8 clients with 8 stories and plenty of common themes
Setting the tone for the day, India Advisory Leader, Deepankar Sanwalka explained that the event would be about discussion and about clients and the work PwC is doing with them, with four successive breakout sessions in the morning and four more in the afternoon. The clients — almost all India-based companies or government agencies — spanned the industry spectrum from pharmaceutical to software to manufacturing to municipal authorities. In addition to the common themes that emerged across the day, described below, TBR noted that every client had prepared for the standard analyst question, “Why did you choose PwC?” Notably, half of the clients used a competitive process to select PwC as a vendor, a high percentage in TBR’s experience. Clients said they worked with PwC because the firm:
- Shared the client’s cultural value for trust and commitment to strict adherence to compliance, even across global operations
- Understood the client’s customer. Beyond understanding clients’ business, operations and industry, along with the specifics of the India market, one client said PwC demonstrated a deep understanding of the client’s specific target audience and the personas shopping for this client’s specific product. As part of the engagement, and an element the client said was critical to its success, PwC colocated with the client a core team made up of more than 60% strategy, design and marketing consultants, with the remaining professionals handling technology.
- Possessed “skills, scale and speed.” While other clients cited the first two as PwC strengths, this client explained that “speed” referred to PwC’s ability to keep pace with the client’s accustomed pace of innovation, experimentation, adoption and change.
- Understood the client’s business with such depth and clarity that PwC could recommend what SAP customizations the client did not need. In TBR’s experience, every consultancy professes to know its clients well. In this case, the client explicitly understood that the long-term benefits from a massive SAP upgrade depended on minimal customizations in order to facilitate easier maintenance and upgrades. Surprisingly, the client went further in saying PwC was able to force the issue around standardizations by making compelling arguments that the client’s needs did not justify the diminished long-term value of customizations — compelling because PwC so fully understood the client’s business.
Also notable was the very presence of eight clients telling their stories — impressive for a one-day analyst event. TBR observed many of the clients attended breakout sessions with other clients, likely providing the firm with further opportunities to increase its footprint. Finally, the clients all told compelling stories, perhaps because the event was adamantly free of PowerPoint presentations (zero slides in 8 hours). Without slides as a crutch, clients (and PwC professionals and analysts) more easily adapted to the friends-and-family feel of the entire event.
With an atmosphere designed for relaxing and sharing stories, PwC’s Analyst Day in India captured the firm’s current position as a global consultancy with intense local client relationships, a well-defined set of offerings across the entire digital transformation landscape, and a solid, sustained, evolutionary framework in BXT (Business-eXperience-Technology). PwC gathered roughly 30 analysts, from Europe, Asia, India, and one from the U.S., for a dinner and then a day of client stories, PwC briefings and informal discussions in the firm’s Gurgaon Experience Center (EC), which was configured for the event to resemble a house, complete with a living room, dining room, garden, play room and kitchen (plus a library, but how many houses today have libraries?). The playful design of this ‘house’ idea was more than just design alone, with a real emphasis on PwC inviting clients and analysts in for the day to discuss, exchange and spend time together, much as one would do at home with friends and family. Over the course of the day, TBR met with PwC clients from across India and with the firm’s global leaders for Clients and Markets and Technology Consulting, as well as PwC partners and professionals responsible for client accounts in India, Japan and the Middle East.