What an energy sector use case teaches us about getting digital transformation right

TBR has kept a close eye on the energy sector as macroeconomic pressures have forced adoption of digital solutions to problems as old as oil itself. As the business of providing digital transformation services has evolved, TBR has increasingly seen use cases proving substantive, transformative change for companies not in the news or in every emerging technologies presentation. PwC provided TBR a deeper dive on one particular use case, which pulls together those two strands and serves as a useful marker for the present moment in digital transformation.

Show me how I can shrink my inventory using data and analytics

For an oil field services company, PwC deployed elements of its Supply Chain Opportunity and Optimization Platform (SCOOP) offering, including analytics and visualization tools. The company, an existing finance, tax and IT services client, admitted to having “no visibility” into its inventory, making it a perfect case for PwC’s Supply Chain and Data & Analytics practice offerings. By delivering prescriptive analytics across a single product line stored in more than 200 warehouses globally, through a visualization tool that “sold the project,” PwC identified opportunities for the client to reduce inventory by approximately 20% and reduce associated costs by as much as 5%.

Change management determines everything

In debriefing TBR, PwC shared some additional insights into what made the project a success — with success in part defined by the client’s decision to replicate the analytics-based approach across additional product lines. First, PwC baked change management into the engagement, declaring that “managing the change is part of everything we do.” While TBR has heard similar assertions around the criticality of change management in digital transformation engagements, PwC brought forward a few new elements, including a redefinition of the client’s operating model based on the talent the client would need to have on hand to gain the most benefit from PwC’s SCOOP solution. PwC planned upfront for the client’s talent needs and ensured the business model implications would minimize downstream efforts to train client personnel.

In addition, PwC considered the client’s needs to demonstrate success internally — to justify the costs, ensure additional investments, and keep the project funded and viable — and said simply that “change management includes showing that [the PwC solution] is working.” This marks a subtle shift of KPIs from measuring clients’ satisfaction with the consultancy to serving as part of internal change management. Pulling the various strands together, PwC noted that change management can be the most complex element in an engagement: “Training, communications, implementation, coaching, building the metrics, and ensuring changed behavior” all determine whether a project takes four weeks or more than 12 to go from visualization to full-on implementation.

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