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Introducing the third 'E' into GBS and Shared Services - 'Experience'

Alisa McPhail

Feb 2024

4 min read

Joining us at The AP Arms pub this week is the brilliant Chris Gunning, Finance Transformation Leader - Global Shared Services at NielsenIQ. Chris - craft beer connoisseur-come-Chartered Accountant - started his career in internal and external audit, but soon found his passion for designing, building and running GBS organisations, specialising in Finance Operations. Today, Chris covers the topic of 'Experience' - inclusive of employee, customer and stakeholder experience. It's a good one - don't miss it!


Watch the episode ▶️


Let's get some background on what Chris is up to now

“I joined NIQ in 2023. NielsenIQ is the world’s leading consumer intelligence company. Through data analytics, we give the world full view of consumer buyer behaviour.”

Chris stepped in to take the GBS and Shared Services functions at NIQ to the next level. Today, their Finance GBS organisation is 400 members strong, with a primary hub in Pune, India and secondary hubs in Budapest, China, and Colombia. The centres are currently focused on traditional finance activities such as R2R, P2P and O2C but as the organisation moves through 2024, Chris and his team are looking to bring in new solutions to NIQ's finance portfolio.


Some key GBS takeaways from our catch up down the pub

Chris joined us at the AP Arms to talk on the topic of ‘Experience’. In the conversation, he refers to the overlooked third ‘E’ in GBS/Shared Services. Of course, all organisations are focused on efficiency and effectiveness, but Chris warns that companies should...

Ignore experience at your own peril

He continues to discuss that in recent years, experience has become an all-important factor in the GBS and Shared Services space. Whether it’s user experience, employee experience or (internal/external) customer experience - if you don’t focus on creating that experience, you’re going to lose customers, the confidence of your stakeholders and the talent you’ve worked hard to get on board.


A passion for people and talent 

“People and talent are the bedrock of a successful GBS/Shared Services organisation. Process and tech are important but without the right talent strategy, you’re not going to tee yourself up for success. So, you must start with your hiring strategy.”

He goes on to cover the topics of hiring the right leaders, lowering attrition rates (which are as high as 40% in the GBS world) and connecting your people and digital strategies.


Connecting people and experience with your digital strategy

Experience is particularly important considering the profile of a large portion of today’s workforce - next gen and millennials. These are the generations who are accustomed to and therefore expect to be empowered with the latest and greatest tech. And so, unless you create an exciting environment for them to join, they’re not going to be motivated to come to work. Therefore, connecting your people and digital strategy is essential to ensuring the delivery of effective processes that drive cost efficiencies and provide a market-leading experience for both internal and external stakeholders alike.

Chris goes on to share examples of what NielsenIQ has been up to in this area and what plans it's got around finance transformation in 2024. When we asked Chris what he was most excited about, he shared:

 “Pushing hard on AI and gen AI – we are on verge of something really cool. There are some amazing AI/ML tools that can help drive real business outcomes… Maximising working capital by bringing in cash faster, reducing late payment fees or finding early payment discounts for example."

The conversation continues to address the elephant in the room – the resistance to AI/Machine Learning based technologies.

"Overcoming this comes down to education - the more we learn about privacy and security, biased and hallucinations for example, the more comfortable we get with it, and the quicker this revolution moves.

The power is incredible. It’s exciting to think about how we can bring more of it into our finance operations looking forward.”


Slowly, slowly - caption the monkey

As a little bit of fun, we asked Chris to caption a monkey image so we could create his very own meme as a gift from all of us here at The AP Arms.


Chris Gunnings GBS meme for The AP Arms


Watch the short video interview to get the full scoop. We'd like to say a huge thank you to Chris Gunning for being our first guest at The AP Arms and what a brilliant kick-off it was!

Interested in popping in? Let us know – as a new establishment ‘round here, we’re always looking for more guests!

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