The rise of Global Business Services

GBS is grouping a company’s support functions, such as Finance, Procurement, IT and Human Resources (HR) into a cross-functional structure. GBS comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavours: with regional or global centres, combining onshore, nearshore, and offshore services with multiple types of sourcing – in-house and outsourced. GBS offers higher value for businesses at lower costs due to cross-fertilization of organization, optimization, knowledge, and resources.

But the evolution of GBS doesn’t stop there. The future is already here with Global Integrated Business Delivery, taking GBS one step further by incorporating all support services and utilizing innovative technology and analytics for maximum efficiency. With Global Integrated Business Delivery, businesses can achieve a seamless and integrated service delivery model that optimizes their support functions and enhances overall business performance.

While Global Integrated Business Delivery presents many opportunities, GBS implementation is often the crucial first step in optimizing service delivery. In this article, we’ve gathered a selection of developments in GBS to help your organization unlock its full potential.

Trend 1: Cross-functional Optimisation

In a support function, it is tempting to only optimise within the silo and stop at the points where a process is handed over to another department. The focus of that function is then on its own added value and its own operational improvements. However, because GBS works across functions, we are now witnessing a structural shift in thinking towards end-to-end processes and journeys. As a result, organisations are cashing in on opportunities that were previously missed. For example, where an HR SSC was successful in reducing costs for the HR administration and payroll input only, in a GBS environment there is room to build a broader business case with IT and Finance to improve the processes end-to-end for the benefit of the company as a whole.

By agreeing on a joint GBS roadmap across functions, plans and investments are made based on wider business objectives. This is an accelerator for the company’s supporting functions. True end-to-end process improvements require a broader view on developing ideas and implementing solutions rather than just looking within a silo. And that is precisely what GBS is about: spotting, analysing, and exploiting these collective opportunities for the organisation.

Trend 2: Deploying Intelligent Automation

Cloud solutions have brought a lot to the world of shared services and business process automation. However, organisations find that the many tools available make it more difficult to keep things simple and make processes transparent. GBS gives direction and accelerates automation by integrally designing smart processes. Under central governance, strategic priorities are translated into an automation roadmap. This prevents an organisation from having increasingly fragmented processes and tools. The most commonly deployed automation technologies are system integrations, workflows, digital forms and approvals/e-signatures, robotic process automation (for repetitive tasks) and digital document management (including storage and retention). GBS is also committed to developing a digital corporate culture, as well as how employees collaborate within the organisation. Based on the broader organisational strategy, GBS is able to make better long-term investment decisions. This means that the chosen technology or automation solutions can yield a higher ‘return on investment’ and achieve greater organisational buy-in.

Trend 3: Higher Productivity, Lower Costs

In the past decade, companies improved productivity by centralising services into an SSC or outsourcing to a BPO partner. In parallel, work was transferred to low-cost countries in Eastern Europe or Asia. Savings were achieved because of centralisation and lower labour costs. Organisations moving from an SSC or BPO model to a GBS model find that, even before making this transition, their costs are already low. Yet the added value of having an organisational GBS strategy goes beyond centralisation and labour arbitrage. With a focus on the broader business objectives, GBS is able to contribute to the organisation’s productivity and cost savings at another level – bringing the already-present drive for efficiency of SSC and BPO models to the level of company added value. A key reason for this is the broader perspective of GBS – by looking across the supporting functions, it helps uncover sources of inefficiency that were previously hidden. As a result, process improvements done within a GBS organisation have the potential to achieve even higher productivity and lower costs.

Trend 4: Virtual Teams 'In the Mix'

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that, wherever the nature of the work allows, working in virtual teams is an excellent alternative to working in one location. With the accelerated development of online collaboration tools, virtual collaboration is here to stay. For the development of GBS, this is a huge opportunity. In the perfect mix of onshore, nearshore, and offshore services, virtual teams are going to contribute to the expansion of capabilities and the continuity of service delivery. But above all, it means that location no longer needs to be a limiting factor in recruiting the best talent for GBS.

