The Global Capability Centre (GCC) landscape has evolved significantly in the last decade, making the country home to 1,300+ GCCs and employing over 1.3 million talented individuals. According to a joint report by Deloitte and NASSCOM, these centres contribute towards 1% of India’s GDP. They also facilitate revenues to potentially scale up to $60–$85 billion by 2022 from its $33.80 billion figure in 2019–20.
In the last decade, GCCs have evolved from back-office operations into value-added, business-critical operations that drive global functions. Where they previously concerned themselves with overseeing support functions’ operations and IT support, now many GCCs have matured into owning these processes for parent organisations, running their R&D centres, driving product innovation and building e-commerce capabilities. A study by Deloitte summarises this transition – GCCs have matured along two axes, bringing in more business-critical scope of services and taking more end-to-end ownership of these services.
Expansion and growth are critical in this space. The winning combination of a clear, well-executed strategy and a thriving ecosystem in India offers the right support towards this expansion and accelerating transformation. GCCs should focus on enabling purpose-driven growth by building a meaningful network in the industry, developing programmes that summarise learnings and best practices, and forming an internal pool of Business Service leaders and experts.
Here are my thoughts on enabling success in the GCC space:
Firstly, work towards building a culture of ownership to drive operational excellence and automation.
Fostering this culture of ownership is a true competitive advantage to GCCs in today’s time. To begin this process of transforming from a back office operation to a leading GCC is to drive that change in mindset. From supporting the client in the Zone to owning a result for the Zone. The aim should be to inspire all your employees to take personal ownership of their operational results. Start empowering your teams to automate their jobs and reposition their careers to more value-added, strategic roles. This encourages employees to take charge and ownership of their careers.
Another focus area would be to hire and build talent of the future. Focus recruitment efforts on top tech and management campuses across India. Injecting fresh talent has the potential to transform your organisation ground-up as this talent works with new technologies that help automate transactional roles, garner insights from data and bring a unique perspective into the organisation.
India is uniquely positioned for such a holistic transformation with a talent pool of millions of new graduates annually that are skilled in technology, operations, data and analytics. Next to the availability of young tech talent, India also boasts of a BPO and GCC ecosystem with over 20 years of experience in several domains like Finance and IT. This is another pool of domain experts that can drive business results.
To fully transform the GCC workforce, a balance of external recruitment alongside upskilling the current workforce is fundamental. Given the diverse nature of the functions that capability centres support, being industry agnostic plays a huge role in attracting the right talent. Evaluating talent based on subject matter expertise and building a diverse and inclusive workforce sets the stage for success.
Lastly, GCCs can flourish by leading the innovation and transformation agenda. Being at the forefront of this shift means evolving from the traditional scope of a GCC to a centre for innovation and digital transformation. GCCs should always be on the lookout to establish new capabilities, leverage AI / ML, empower start-ups to infuse technology into the organization and introduce meaningful employee initiatives – all of which have the potential to deliver several million dollars of bottom-line savings per year.
India and Bengaluru have proved to be the best platform for building innovative capabilities at scale. The thriving start-up ecosystem, leading data science community and tight-knit group of GCC leaders are fundamental in creating an enabling GCC ecosystem. Bengaluru boasts a well-connected and collaborative ecosystem that facilitates thought leadership and exchange of best practices.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, GCCs in India showed resilience and commitment towards their employees – it was heartening to see how GCCs supported their employees by providing medical support. This has earned the GCCs the unparalleled loyalty of employees who have gone out of their way to support their employers. As a result, the GCC market has seen a rapid and persistent growth both in existing and new GCCs, banking on that resilience and strengthened reputation.
Today, in the post-pandemic world we live in, it is predicted that GCCs will become even more strategic to an organisation’s headquarters or even play the role of a second headquarter. They will be expected to drive growth and value across companies’ value chains with impetus on innovation.
As companies’ customer front ends are digitising, their back offices will also need to adapt to the changing trends by making way for a hybrid, flexible work model. GCCs will need to manage this challenge while simultaneously finding ways to attract top talent in a new hybrid world.
I look forward to the next frontier. How can the collective expertise of GCCs world-over be scaled? What if 1,300+ GCCs across India could collaborate in creating a robust ecosystem, delivering similar business value for their parent concerns and further elevating the maturity of the sector as a whole?
I am excited by that dream and I am sure that thousands of talented people in India will be too. The GCC market seems like the place to be in the next couple of years!