Talkstars 2012: Erin Champlin, EMC

In the run up to Shared Services & Outsourcing Week 2012, we are cornering some of our keynote speakers to get their perspective on the marketplace.

Register now for Shared Services & Outsourcing Week 2012, March 2012, Orlando.

Barbara Hodge: Erin, what is the Global Business Service model that you have implemented at EMC?

EC: EMC launched its Global Business Services about three years ago. We operate a hybrid model, partnering with Accenture — about 80% of our team members across the world are EMC employees and about 20% are partner-based, meaning Accenture. We have four regional hubs and two global hubs, and our customer base has expanded to include purchasing, education services, sales, pre-sales and our global services/consulting business.

In terms of services provided, for finance it’s your traditional transaction processing — accounts payable, credit and collections, order entry; for sales we are doing opportunity generation and data scrubbing as well as master data management; for global services we’re doing consulting project setup, consulting billing support, master data management again, some reporting, education services, class registrations, certifications and other back office operations.

Barbara Hodge: A lot of companies that I speak to today are looking for growth in the Asia Pacific region – how would running a Global Business Services support this growth? What are the benefits?

EC: I think it’s really scale. In EMC’s business, scaling is leading to more transactions at a lower dollar value. Therefore, in order to continue to maintain our margins, we need to get better. Enabling scale globally is key. We recently established our centre in Asia, where we were challenged by language as well as by getting the right competency in finance. We have been successful and are already seeing the benefits there. Now that we have that location up and running we will extend it to provide services beyond finance, to our other areas, as well.

Barbara Hodge: Many people suggest that taking a multi-disciplinary approach actually facilitates rolling out global services. Do you think that’s true? Why would you discourage, for example, a single function global services approach?

EC: At EMC we provide three options. Any functional area can decide whether they want to outsource themselves with a provider; build it themselves, leveraging locations that EMC has across the globe; or partner with Global Business Services – my organisation. We think that partnering with our organisation provides a lot of benefits because we’ve been able to standardise on tools and processes. We have a service infrastructure that defines roles and responsibilities, and SLAs, provides performance measurements, efficiency, a governance model, and also benchmarking. Our people are also very good at driving variance out of the system — so that provides a little healthy tension with our delivery operations groups, making them more efficient over time.

Barbara Hodge: How did you launch your services —building small and expanding?

EC: We started with two and then brought in seven unique customers and we haven’t lost any along the way so I think that’s a good thing. I think we’re proving to be victims of our own success. We are actively marketing and have executive sponsorship, so that’s wonderful; but I think we also have a proven track record of success and therefore functions within EMC are saying, hey, maybe I’ll talk to GBS about performing this for me because then I can concentrate on my core competency.

Barbara Hodge: What about from the CFO perspective, Erin, what do you think are the most important results or metrics that your CFO is getting out of the Global Shared Services?

EC: Our CFO looks at our average cost per head, and also looks at our distribution of talent across the globe — is it positioning us for the long term? He understands that there are areas that, as we bring them into GBS, may not be efficient right from the get go, but will become efficient over time, based on the fact that we have an operating model that drives that healthy tension between delivery and the PMO. He counts on us to deliver 5% year-over-year efficiencies in each and every area.

Barbara Hodge: Many folks I speak to today are talking about data management and business intelligence. How is this panning out in your group?

EC: EMC, as a corporation, is all about big data, the cloud, being mobile, and managing information — so it’s a very relevant question for us. As a GBS organisation, in order to create value — not just respond to our customer’s expectations but create value — we need to leverage the data within our systems that we’re transacting day-to-day and provide intelligence from those systems back to our customers so they can make informed decisions. That’s absolutely what we’re doing in each of our sales areas.

Barbara Hodge: Erin, thank you so much for your time, we look forward to hearing more from you in Orlando at Shared Services and Outsourcing Week 2012.

Erin Champlin will be speaking about global business services at Shared Services & Outsourcing Week 2012, March 2012, Orlando.