Attracting and keeping the most talented millennials

Author: Partner & Global Information Leader, Global AIESEC ChampionPhilip Sladdin

There’s no doubt that CEOs and their organisations are facing a challenging cocktail of new business opportunities and disruptive change from technological developments as well as increasing economic woes in many developed and emerging markets. As one CEO put it recently: ‘The past is no longer a good predictor of the future…’, and success increasingly depends on an organisation’s ability to adapt, reskill and deploy people rapidly, to wherever the next opportunity might be. I believe strongly that the main focus and attention of organisations today should be to invest in people.

 PwC has partnered with AIESEC – the world’s largest youth-run organisation - for 43 years and we asked this key group of millennials earlier this year about their views of the future and key trends, using the same questions we asked CEOs in our 19th Annual Global CEO Survey. We compared and contrasted the perspectives of both millennials and CEOs, exploring the differences and gaps in the wider talent debate. The results, showcased in our Tomorrow’s leaders today piece, have prompted me to question whether organisations are really doing enough to respond to the needs of millennials and to be in an ideal position to attract, and keep, the most talented individuals.

It is predicted that Millennials will constitute roughly 55% of the workforce by 2020. Looking ahead, the challenge this will bring provides a “call to action” for us all. According to Tomorrow’s leaders today, this is what we need to know if we want to attract and retain these talented individuals: What do young leaders want

  1. They see their career as a portfolio of experiences rather than a ladder to be climbed in a single organisation. Only 18% plan to stay in their current role for the long term;
  2. Working culture and values are very important; millennials want to be proud of their employer and feel that their company’s values should match their own;
  3. It’s important to remember that millennials have been interacting with technology from a very young age;
  4. They put a much greater emphasis than CEOs on opportunities to work internationally (21% vs 7%);
  5. And, they are far less interested in pay and incentives than CEOs (10% versus 33%).

On the other hand, our 19th Annual CEO Survey People and Purpose cut showed that businesses and their leaders are facing pressing questions about their future talent pipelines and people strategy. The biggest challenge for CEOs is in understanding what their customers and employees value, how that’s changing over time, and how their organisation can meet those expectations. Our survey shows that they’ve realised that shared values and a sense of purpose are becoming critical to talent strategy. But where to start is the big question.

So, we should all be asking ourselves if our organisations have what it takes to be an employer of choice for the next generation. As Tomorrow’s leaders today highlights:

  • Are we in touch with what millennials and Gen Z want?
  • We may have the right values, but are we walking the talk? Authenticity is key.
  • Does our behaviour as a business match up to the claims in our environmental and social reports?
  • How is our business going to embrace the new model of leadership for the 21st century?

I hope my comments and reflections, based on my experience in working with young people through AIESEC, help you to reflect on your readiness to welcome the new generation and, more importantly, make changes to your approach that will set you on the right path towards reaping the rewards from what are going to be very interesting times ahead.

Philip Sladdin, a partner in PwC Germany, is responsible for the PwC network's internal reporting to client and leadership teams globally. He is also the PwC Global AIESEC Champion and the sponsor of the PwC - AIESEC Partnership, a member of the Supervisory Group of AIESEC International and the Chair of the Premium Partners Group, a role he took over in 2014. Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in England and Wales in 1990, Philip's career has included auditing large and small clients in the UK and Germany, including those in the financial sector. Following a successful relocation to Frankfurt in 1998, he has held a number of pan-European finance and strategy roles in PwC as well as being globally responsible for data privacy and protection in the PwC network.



Pay attention – the banks are getting it right

Author Richard Sexton, Vice Chairman, Global Assurance RS pic

The more research we undertake and the more research we read, the more we hear that transparency is increasingly important. We hear too that demonstrating trustworthiness is tricky and, as they work in new and increasingly varied ways, companies have to find new ways to meet high standards of trust.  

Responses to our 19th Global Annual CEO Survey echo those sentiments and so too does a new comparison of two reports, PwC’s Global Top 100 and the FutureBrand Index.