Trend 5: Data Insights to the Next Level

Another great part of the added value GBS provides is owed to the collection and analysis of digital data. GBS is strengthening the organisation’s access to digital data, because the GBS data team collects data needed by the company. The speed of almost real-time insights, reports, and dashboards from raw data offers great business value for the company, enabling leadership to make more accurate and proactive business decisions. Furthermore, by bringing together the competence of the different supporting functions comprised under GBS, digital capabilities are jointly developed. As such, the development of data tools and analytics skills is gaining increasingly more power in the GBS setting.

Trend 6: Professionalised Governance and Decision-making

With a GBS model, organisations are building a true governance organisation in which analysis, partner selection and service delivery decisions are brought together. In a developed GBS organisation, the GBS governance team is of a senior level so that influence can be exercised to all stakeholders. This means an immense strengthening of internal competence with respect to alignment on business needs, the building of sourcing strategies and executing these strategies. In addition, methodologies for transitions, change and communication across the organisation are standardised and professionalised.
GBS ensures better decision-making and service delivery management for supporting functions such as Finance, IT and HR, through the continuous alignment of initiatives with the strategic objectives of the organisation. An improvement especially when compared to a situation in which each function was doing their own thing.

How can these trends impact your organisation?

The described trends indicate that GBS as part of the HR operating model goes beyond the traditional SSC or BPO models. Its distinctiveness lies in a few key advantages:
• organisational objectives that drive the GBS strategy across functions, countries, and business units
• professionalised governance for better decision-making, change and performance management
• end-to-end and cross-functional process optimisation
• organisation-wide data management, analysis, and insights
• smart investments for automation
• having the scale to find the optimal mix of in-house centres and external providers and of onshore, nearshore, and offshore locations including virtual teams.

GBS delivers added value to the business from the organisation-wide service portfolio. Improved models will emerge, as well as versions of these models, to which virtual teams will greatly contribute. With further digitalisation, automation and the use of new technologies (such as artificial intelligence) on the horizon, GBS as an operating model is far from being fully developed but holds great promise for the future.

What Quintop can do for you

Quintop provides support to organisations in decision making and implementing a GBS solution, as well as optimizing existing GBS structures. From leading the implementation programme to managing the people impact. Our approach is built on our experience in GBS implementations across the globe. We apply our in-depth knowledge via the three pillars of organisational change: People, Processes, and Systems. This translates into:

1. People: Specific attention to all people-related topics such as restructuring and change management activities.
2. Processes: A structured approach to building the GBS Service Delivery model. Defining what should be done onshore, nearshore or offshore and implementing the optimal mix of internal service centres and outsourcing.
3. Systems: Leveraging our experience in digital transformations so that your systems can optimally support the service levels you strive for.

Because no organisation strategy is the same, it also means that the GBS strategy is never ‘one size fits all’. The final plan, approach and transition methodology are always customised for and with our clients.

Contact us to find out how we can make your organisation more successfull by delivering HR Transformation with passion, quality and a hands-on mentality

Integration is key

Companies usually have three technological go-to categories: HCM/SaaS solutions, HR Service Delivery Solutions and/or software focusing on topics like video interviewing, social learning and pulse surveys.  

Most companies tend to use an HCM/SaaS and Service Delivery Solution side by side, for example Workday and ServiceNow. If not fully integrated, line managers and employees are forced to execute HR processes switching from one tool to another. In practice, this often means they have trouble starting the more complex or infrequently used processes – the transactional system is just not intuitive enough. In order to provide the best user experience and ensure an intuitive and seamless end-to-end process, the HCM/SaaS and Service Delivery Solutions need to be fully integrated and aligned.  

Improved User Experience

Let’s take a closer look at a process supported by an integrated systems approach. The Service Delivery Solution will be the one stop shop, providing guidance through the people portal and knowledge base. It will orchestrate the end-to-end workflow including actions and approvals by several parties in the HCM/SaaS solution.  

