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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | September 22, 2017

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The Professionals: Nabil Gangi, FAO of the United Nations

The Professionals: Nabil Gangi, FAO of the United Nations
The Professionals
  • On May 23, 2012

We kick off our new series of interviews with buy-side outsourcing and shared services practitioners – The Professionals – with a Q&A with the Chief, Shared Services Center, for the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations…

Outsource: What are the three most important attributes you seek in a potential partner – and what one single factor is most likely to prevent you partnering with an organisation?

Nabil Gangi: “A real successful partnership is for life, not only for the duration of a project.” For a project to be successful and relevant to my going concern, its results should be a noted milestone in the corporate life. I need a learning partner, who is using knowledge and expertise to understand and learn my needs, applying this learning to support my business model.

I wouldn’t partner up with a rigid, one-size-fits-all organisation.

O: What’s the most impressive instance of innovation you’ve encountered during your time in and around the shared services and outsourcing space, and why?

NG: The most impressive in results was probably the simplest such ‘innovation’. Simplifying a process and streamlining its workflow in one operation of the organisation resulted in a decrease of approximately 20 per cent of the resources attached to this process. This was with a very simple solution which made me believe that indeed simplicity is at the core of any sustainable innovative approach.

O: What’s the most outrageous example of shared services/outsourcing “worst practice” you’ve witnessed, and why?

NG: It is the disenfranchising of the offshored (or outsourced) services through exclusion from decision-making and thinking processes and treating the shared services as a secretarial support. It blocks the service centres from reaching their full potential – in fact, it dries them out. Shared services, especially now, become so much more in a manner where they can and should contribute meaningfully to the enhancement of the core business.

O: What do you see as being the biggest obstacle/s to the further expansion and evolution of the shared services and outsourcing space?

NG: Status quo comfort zones: real development only happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Many fear change instead of embracing it, seeing the risks instead of the wealth of opportunities behind it. Change is an opportunity and you need to seize it!

O: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt over the course of your career?

NG: “Loin des yeux loin du Coeur…” A cliché which couldn’t be further from the truth unless we want it to be… Whether on the professional or on the personal front, physical proximity should never be a measure for being distant from your partner…

Are you one of The Professionals? Would you like to take our Q&A (and maybe win yourself an iPad and a bespoke cover of Outsource magazine)? Just click here for more details

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