PwC’s report ranks global companies by market capitalisation and FutureBrand’s index by global public perception.

For me, the most important finding from a comparison of the two reports is that much-beleaguered financial services companies are finding their voice again. Despite continuing fiscal austerity in many western countries where the majority of these companies are headquartered, the attitude towards financials has distinctly softened.

30252 - Global top 100 social tile_3_v1

Of the 18 financials in the FutureBrand Index, only four dropped their position from 2015’s report. Most others rose. This remarkable and near-wholesale increase in perception may simply be linked to the ever-widening distance between the present day and the events of the financial crisis. But given ongoing economic instability and generally low levels of growth in these banks’ back yards, that seems unlikely. The increase in perception is more probably linked to a serious effort toward transparency and concurrent investment in PR and new products. As interest rates across many countries remain at record lows and previously stable products such as mortgages and government bonds prove more volatile, it looks like concerned consumers need banks’ expertise and guidance again.

The FutureBrand results showed that the drivers and measures of trust are changing. Consumers seem to be more sensitive to how companies demonstrate their trustworthiness and, wary of the gap between PR and actual behaviour, they demand a more convincing display. After a period of vilification, banks have found a way to meet that standard. Other companies should take note.

The other engaging finding is, I think, that perception isn’t everything for every company. Utility companies (like oil and gas) continue to do well financially, even in the face of considerable economic headwinds and low levels of consumer perception, because their work is currently essential. For example, Exxon Mobil is fifth largest company in terms of market capitalisation, but dead last in market perception.

Consumers may have high standards for transparency and trustworthiness, but they are also able to distinguish between those ‘lifestyle’ companies for whom it is perhaps more important to demonstrate such behaviours (because buying from them ‘says something about you’) and those ‘essentials’ companies for whom it is enough to keep providing fuel for your car and heat for your home.

But, as the banks could probably tell utility companies, it pays to constantly invest in pursuing truly held perceptions, as your market may change radically and the conditions you operate in may not always be so favourable.

FutureBrand is an SEC-restricted entity. The FutureBrand Index data is publicly available. It is in the ordinary course of business for FutureBrand to publish the information on their website and in the ordinary course of business for PwC to have an interest in and analyse this kind of data. PwC has not paid a fee for their data and there is no joint business relationship.

Richard Sexton is Vice Chairman; Global Assurance, an appointment he took up on 1 July 2013. In this role, he focuses on further building the PwC network’s global assurance practice with particular emphasis of quality and regulatory matters, trust in the profession, and broader financial markets. Read Richard's full biography.


Logistics disrupted – four scenarios for the future of the industry

Authors: Julian Smith, PwC Global Transportation & Logistics Leader and Andrew Tipping, Strategy& US Transportation and Logistics Practice Leader

The global transportation & logistics (T&L) industry is facing dramatic realignment in an era of unprecedented change as new digital technologies, changing customer expectation and collaborative operating models reshape the marketplace. We decided to take closer look at these trends in our new report: Shifting Patterns – the future of the logistics industry. It points to digital, data analytics and platform technology as facilitating new entrants, new business models and new ‘sharing’ opportunities.

While 90% of T&L companies see data and analytics as the key drivers in redefining the sector over the next five years, 50% acknowledge that the absence of a digital culture in their own organisation is the single biggest challenges they face.

Yet, despite its seeming shortcomings, the industry is proving a magnet for investors. Since 2011, over $160m - $150m of which is private equity (PE) - has been invested in digital logistics alone. This alone suggests that investors see scope for new entrants disrupting established players and for strong returns from a $4.6 trillion market.

The global logistics sector is something of an enigma. When we talk to our T&L clients we see that technology is changing every aspect of how they operate and digital fitness will be a prerequisite for success. The winners in this race for transformation will be those who best understand and exploit a range of new technologies from data analytics to automation and platform solutions – those who don’t will be the losers and risk obsolescence.

