Technological skills and innovation powering GCC growth

The Economic Times GCC Transformation Series round table powered by Thomson Reuters took place in Bengaluru, bringing together top global leadership from Thomson Reuters and the Indian GCC space. The discussion focused on how GCCs are moving up the value chain, hiring more decision-makers, and overcoming challenges around perception and talent management.

The GCC Landscape in India

As per the NASSCOM Deloitte report “GCC Value Proposition for India,” India accounts for a 50% share of the global GCC market employing 1.3 million people. Due to the impact of the pandemic on digitization, the number of GCCs in India has increased. The above report estimates a growth potential of 1.5-3 times, which can result in a US$20-30 billion market size expansion over the next 5-6 years, given the proper ecosystem support and government incentives.

Trends Driving GCCs Up The Value Curve

Organizations across the board have become comfortable running high-level knowledge processes from their GCCs, including digital RPA, ML, and AI. India is asserting its presence by driving business outcomes across functions. It’s being judged on the amount of cross-selling, upselling and direct value to P&L. Set-ups focused on collaboration with their customers and more integrated with the whole business process can innovate more, thus driving up the value they deliver.

“In my early days in consulting, we always started with a process that seemed simple. Today you start with a much more holistic process and figure out how to make it self-sustaining. During the pandemic, we took a step together, and functions that work well together are evolving, for example, the operations and engineering teams. Top tech talent is working across the spectrum and improving processes across functions – operations, finance, or sales. That’s a huge shift we see internally and with our customer base,” Kirtsy Roth, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Thomson Reuters.

For some of the more specialized finance processes, in the past, you’d need a graduate CPA for accounting and tax work in India. You’d have to choose from a small pool of US-qualified CPAs with the required qualifications. But now, we need someone who understands technology and accounting. Irrespective of the function, now you need people with technological expertise,” Vishal Parekh, Regional Head – India, South-East Asia, Middle & Africa, Thomson Reuters.

GCCs investing in talent development and helping leaders think about the business end-to-end are finding it easier to create an impact. Entities that can position themselves as extended headquarters can expand themselves. The biases in recruiting specialist roles have been reduced. For example, senior risk advisory roles traditionally not offered in India are now being filled here. Additionally, critical decisions on tools, processes, or automation in finance no longer need to be guided by US-based leadership. There are plenty of experts here, and they are driving the discussion on what needs to be done to improve processes. Indian set-ups have also started taking the lead on crucial metrics like ESG.

India has successfully rebranded itself as a hub for talent across functions. One of the country’s significant advantages is combining technology and specialists from different processes. Another is the access to a large amount of data related to recruiting. The more Indian GCCs can run analytics on these numbers, the more they can provide top management with valuable insights.

Challenges

Even though the number of CXOs in Indian GCCs has substantially increased, the overall number is still tiny. Process standardization and accountability need to improve in India. Apart from these issues, the mindset of the topmost leaders needs to change regarding India, as some companies still look at it as a suitable location for shared service centers and support work.

“A significant part of the challenge is the change management with the rest of the global workforce, in how we help them understand that India extends beyond labor arbitrage and low-level support to a more a critical part of the end-to-end process . For that, you need senior leaders here, and we’ve consistently expanded our leadership here and look to continue to do that,” says Mary Alice Vuicic, Chief People Officer, Thomson Reuters.

Despite the challenges, the concept of transformation has evolved from ‘let’s automate this’ to ‘what else can we do.’ End-to-end processes are no longer siloed in retail, accounting, finance, or any other function. Main controls and procedures are also changing to suit the locations where most of the work is happening.

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