What PwC Germany learned from their digital transformation

By Susanne Arnoldy, PwC Germany
Susanne Arnoldy, from PwC Germany, talks about five insights that PwC Germany gained from their own digital transformation

Climate change, energy crisis, skills shortage: the challenges facing companies are not going away. This increases the pressure to accelerate digital transformation. One thing is clear – anyone not prioritising digitisation will lose out. At PwC Germany (PwC), we have gained five valuable insights from our own digital transformation.

Technology alone is not enough

A business like ours is people-led – and they have to work hand in hand with technology. Our staff supplies the understanding of the issue as well as creativity, and technology supports us in providing innovative solutions. Our aim is always to implement our consultants’ knowledge and the opportunities that technology affords in the best way possible. According to our approach, the successful model for a sustainable transformation is: “human-led & tech-powered”.

Digital transformation must be employee-driven

When it comes to digital transformation, we often forget that this constitutes a major change. Managers must lead the change by example. Otherwise, the team will not follow. However, it is just as important to allow everyone their say and accept input for change from members of staff. While, in the past, change was traditionally initiated at a managerial level, this responsibility now essentially falls to everyone in the organisation. Today, leadership encompasses all members of an organisation. This also helps ensure that the transformation never strays too far from the actual business.

New structures are also needed

It was clear that we had to develop our consultants’ skills of our consultants and also disseminate the knowledge better. To this end, in 2019, we launched the global “Digital Accelerators” programme, in which around five percent of our staff worldwide took part. The programme includes facilitating agility, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and creative methods. Participants are trained and share their knowledge continually in their teams. Their task is to continue providing insight into how we can further use technology to standardise routine tasks and so create space for innovation.

Partnerships are an ideal addition

We complement our expertise with strong partners such as SAP, Microsoft and Workday. Together, we develop technological solutions, always in collaboration with a client. Besides this, we also look to collaborate with specialised tech companies that enable us to automate faster. For example, products from UiPath allow us to build bots, which can take care of recurring administrative processes, e.g. systems documentation.

Digital transformation is not an end in itself

Technological progress is also the basis for societal development. The best example of this is our Sustainability Tracker. With the help of our software, our clients can evaluate their supply chains from end to end, for example with regard to their CO2 consumption. This can help manufacturing companies make their supply chains future-proof and compliant. Previously, our consultants carried out these analyses manually. This software solution makes it possible to automatically obtain all the necessary data from the client’s various systems and, above all, combine it with market information and our own insights. This case demonstrates that we cannot relieve companies of the effort involved in complying with the upcoming Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz, or LkSG); however, we can enable them to streamline their supply chains, ensure compliance and above all optimise their impact in environmental, social and governance-related areas.

About the author

Susanne Arnoldy is a partner at PwC Germany, Head of Digital / Technology Transformation for Advisory Germany and EMEA Consulting and part of the German Advisory and EMEA Consulting Leadership Teams. She is responsible for digital and technological transformation at PwC.

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