What will the logistics marketplace look like in five to ten years? We took a closer look at how some of the key disruptions facing the industry may interact and have identified four logistics scenarios. In each, technology plays a pivotal role but affects the market differently. In two scenarios, new entrants are the primary driver, while in the remaining two, the incumbents remain dominant.


  1. Sharing the PI(e)

Incumbents increase their efficiency and reduce their environmental impact by collaborating more, and developing new business models, such as sharing networks. Research around the ‘Physical Internet‘ (PI) leads to shared standards for shipment sizes, greater modal connectivity, and IT requirements across carriers.

  1. Start-up, shake-up

New entrants become significant players and take market share from the incumbents through new business models based on data analytics, blockchain, or other technologies. One or two become dominant in specific segments. Last-mile delivery becomes more fragmented, with crowd-delivery solutions gaining ground. These start-ups collaborate with incumbents and complement their service offers.

  1. Complex competition

Big retail players expand their logistics offerings to fill their own needs and beyond, effectively moving from customers to competitors. They purchase small logistics players to help cover major markets, and draw on their deep understanding of customer behaviour to optimise supply chains. Technology firms who used to be suppliers to the industry enter the logistics arena too, offering logistics services and turning into competitors.

  1. Scale matters

Incumbents increase efficiency by streamlining their operations and taking full advantage of new technology. They fund promising new technologies with venture capital cash, and attract new staff with critical skills and expertise in competition to create a dominant market position. Major players merge to extend their geographical scale and enhance their cross-modal coverage. Access to capital to fund these investments becomes increasingly important.

We believe that the basis for competitive advantage in the logistics industry is changing fundamentally. An established network may become a hindrance rather than an advantage. New technologies will change the industry’s cost model and call existing business models into question. And there may well be new approaches to dynamic pricing that take capacity utilisation more fully into account. In the futures we have described, can a logistics company meet the growing expectations of customers, remain profitable and generate growth? The short answer is yes. But it’s not going to be simple or easy.

Interested in reading about what a different industry’s marketplace will look like in five to ten years? Explore further here.

Wondering how your industry will be disrupted in the next five years? Take the PwC disruption profiler test to find out.



Julian_smith_41Julian Smith is Global Transport & Logistics Leader at PwC and infrastructure finance adviser in PwC Indonesia. He is an experienced expert in corporate and project finance, strategy and policy in the transport sector who has advised on successful transactions totalling >$20bn. He leads PwC's business in the sector and also provides infrastructure advisory services to clients in Indonesia across all sectors. He has experience in many countries with both public and private sector clients.

Contact Julian or Connect with Julian on LinkedIn


Tipping, Andrew Dr. Andrew Tipping leads the U.S. transportation and logistics practice for PwC Strategy& and specializes in organization and change leadership.. His client base spans the public and private sector clients including airports, airlines, postal, and logistics companies. He is a recognized expert in operating model optimization, organizational design and implementation, customer centricity, change and organizational management, complexity management.

Contact Andrew or Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn



It’s not elusive! – Three factors for better succession planning

Author: Stephanie Hyde, Global Entrepreneurial and Private Business LeaderStephanie Hyde

On 2 November we will be launching the 8th PwC Global Family Business Survey - the biggest we’ve ever done. It will showcase findings from more than 2,800 senior executives from family businesses across 50 countries. From retail to manufacturing, and finance to food – every sector is represented and the businesses we talked to have a total turnover in excess of half a trillion dollars. 

I think family firms are a fascinating sector – in tricky times, they have proven to be the bedrock of most economies, a mainstay of employment, and an outstanding example of ‘patient capital’. Yet again, this year’s survey demonstrates just how ambitious and resilient they are, with a clear focus on future growth. But there are challenges too, which go a long way to explaining why on average, family businesses only survive as far as a third generation.

As the results once again show, the succession process is the most obvious fault-line, and can bring down the whole enterprise if left to chance. ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ as the old saying goes. While some family firms are undoubtedly grappling with this issue, there has been a worrying lack of progress overall since the last survey, and our own experience of working with family firms suggests that this trend goes back a lot further than that.  PwC_PC_France_Marseilles_MB

There are however many shining examples of family businesses that I meet around the globe who plan succession meticulously, that have robust and documented plans as well as ambitious next gens who want to be more than just caretakers, who want to make a mark and move the business forward. 

