PwC Australia: Trending in all the right directions

New realities lead to improved skills in engaging and delivering remotely

To start the session, Mohamed Kande, PwC vice chair and U.S. and global advisory leader, made two key points, which echoed throughout the rest of the session. First, Kande noted that after seven months of working through a pandemic, PwC had honed its skills in working remotely and delivering virtually, confident that the value PwC brought to clients had not been diminished by pandemic-induced disruption. Second, Kande explained that the firm had been honing its technology capabilities, looking at solutions that could be upgraded to improve virtual delivery, particularly around cloud, based on the spike in client demand for cloud-based platforms and applications. Shifting from global to regional, PwC’s David McKeering, Australia consulting leader and ASEANZ Consulting CEO, noted that challenges in emerging markets and mature markets had converged around similar themes, reflecting the international impact of the pandemic and the ubiquity of trends in technology, particularly around digital transformation. He added that PwC’s clients had moved quickly to adjust to the new realities caused by COVID-19, such as a nearly all-remote workforce, and, as they had begun to understand some of the benefits of new operating environments, were now looking to PwC to help make those changes around technology, productivity and resilience sustainable. McKeering optimistically commented that clients across the Asia Pacific region were talking about recovery and anticipating a return to growth in 2021.  

Building on the positives wrought by the pandemic

Regarding Australia, Tom Seymour, CEO of PwC Australia, said local clients, including business-to-consumer enterprises and government agencies, understood the need to interact digitally and accelerate customer-centric transformation strategies. He further noted that a more volatile M&A market drove opportunities for PwC to assist in stitching together various IT environments and digital transformation initiatives. Looking at the current market and anticipating trends around technology adoption and business model changes, Seymour predicted that execution on digital strategies would begin to separate winners and losers across the Australian economy. Julie Coates, PwC Australia’s managing partner and financial services industry leader, extended Seymour’s comments, noting that the firm has begun working differently with clients, including shifting from traditional time-and-materials commercial arrangements to collaborating on outcomes, a signal to clients that PwC has bought into their digital transformations. Coates highlighted the value of the BXT (Business, eXperience, Technology) framework in the way PwC engages with clients, noting in particular how the eXperience element frequently leads to broader discussions around digital transformation.

From their offices in Australia, PwC executives hosted a couple dozen regional and global analysts on Nov. 24 for a two-hour virtual session, highlighting local and regional leadership and a marquee client story. Notably for an analyst event, PwC spent less than half the time presenting and instead turned to the analysts for extensive question-and-answer sessions. TBR’s summary of the session is also informed by its ongoing research and analysis of PwC.  

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