An example: requesting to work part-time

Imagine an employee requesting to work part-time. When the manager and the employee have agreed on the terms, the manager wants to know how to start the appropriate processes and visits the people portal. Via a google-like search, he finds the knowledge article informing him about the policy as well as a link to the relevant Service Catalog item. This Service Catalog item will link directly to the associated workflow in the HCM/SaaS solution. After approval of the workflow (eg. By next level manager and/or HR) a ticket is created automatically in the Service Delivery Solution and routed to the right HR team. Via the people portal both the manager and the employee are updated on the progress of their request and will receive a confirmation when it is completed.  

Even though several departments were involved, and the process flows through different systems, for the manager it is a seamless process, providing an optimal user experience. 

An example: requesting a sabbatical

Below you’ll see the ease and benefits of an integrated approach illustrated in another example, using Workday and ServiceNow. 

Better together

The examples show that a well-integrated system results in end-to-end processes which are easy to follow, without having to switch between different systems or going back and forth between departments. This will improve user experience, optimize turnaround time and minimize errors. It allows for a better self-service system for managers and employees, supporting them in arranging all kinds of HR related matters without requiring their in-depth and up to date knowledge of the processes and approvals behind their request.  


Managers as well as HR departments will in turn save time and frustration when they are no longer required to handle standard scheduling issues, time-off requests and open enrollment questions. Entry errors and missing information may be avoided by allowing employees to enter their own information, guided by a standardized form. The move towards self-service allowed by fully integrated systems will eventually allow HR to add more strategic value, shifting their focus away from daily standardized operational activities. Evidently, at Quintop HR consultants we firmly believe it really is better together in HR digital transformation. 

From approach to implementation, Quintop fulfills different digital HR transformation roles. We are system and supplier independent. With a tailored approach we oversee the overall (global) transformation from a client’s perspective. Leading digital HR implementations, we are a trusted advisor and provide support in all aspects of the digital HR, keeping the end user in mind. In line with the HR Strategy, we define a tailormade transformation approach and roadmap for a successful roll out. 


  • HCM: Human capital management (HCM) software is an integrated suite of technologies that can help businesses manage their employees, from hire to retire. 
  • SaaS: Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. This can be (also) be used to support key HR functions. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management. 
  • Service Delivery Solution / system: the way users are provided access to (in this case) HR services, for example via a ticketing system. The platform/system could also cover employee/manager self service portals; HR digital document management etc. 
  • Service Catalog: a comprehensive list of services that an organization offers to its employees or customers. 


HR BPO means HR Business Process Outsourcing. It sounds simple, but in many cases, it is not. HR activities are diverse, from onboarding to development, from performance management to payroll administration, from promotions to termination of employment. Most organizations use external parties for some of their HR activities. However, not every external partner is a BPO partner.

This article discusses the reasons for, and risks associated with HR BPO. Additionally, we look ahead to future developments in BPO.

Link to HR BPO whitepaper

Organisations have recently been forced to react immediately to the new government policy: staying at home was the motto.

Even though the corona virus is currently not yet gone, there will undoubtedly be a ‘post-corona time’. As an organisation, you want to be prepared for this, but what does it look like and how do you manage it? Back to the ‘old’ or on to the ‘new normal’, where a lot of work will be done from home?

This manual provides practical tips for setting up your organisation during and after corona time.

Recently, we identified four effective implementation actions which could lead you towards a successful analytics strategy within your organization. One of them included the development of a data driven mind- and skillset within HR (Quintop, 2019). However, even till this day, only a minority of HR professionals seem to have the right skills and knowledge to use simple metrics in order to gain valuable insights by using people analytics (Diclaudio, 2019). No surprise that you may wonder what a data driven mind- and skillset within HR exactly means. Darren Aletoe conducted research on this topic and has shared his findings in our most recent whitepaper on people analytics.