So why is effective succession planning still such a challenge, and what can be done?  In my view there are three things family businesses can do to foster more effective succession:

  • Ensure that there is constructive family dialogue rather than sole decision making.
  • Plan ahead and set a clear timetable early on.
  • Equip the next generation with the skills they need to become effective owners.

Find out more in the results of our survey which also takes an in-depth look at key issues such as digital, innovation, the professionalisation of the business, the role of the Board and the ambitions of the next generation.

Don’t miss it!

Stephanie sits on the PwC Global Leadership Team as Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader and is also a member of the PwC UK Executive Board, as Head of Regions. The Global Entrepreneurial and Private Business segment works with over 100,000 businesses, and contributes over 20% of PwC’s global revenues. Starting with the firm in 1995, Stephanie became a partner in 2006 and joined the Executive Board in 2011. She has worked in a diverse range of industries from energy and defence to pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Read more


Europe after Brexit: is this the calm before the storm?

Authors: John Hawksworth, UK chief economist, and Jan Willem Velthuijsen, Eurozone chief economist

The UK vote to leave the EU was a huge political and economic shock. But, three months on, the world seems to have stabilised itself surprisingly quickly.

First, there was no ‘Lehmans moment’ for financial markets, which bounced back quickly after the initial shock of the EU referendum vote, buoyed by a new round of monetary easing by the Bank of England in August.

Second, the UK had a new Prime Minister and Cabinet in place within three weeks of the referendum, much quicker than initially expected.

Third, both the Eurozone and UK economies still seem to be in reasonable shape. The UK economy is expected to be most affected, but retail sales were relatively strong in July and August, unemployment and house prices broadly stable, and business and consumer confidence rebounded in August after dropping sharply in July. The Eurozone economy seems largely unaffected, with modest but positive growth continuing through the summer based on the latest available data (see our Brexit monitor series for more details on this).

The general sense from our clients is that most have returned to ‘business as usual’, while planning as appropriate for the uncertainties ahead.

But is this just the calm before the storm? There are certainly some reasons for caution.

First, the main channel by which the Brexit vote is likely to affect the European economies in the short term is through increased economic uncertainty reducing business investment. There is some rather mixed anecdotal evidence on this from business surveys, but it will be late November before we get even preliminary official data on business investment.

Second, the relative resilience of the UK economy both before and after the EU referendum owes a lot to strong consumer spending, which in turn reflects strong jobs growth and low consumer price inflation. But the weak pound is already starting to push up import prices and this will feed through into consumer prices in due course, squeezing real household spending power. Furthermore, if businesses are less certain about the future, they are also likely to put hiring plans on hold, which will feed through into slower jobs growth and possibly an eventual rise in unemployment. All this is likely to dampen UK consumer spending growth as we move through into 2017.

On the other hand, the weaker pound should provide some boost for net exports, as is already evident in some manufacturing and tourism survey data, while the new Chancellor in the UK is generally expected to relax fiscal policy in his Autumn Statement on 23rd November. This could take the form of increased public sector investment in areas like transport and housing to offset weaker business investment.

Taking everything into account, our central view is that UK growth is likely to moderate from just under 2% this year to just under 1% in 2017, and then gradually recover (see chart below). Of course, there are many uncertainties around this and it would be prudent for businesses to look at a range of alternative scenarios as discussed in more detail in our latest UK Economic Outlook report. Even in our downside scenario, however, we only project a mild recession not the kind of deep depression seen after the global financial crisis in 2008-9.

For the Eurozone, the impacts are even more moderate, and since June we have therefore revised down our growth projection for the Eurozone in 2016 and 2017 only marginally as the chart below shows.

UK and Euroze GDP growth projections

Looking to the long term: conflict or compromise?

