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The Top KPIs for Global Business Services

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Susie West
CEO, sharedserviceslink

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of organisations even beginning to consider moving towards a Global Business Services (GBS) model. From national organizations witnessing rapid growth, right through to those international contenders whose support functions need to catch up.

But name aside, if you’re looking to move to GBS, how can you ensure that the mindset of your staff and the level of service that you’re providing to your customers is clearly differentiated from that of the previous shared services model?

Three words: key performance indicators.

KPIs are the backbone of any shared services organisation. You can’t improve what you aren’t measuring, so it’s crucial that your metrics are designed in such a way that their output reflects your ambitions for the SSO.

So whether you’re there already or on your way, how can you make sure that your KPI set is supporting the transition to GBS, and helping to develop and define your services as a cut above a local or regional shared services model? 

  1. Use your SLA as a baseline. Since GSB models commit to delivering more and on a wider scale, they need to be confident that they are living up to their promises. SLAs and KPIs are a means to an end, not a panacea for an under-performing services provider.
  2. Measure the alignment of the different functions. Once you’ve been ‘promoted’ to a GBS model, you will most likely already have end-to-end processes and a good level of cooperation between the different functions. But now you’re there, don’t just sit back and relax. With the increased scope and scale of the activities that each function will provide, there’s a distinct possibility of cultural drift. Make sure each KPI set encourages departments to talk to each other constantly, to mitigate any such risk.
  3. Use leading KPIs to demonstrate responsiveness and forward thinking. While measuring the output is important (i.e. lagging KPIs), you’re just measuring past action.  The use of leading KPIs (i.e. the input) will enable you to demonstrate a commitment to becoming a truly value-adding business partner, not just a back-office support provider. 
  4. Make the customer’s voice count. So often we hear from shared services that despite an all-green dashboard, they are still receiving complaints from their customers. If you’re running a GBS, it’s likely that the business units are under a mandate to use your services and may already be disgruntled from the start. So make sure you understand what’s important to them in terms of your relationship, and measure that, be it time to respond to an enquiry or handle a complaint. 
  5. Measure attrition and talent development. Shared services is often associated with low morale and high attrition, but when you’re aiming for excellence in service provision, it starts with your staff. Shared services is now being seen as a legitimate and exciting career path – we’ve begun to see business units hire from within their company’s SSO, and senior shared services managers KPI-ed on their networking activity! So invest in your staff, and use the positive results you see to bolster your business case and maintain the motivation within your team. 
What KPIs or metrics have you used in your Global Business Services model? We'd love to hear your stories and experiences! Get in touch at [email protected]

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