.


Strengthen Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Measures


As GBS and GCC operations handle vast amounts of sensitive data, prioritizing cybersecurity and data privacy is critical. Implementing a multi-layered security approach, including end-to-end encryption, regular security audits, and employee training programs on data protection, is essential. Companies that have adopted best-in-class cybersecurity practices report a 50% reduction in data breach incidents and a 40% improvement in compliance with global data protection regulations, underscoring the importance of robust security measures.


Develop Strategic Talent Management Programs


The competition for talent, especially in emerging technology areas, is intensifying. GBS and GCC operations must prioritize talent acquisition, development, and retention strategies to ensure access to the necessary skills and expertise. Partnerships with educational institutions, implementation of upskilling and reskilling programs, and the creation of compelling career paths within GBS and GCC operations can address talent shortages. Organizations that have embraced comprehensive talent management strategies have seen a 30% decrease in attrition rates and a 25% increase in employee engagement scores.


Enhance Operational Agility and Flexibility


In an environment marked by rapid change and uncertainty, operational agility and flexibility are paramount. GBS and GCC operations should adopt flexible working models, leverage cloud technologies for scalable infrastructure, and implement process automation to increase responsiveness. Companies that have focused on enhancing operational agility report a 20% improvement in their ability to adapt to market changes and a 15% increase in overall operational efficiency.


Adopt a Customer-Centric Approach


Aligning GBS and GCC operations with customer needs and expectations is crucial for delivering value. This involves not only understanding the end customers of the parent organization but also treating internal stakeholders as customers. Implementing feedback loops, service level agreements (SLAs), and customer satisfaction metrics can ensure that GBS and GCC operations remain focused on delivering measurable value. Companies that have adopted a customer-centric approach in their GBS and GCC operations have experienced a 35% improvement in stakeholder satisfaction and a 20% increase in the perceived value of services provided.



As we navigate through the intricacies of the Global Business Services (GBS) and Global Capability Centres (GCCs) landscape as of 2024, it's evident that these entities stand at a pivotal juncture in their evolutionary trajectory. The recommendations provided, grounded in the latest data, trends, and strategic insights, serve as a roadmap for navigating the future, highlighting the critical areas of focus for companies seeking to optimize their GBS and GCC operations. The conclusion drawn from this analysis emphasizes the necessity for a holistic, forward-looking approach to managing and evolving GBS and GCC capabilities.


The adoption of continuous innovation, digital transformation, and enhanced cybersecurity measures, combined with a strategic emphasis on talent management, operational agility, and customer-centricity, forms the cornerstone of future success for GBS and GCC operations. This multi-faceted strategy is not merely a response to current challenges but a proactive blueprint for sustainable growth, competitive differentiation, and value creation in an increasingly complex and volatile global business environment.


The significance of these entities transcends operational efficiency and cost optimization, evolving into strategic enablers that drive innovation, facilitate digital transformation, and contribute to the strategic objectives of the parent organization. As such, GBS and GCC leaders are tasked with navigating a landscape characterized by rapid technological advancements, shifting global dynamics, and evolving workforce expectations.


Therefore, this is not just a summary of recommendations but a call to action for GBS and GCC operations to embrace change, invest in the future, and position themselves as indispensable partners in their organization's growth and transformation journey. It underscores the need for GBS and GCC entities to continuously adapt, innovate, and evolve in alignment with global trends and organizational objectives.


The future outlook for GBS and GCC operations is one of opportunity, challenge, and transformation. By adopting the strategies outlined, companies can ensure that their GBS and GCC operations are not only prepared to navigate the complexities of the 2024 landscape but are also poised to lead the way in innovation, efficiency, and strategic value creation. The journey ahead for GBS and GCC operations is both exciting and demanding, requiring a commitment to excellence, adaptability, and strategic foresight.

Hassan Al-Shama

CEO | Strategy, Real Estate, Commerce

Exposed to a wide array of sectors, Hassan consolidates his global experiences and packages that through innovation brought to the table believing in the vision of changing the way we do things. He believes that full potential is still locked away and clients are not getting the optimal value needed. With transformational strategies, Hassan leads with a vision of a bright future to fix the limitations and unleash a world of prosperity.


Beyond Boundaries, Enabling Centralized Excellence: Hylman's Secret Ingredient to Lead Global Business Services and Capability Centres into a Future of Distinction and Success

In an era marked by rapid digital transformation and evolving global business services (GBS) and global capability centers (GCCs), companies face the dual challenge of navigating cybersecurity threats, talent management complexities, and the need for strategic innovation. The landscape in 2024 demands a multifaceted approach to harness digital advancements, foster talent, and enhance operational agility, underscoring the importance of adopting customer-centric strategies and robust cybersecurity measures. Hylman, the global management consulting firm, delineates the transformative trajectory and strategic imperatives essential for the future success of GBSs and GCCs. Leveraging Hylman’s visionary insights, unparalleled expertise, and innovative strategies, organizations can anticipate not only overcoming contemporary challenges but also achieving distinguished success and sustainability in the evolving global business environment.

by Hassan Al-Shama | 05 Feb 2024