In this new whitepaper, we will further explore ‘the data driven mind- and skillset’ component. To do so, the whitepaper will start at the core, meaning we will first do a deep dive into the current developments impacting the HR sector. What does this environment mean for the role of an HR professional? Which capabilities are essential to overcome the present challenges? Finally, with the help of a scientific literature review and interviews conducted with different HR executives, we reveal you two main competences that HR professionals should possess in order to derive value from data, now and in the future.

Read it here:

A vision and approach to EX

Investing in EX has significant positive impact on organisations. It is therefore no surprise that organisations are eager to influence and enhance it. But who is responsible for EX?

In this whitepaper we provide you with our answer, as well as approach and vision to this interesting concept.

Click here to download our whitepaper on EX.

Would you like to know more about why or why not harmonize employment conditions? Or do you want to know how long that will take? What do we think is a good approach to get started? 

Read our new whitepaper: 

Our expert, Peter van Delden, provides a clear explanation of: 

  • Why harmonize or not harmonize?
  • Usefulness anduselessness” of harmonization.
  • What you have to take into account when harmonizing.
  • What the turnaround time is.
  • What needs priority.
  • What the costs are.
  • Which legal aspects you need to take into account.
  • What expertise is required.
  • What our approach is.


A new approach to deal with today's corporate changes

In a world where change is the new constant, organizations and its leaders need to lead continuous change. Key is to embrace the change instead of trying to plan it.

In this whitepaper  we will explore different types of change, the ‘changes of change’ and how to leverage various methodologies to deal with today’s corporate changes.

Click here to download our whitepaper.

Did you know…

… A social plan is not required by law? 


Every organization is constantly on the move. Markets change, technologies change, business processes change and as a result, the work of employees also changes. That is part of normal business operations. 


In some situations, those changes are profound. For example, because fewer people are needed for work, because jobs change drastically or because turnover decreases sharply during times of crisis. This often involves a reorganization. A social plan is usually drawn up to properly absorb the negative consequences for employees. 

 In our white paper we discuss the ins and outs of the social plan. We explain when a social plan is needed, which legal aspects you have to take into account and what you can arrange in a social plan. We also briefly discuss the discussion of a social plan and our approach to drawing up a social plan: “How do you make a social plan? The ins and outs of the social plan” 

Learn more:

In today’s economy there have been developments that significantly changed the way employer and employee view and participate in their professional life. Having a full-time job at a single employer has been the norm for decades, but nowadays organizations do not solely hire employees on the basis of a fixed term contract. Flexible, part time and contingent workers are part of the engine of success of modern, multinational organisations. Hence, there is a growing organizational need to formulate an approach how to centrally manage the total workforce, which includes contingent workers on the one hand and traditional employees on the other (Ardent Partners, 2017).

In this whitepaper we will first discuss the concept of Total Workforce Management (TWM) and the trends that have led to the emergence of TWM. Moreover, we will highlight several benefits and stakeholder challenges in the implementation of this model, as well as our approach and vision to this topic.

Read all about TWM in our white paper here

How do we tell them?

In our practice and the multitude of reorganisations we have been involved in, we see roughly two ways of communicating. The first is the least pleasant for employees, namely the so-called “put out with the box” method. We see that employees have to leave the organization quickly, almost hidden. Communication is minimal and to avoid having to make agreements with the Works Council or unions, individual settlement agreements are sometimes concluded between employees and employers. Often such a way of acting leaves a black hole for those who stay behind and on the other hand leaves an undesirable and skeptical feeling for those who leave.

The second focuses more on transparency and employee involvement (both stayers and those who need to look further). In this approach you try to pay attention to informing and involving all stakeholders. So in addition to employees, works councils and unions are also in scope as much as possible from the start. Explain, ensure a clear, fair trial and clarify what considerations are and what the ultimate direction is. Employees who leave the organization with a positive feeling, no matter how annoying the outcome, are more likely to act as ambassadors, which in turn benefits the reputation of the organization. It almost goes without saying that we see that the second way of communicating leads to better results. But how do you do that? We outline the main points for attention.

