PwC looks at the market and listens to customers to envision what comes next
TBR met with PwC’s Colin McIntyre in May to discuss PwC’s Deals practice, prompted in part by the changing market landscape as pandemic fears and headwinds in the U.S. and Europe appeared to be abating, accelerating interest in merger, acquisition and divestiture activities. McIntyre started the discussion by noting the firm views the emerging post-pandemic market as a key time to accelerate the digital transformation of its Deals practice in concert with changes happening across PwC’s enterprise clients. He noted that new drivers and trends in M&A include the nature of capital, geopolitical and regulatory changes, changing demographics, technology innovations and transformations, and shifting industry opportunities. In this volatile market, PwC sees opportunities to create value around strategic repositioning, performance improvement and asset optimization.
Beyond that fairly straightforward assessment, PwC formed its emerging views around the deals landscape through both in-depth “voice of the customer” research and the firm’s ongoing — and increasing frequency of — Deals engagements. Further, PwC has recognized that clients’ expectations around data sets have shifted from data as an underlying component to wanting insights and data-backed decision making much earlier in the deal’s process. Not data for data’s sake but, in McIntyre’s phrasing, “Take insight and data and be part of the journey … what does that data mean to the client.”
If post-pandemic realities have reordered what is important to customers in looking for acquisitions, PwC’s digitization of its Deals support process is certainly fortuitous. In TBR’s view, PwC’s re-evaluation of the post-pandemic deals market, with an emphasis on data and analysis and a recognition that uncertainty persists, reinforces the firm’s core offerings to help clients stabilize, reposition, acquire and reinvest. Not surprisingly, given the shifts within PwC that TBR has discussed in special reports over the past few years, those core offerings have been bolstered through a digital platform.
Harvesting data for deals, getting to value quickly and delivering differently
PwC describes the relatively new Junction platform as “the digital connectivity point for Deals, providing an enriched, web-based platform for our clients to engage with the team’s insights and analysis. For our people, it creates a digital link between execution and delivery, automating manual processes and streamlining how we ‘report.’” In McIntyre’s more colorful words, Junction is a cloud-based “harvesting machine” for helping clients generate insights and allows PwC to link and talk with clients about their key investment thesis, rather than just keeping the various commercial, compliance and risk pieces in separate silos. The ability to pull together data and insights across an organization’s entire market landscape allows for more collaborative and connected engagements.
As McIntyre explained, “Tax structures, supply chain, risk with controls and all these different pieces of the firm [can be brought] together in a way to work seamlessly. Starts the focus on client’s deal hypothesis, the value drivers, and brings the insights and analysis to support the client’s hypothesis.” He added that Junction allows “clients to comment on the insights and scenario plan and be more collaborative and interactive throughout the deal lifecycle.” In addition, for clients unprepared for a cloud-based and deeply digital experience, PwC tackles change management and training, including “giving the clients the coverage to think differently.” Junction, then, helps PwC focus on value levers and value creation. As McIntyre added, “Value is the currency people understand, as it either goes up or it goes down.”
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