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Managing Risks in a GBS Environment post-COVID-19

Published May 21, 2020

Written by: Cindy Gallagher
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Cindy Gallagher

Cindy Gallagher joined Liberty Source in 2018 as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. As a Navy spouse, she was one of the Company’s pioneers in 2014, establishing the onshore Business Process Outsourcing model as a competitive alternative to captive and offshore shared service centers. Prior to joining Liberty Source, she served as the SVP, Global Business Services Controller for Discovery Communications, and as the Deputy Controller and Assistant Treasurer for AOL.
 
Cindy was responsible for building, scaling and transforming the finance operations at both Discovery and AOL to meet the ever-expanding needs of the global marketplace. Most notably during her time at Discovery, the organization earned a designation among the top 20 most admired shared service organizations globally in 2017.
 
She has served as an advisor and partner to various senior executives, helping to identify new revenue generating business opportunities, streamline and scale global processes, implement talent development initiatives and maintain financial statement integrity.
 
Cindy began her career with SC&H Consulting providing best practice thought leadership and implementing process improvement initiatives for Fortune 100 clients. She is a licensed CPA, and is an active member of the advisory boards for both the SSOW North America and SSOW Europe. She has served as the Finance Chairman for a Virginia based non-profit, and holds a Master’s Degree in accounting from the University of Maine. Follow Liberty Source on Twitter: @LibertySourceUS.
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Risk optimization and mitigation are essential within any Global Business Services (GBS) environment to proactively protect the enterprise from potential threats and enable confident business decisions. COVID-19 has uncovered previously unknown vulnerabilities, which left business leaders and board members scrambling for solutions to plot a course to stabilization.

During a prolonged crisis that creates a highly volatile economic landscape of uncertainty, it is a natural tendency to make reactionary decisions to merely survive. However, it is critical to scrutinize the immediate solutions and their deep-rooted implications that can expose the company to a new wave of risks.

As you begin to plan for the transition out of the stabilization phase of this crisis, consider what changes should be made to your post-COVID-19 GBS framework as well as your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Through the lens of risk exposure, carefully assess each operating segment and the options you have to strengthen your operating model. According to The Hackett Group, U.S. Companies had USD 1.3 trillion tied up in working capital in 2019. By accessing the excess cash within your company, this will enable you to implement new risk mitigation tactics within your GBS organization.

Process Auditing

Evaluate each business process and the importance of it to the organization in order to maintain business continuity. Ask yourself if you are currently able to meet all service level agreements that align with critical processes. If not, what are the barriers that prevent your organization from doing so? Is it the location of the service center? Supply chain disruptions? Lack of clear documentation? Inadequate training? Consider a hybrid delivery strategy where you utilize both onshore and offshore talent based on the importance of select processes.

People Management

Business must continue during a crisis, and your talent, both in-house and outsourced, is what can and will set you apart from your competitors as long as preparation is a priority. Consider your current people management approach from onboarding, training, learning and development. What tools were previously used, and what roadblocks are you encountering in this area right now? Are you and your outsourced partners able to effectively source and onboard new talent? How about the management and flexibility of dispersed teams? Have your digital and human capital workforces been optimized to work efficiently together? Most operating centers are managed by having boots on the ground, and leaders often feel they need to be physically present to ensure employees are productive. Adaptability plays a vital role in the success of WFH mandates and developing an agile contingency plan protects the business from high attrition when the dust has settled.

Technology Infrastructure

In times such as a pandemic, your ability to provide employees with the necessary hardware and tools needed to do their jobs is crucial. Investing in versatile hardware products increases organization and productivity while also ensuring digital security. Does your business have the capability to move workforce locations easily, or is the equipment too cumbersome? Cyber-security protocols must heighten during a BCP event to prevent the influx of malicious cyber-attack attempts. Understanding the limitations and protocols within each segment of your GBS organization will better equip the enterprise with the tools necessary to support and maintain operations.

The fundamental theme throughout the landscape of risk mitigation within a GBS environment is the realization that success relies heavily on the remote digital capabilities of an organization, its partners, and their collective ability to capitalize on those capabilities when it matters the most.

Investing time in a well-rounded risk management plan minimizes the impact on the organization enabling peace of mind and permits confidence no matter the circumstance.

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