Transforming BHP’s shared services into one global, digital partner

BHP photography from Blackwater site

Transforming BHP’s shared services into one global, digital partner

The world’s largest natural resources company BHP decided it would re-invent its shared services model. Shared services needed to become a digital transformation partner for the business with a clear focus on building class-leading end-to-end (E2E) processes. The company turned to PwC to help transform Global Business Services (GBS) into a single operating business, connecting value-chain processes and elevating operational productivity and efficiency to a new level. 

The bottom line: to deliver sustained outcomes for more than 80,000 BHP employees and contractors globally through a managed service. To achieve this, PwC brought to the table its philosophy of shared goals and outcomes, embedding in BHP’s business and culture in a way that allowed the PwC team to hit the ground running. Work began in 2021, and with a customised combination of industry know-how, proprietary tech and global perspective, the PwC team was able to leverage its existing skills, knowledge and alliances to scale change whenever and wherever required. That meant that when the time came to evolve the project and accelerate outcomes, the programme team was ready.

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Connect, first and last

For BHP the clear goal was to connect and digitalise its processes. “At BHP, productivity for our frontline stems from many connected processes and interfaces that need to work effectively,” says Sundeep Singh, Group Officer of GBS. Maximising that connectivity represented a significant transformation of BHP’s operating model, aligning teams from finance, human resources,  inventory and procurement, to marketing, sales and maritime operations. 

A programme team was formed across BHP and PwC and included skills across digital, people and the GBS business as well as domain expertise. The ambition for the programme was always high and at the outset, an outside-in view played an important part in forming the vision. The approach envisioned integrating strategy, digital transformation, and operational capabilities including process intelligence, automation, and data analytics into a unified GBS service offering.

 As the project evolved the scope expanded, to encompass services such as risk and controls compliance, ServiceNow, SAP-related capabilities like testing, as well as change management and mergers and acquisitions.

"The goal was to enhance throughput and lift the capability for process improvement as a connected and data driven organisation, with a trusted provider," - Angelo Estrera, Global Client Partner at PwC

“Part of our role was to connect BHP with leading global organisations in GBS to understand the art of the possible and to challenge ourselves on the solution and what would work for BHP.”

Peter Kurtz, GBS Partner at PwC

“Through the new approach, we’re working to remove process waste, reduce variation for reliability, and identify automation opportunities to prioritise the frontline customer experience at an operational level.”

Sundeep Singh, Group Officer, GBS

How to unify the business

In the past every process at BHP, from producing financial accounts to managing the supply chain process, had been carried out by separate functionally-led shared services teams. PwC’s end-to-end (E2E) process transformation approach was the foundation for connecting processes to break down silos and drive operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

“Our E2E transformation solution has been successfully embedded into BHP and provides the foundation for ongoing productivity solutions, removing waste and interfaces across each value chain and GBS as a whole.”, says Shaun Ryan, Partner, E2E Transformation, PwC Australia. The core approach leverages multiple techniques and solutions including data-driven process intelligence to identify opportunities. It then brings together an agile team handpicked to conduct sprints that drive productivity and transformation with precision and pace. A proven methodology then helps identify, design and deliver change. 

“PwC brought the best of culture, project management and data driven process intelligence capabilities”, says BHP’s Sundeep Singh. The team approach is collaborative and flexible, building solutions that are tailored to BHP’s system of work, people, culture, and technology. At a global level, E2E process transformation was used to diagnose process variation and identify waste reduction opportunities, creating a pipeline of improvement and an ongoing platform for accelerated delivery. This meant mapping processes from the perspective of the end user, and understanding what it feels like to execute, first-hand.

Human-led and digitally-powered: solving for the future.

However, the transformation of GBS is not only about process change. It’s about upskilling to new ways of working, adopting new behaviours, and embedding a culture with digital skills to deliver data-led decisions. “Core capabilities have grown from process engineering to customer experience,” says Andrew Genever, Partner, Finance Transformation, PwC Australia. “From the beginning, GBS was about working together, not only between BHP and PwC, but between GBS and each function of the business.” 

Working together as a community of solvers, BHP and PwC created a ‘one team’ environment to solve together in real time. This meant engaging functional owners of the business and being clear on the scope and mandate for the project: the watchwords were continual collaboration and co-creation.

For BHP, PwC delivers transformation as a service:

  • Collaboration to achieve shared outcomes

  • Integration at scale and pace

  • People-enabled and empowered

  • Transformation becomes operational

  • Value of $500m plus created

BHP photography from Jimblebar site

Adapting to a dynamic environment

The project work began during the challenges of COVID-19, and combined with the reframing of work patterns that has followed, meant the majority of it was achieved virtually, with teams coming together from around the world. To map and diagnose process optimisation opportunities, the teams used deep data science and analytics, together with subject experts, delivery squads and shared agile teams to execute necessary process changes. 

“When engaging with stakeholders, it’s important to go beyond presentations and deliver live demos to actually demonstrate the output”, says Shaun Ryan, adding “this allows people to see what’s possible through proof of concepts and simulation tools.” Process automation tools provide further support, while citizen ownership tools help accelerate improvement pipelines.

Playbooks for the future

“GBS now provides a critical enabler for process transformation,” says Peter Kurtz, GBS Partner at PwC – and the transformation has been systemised and documented. Playbooks provide in-depth information on how GBS delivers digital transformation, detailing roles, responsibilities, and the ‘wiring’ within them across people and areas of accountability.

“The greater capacity for the GBS team to unlock productivity for our frontline operational assets better enables the enterprise to unlock its core purpose,” says BHP’s Sundeep Singh. “PwC has supported BHP in building this capability.”

That includes the capability to scale at pace. “For client management teams wanting to automate overnight, there needs to be a new way of thinking about technology deployment”, says PwC’s Angelo Estrera. “Tech and business need to work closer together for faster outcomes, however it’s often hard for large, global organisations to do that. That’s where having the right advisor and approach is key”.

The creation of a digital, connected GBS continues today as PwC seeks to expand BHP’s capabilities through continued collaboration, building on the foundation of trust and shared values they have co-created. 

“The relationship is built on a culture of partnership, founded in the capacity to deliver with shared values of respect, integrity, and pursuit of performance at every point in the process,” says Sundeep Singh. 

The managed services agreement was extended by two years in 2023, and will run until July 2027.

BHP photography from South Flank site

“Through this work, a new equation has been created for our own organisation— connecting people, processes and data to reliably deliver and lift productivity and thereby enabling our customers across BHP to unlock their full potential.”

Sundeep Singh, Group Officer GBS

Contact us

Angelo Estrera

Consulting Managed Services Lead, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 431 774 293

Varya Davidson

Partner, Energy Transition, Strategy& Australia

Peter Kurtz

Partner, Consulting - Finance Transformation, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 451 778 511

Shaun Ryan

Partner, E2E Process Transformation Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 481 977 707

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