Outsourcing – GE’s Back Office

Here is an inside look at GE's back office operation in India.

With characteristic aplomb, Gecis CEO Pramod Bhasin gets keyed up when he talks about what the BPO industry in India is capable of. "In the past, outsourcing was typically around finance and accounting," he says. "But now there's no reason why you can't outsource part of the risk underwriting for a financial services company, claims processing for an insurance company, and a large part of the supply chain for a manufacturing company." It was Bhasin, a chartered accountant, who gave birth to the idea that India could serve as a back-office hub for GE globally, a notion that came to him while he was scouting for a similar solution for GE Capital in India.

The 450 processes that Gecis has been doing for GE businesses go beyond just finance and accounting. These processes are undertaken by ten "centers of excellence" — COEs — which are categorized according to industry or function. For example, the insurance COE provides underwriting, claims processing, and actuarial services for units such as GE Insurance Solutions. Come October, says a smiling project manager working for GE's property and casualty reinsurance business, his team of 23 people will take over the job of the U.S.-based claims handler, who decides the amount of insurance payouts. The claims handler will only review the amount calculated in India.

The world is becoming ever more a global community. I think it's time to stop fighting the trend and figure out how the U.S. can excel in this new era.