Rise Up and Take Your Place in the Digital Sun, GICs! | Sherpas in the News

Something big is stirring throughout the global in-house center (GIC) landscape. Across all industry verticals, GIC tech executives are rolling out a broad array of initiatives that place bold bets on new digital technologies, which they expect will fundamentally change how their business operates.

While the current digital market is unarguably dominated by service providers, the share of GICs is increasing slowly and steadily. GICs are well poised to support the enterprise in its digital transformation journey given that:

  • They have an established foundation with a significant talent pool and an insider’s view that is vitally necessary to support digital-related transformation
  • They play a strategic role in building internal innovation capabilities for the parent, which is imperative to survive in the dynamic digital space
  • They are closely intertwined with the core business functions and can comfortably leverage their unique position to integrate digital delivery capabilities and yield synergies for the parent.

Current landscape

While most GICs have forayed into this digital journey by supporting the parent in its broader digital agenda, some have clearly outshone to display tremendous potential not only to just effectively support, but also to lead the way for digital transformation of the enterprise. There are examples at both ends of the spectrum – some GICs continue to deliver back-end support for digital operations (e.g., social media monitoring, core analytics, and mobility testing), and some enjoy ownership of key end-to-end processes (even Robotics Process Automation!). While some operate with a push-based approach to demand creation for even evolved digitals segments (e.g., analytics,) some relish a pull-based approach for burgeoning digital segments (e.g., RPA,) and meaningfully influence the nature and quantum of digital work being delivered from the GIC.

Analytics is the most evolved segment, with ~40 percent market share. Most of the other digital segments are in the initial to mid stages of evolution. Cloud and mobility represent significant shares, with most of the GICs currently delivering transactional services within these segments, such as application testing within mobility, infrastructure management and orchestration within cloud. Social & interactive and RPA are relatively nascent segments, with only a few GICs showing capabilities to harness them and deliver effective solutions.

The extent of digital adoption across industry verticals, and the maturity of digital segments within these verticals, varies significantly. BFSI is the leading adopter of digital services, with strong capabilities in analytics, mobile, and RPA. The product and technology vertical follows next, with about one-quarter of the market share. GICs in this vertical typically develop sweet spots across the digital stack (e.g., cloud,) with significant scale and depth, thereby achieving a higher level of sophistication in select areas. The third largest adopter is the retail segment, where digital is being leveraged to understand consumer buying behavior and drive a seamless cross-channel customer experience.

Challenges

While digital presents a path-breaking opportunity for GICs to upshift the value being delivered to the enterprise, it doesn’t come without its set of challenges. Almost all GICs unanimously report that their key challenge to going digital is talent – both finding and retaining it. The highly competitive landscape, with the unprecedented shortage of “ready-to-consume” talent, is creating a situation in which entities are feeling the heat of competition not only from their traditional rivals, but also from emerging disruptive rivals. For example, retail banks are facing stiff competition from mobile payment tech providers such as Google Wallet, PayPal, and others. To overcome this challenge, best-in-class GICs have adopted innovative approaches to talent management such as hiring from creative/media agencies for specialized skills, such as social media.

To revel in this digital chaos, GICs are also driving ecosystem partnership with start-ups to drive their innovation agenda, especially automation, workflow management, and analytics. This allows them to derive complementary benefits such as acceleration of own technology, higher speed of innovation, better understanding of customer needs and new business models, branding as an innovation-driven organization, and improved internal employee motivation.

Quite distinctly, digital presents a lucrative opportunity for GICs to upshift their role from a cost arbitrage-focused provider to a strategic partner driving innovation for the parent.

Rise up and take your place in the digital sun, GICs! Your journey has just begun!

For more insights on the GIC digital landscape, please refer to our recently released report, “GICs Leading the way for Digital Transformation of the Enterprise.” The report provides an overview of the current state of digital adoption in GICs, assesses digital maturity of GICs based on a framework, evaluates functional maturity of the top three industry verticals, and highlights best practices, key implications, and calls-to-action for GICs. The report will help senior GIC stakeholders understand the opportunities and challenges offered by this disruptive wave of digital services.

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