Take responsibility

Ben Tiggelaar recently stated in an article that in a conversation he had with Henry Mintzberg that Mitzberg has long disliked the premise that leadership is separate from (and superior to) management (NRC 23 May): “Management and leadership cannot actually be separated. If you have a leader who doesn’t manage, he has no feeling for the company. People like that are so busy at the top that they don’t know what’s going on at the bottom of the organization. ” This also applies to reorganisations. It cannot be the case that a middle manager (or the HR advisor) delivers the message and the director gets away with it.

It is important that leadership takes responsibility and is approachable or approachable for all employees. That means telling the story yourself and making a connection between the need for the reorganization and its significance for employees.

Making a connection is not the same as crying. Make sure you know what emotions are going on and make your employees’ way of thinking your own. Emotions are now mainly the property of the employees and much less that of the leadership.

Give room for emotions, without putting your own emotions first.

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte shows a good example in the recent period. It is important to get the message clear, to give space to the emotions of your audience (especially drop silences), but avoid talking about your own worries. Nobody needs to hear how difficult it is for you personally. Above all, provide a suitable tone, which shows that you understand the situation and appreciate it. Also pay attention, but above all be clear. Repeat your message without exaggeration and show confidence in the process and the chosen way. Stay behind your own approach.

Transparency prevents annoyance

Sketching a future without a step-by-step plan is unthinkable at the time of a reorganization. If you plan to only show the final picture, employees will only see bears on the road. Or even worse, they will guess at the steps to take. Nobody will have the same idea about how you can create your future picture. You are guaranteed to organize gossip and backbiting. So tell what steps you will take when. And also let us know when you inform your people about the state of affairs. Then stick to that, otherwise you will have shown yourself unreliable.


  • Keep the long-term story clear for the people who stay, involve them. Don’t make them an outsider.
  • Drop silences to let the message sink in. Avoid discussions and keep the goal in mind: getting the message across. “Don’t comfort, don’t raise expectations and keep the conversation short.”
  • The non-verbal is just as important as the verbal; take your words seriously.
  • Also pay attention to whether your message has been received and always put it in writing to be sure, because usually a bad message comes across badly. Even if you tell the story neatly, people tend to deny, downplay and annoy annoying statements.
  • Tell your story from the perception of your audience: how do they feel, what are they looking for? Think of the stayers and the goers.
  • Be clear about what you now know how you intend to get there.
  • Be honest about what you don’t know yet.
  • Make it clear when new information is being told again and stick to it. Be consistent.
  • After plenary communication, make sure that there is room for giving meaning to the message in teams or departments. Prepare your managers or supervisors to do this well in advance.


    Continuity is central to the content of your story. You want to indicate that reorganization is necessary for the continuity of the organization. But you also want employees to experience continuity in their work. Business continues during the renovation. Customers still need to be well served. To ensure that it is necessary to make the connection between the future model and how this is the only way that contributes to the continuity of the organization. Make it clear that it is really necessary. Unions will also be interested in this.

    (After) care

    Take care of your employees. Actually as always, but now with even more attention and pro-activity. A good example is organizing so-called breakout sessions after plenary meetings. Ensure that employees are well received and can express their emotions in smaller groups. Provide space there for asking questions. At the same time, ensure that leaders are well equipped for this role.

    From work to work effort! PS. the government helps.

    Perhaps more difficult to realize and not directly in the interest of the company, but try to help your employees find new work. Various measures (in addition to the government’s message to play a role in this) show that employers are expected to help and support the transition from work to work. Incidentally, from July the dutch cabinet will make € 50 million euro’s available under the heading “NL learns by” for online training of employees of companies affected by the Corona crisis.

    Using HR data effectively

    What challenges do organizations face in adopting a solid approach to People Analytics, and what can be done to address these issues?

    Ivan Staarman researched this topic and shared his findings in our White Paper on People Analytics whitepaper over People Analytics.