Negotiations between the UK and the EU on Brexit will not begin formally until next year, when Article 50 is expected to be triggered. There will then be a two year negotiation on the legal terms of Brexit, but probably also a much longer negotiation, perhaps lasting 5-10 years, on the detailed trading relations and immigration control arrangements between the UK and the EU. There will probably therefore be a need for transitional arrangements between the UK formally leaving the EU in, say, 2019 and the later agreement and ratification of some kind of free trade agreement.

The outcome of these negotiations will depend on whether the parties see this as a ‘zero sum game’ or not. If they do, then it may prove very difficult to reconcile the UK government’s political imperative to increase control of EU immigration and the EU’s fundamental belief that freedom of movement is an essential prerequisite for efficient functioning of the EU Single Market.

If this is the case, then we could be in for a long and acrimonious divorce, with the best case outcome being a limited free trade agreement covering goods but not most services, and the worst being a reversion to WTO rules (which modelling by PwC and many other economic experts has suggested would impose significant long term economic damage on the UK, but would also be bad for the 500 million citizens of the EU more generally as over 40 years of economic integration was unwound).

But a superior outcome could be possible if both sides are prepared to be more flexible. For the EU this would involve recognising that some labour mobility is essential to make the Single Market work but not complete free movement (at least on a temporary basis while Central and Eastern European countries catch up with income levels in other EU countries). For the UK, this would involve being prepared to accept such a compromise (and probably also some limited contributions to the EU budget) in return for retaining access to the Single Market. The recent proposal for a ‘Continental Partnership’ between the EU and the UK by five leading European economists is one example of how such a mutually beneficial compromise might be reached – but it remains to be seen how politically feasible this will be.

In summary, the Brexit vote was a major shock, but so far it looks like the global economy has been largely unaffected. The UK economy will likely suffer a slowdown rather than a recession in the short term. Beyond that, there are long and difficult negotiations ahead, but also the potential for a mutually beneficial compromise if both parties approach the talks with a flexible mindset. Business can also play a role here in contributing constructively to the debate on post-Brexit options, focusing on areas where the UK and the EU can continue to work together to boost growth and innovation across Europe.

John HawksworthJohn is Chief Economist for the UK and editor of the Economic Outlook publication, and many other reports and articles on macroeconomic and fiscal policy issues. He has over 20 years of experience as an economics consultant to leading public and private sector organisations, both in the UK and overseas. Read more

Contact John Hawksworth



Jan Willem-jpgJan Willem Velthuijsen is managing partner of PwC Strategy & Economics in Amsterdam since 1999 – specialised in macroeconomics, finance, strategy & risk, market and demand analysis, competition & regulation economics, econometrics, modelling and complex valuations. In 2013 he became Chief Economist of PwC Europe. In that function he is responsible for PwC’s thought leadership and research. 

Contact Jan Willem or Connect with Jan Willem on LinkedIn



Global Software 100 Companies: Digital Intelligence Conquers All

Author: Raman Chitkara, Global Technology Leader   Raman-chitkaraPwC has just released its most recent PwC Global 100 Software Leaders ranking. Based on research conducted by venerable research firm IDC, it reveals which vendors are doing best at taking advantage of both the evolutionary and revolutionary changes afoot in technology. 

The fact that these changes are all coming at the same time doesn’t make dealing with them any easier. While the cloud continues to underpin massive change, other trends are building on its capabilities to create opportunities in digital innovation, industrial capabilities and convergence within vertical markets. The two most noteworthy trends for software companies, in my eyes: 

  • SaaS - Cloud is creating new SaaS business models
  • Connected devices and artificial intelligence are creating a rapid expansion of TAM (Total Available Market) with multiple new business opportunities 

  Global innovation100

Analyzing the delta between the current Global 100 Software Leaders and the previous ranking, published in 2014, indicates just how dynamic the market is, thanks to these shifts. Fourteen companies fell off the current list, which means 14 are new. A churn of 28 seems like quite a bit in just two years. Four of the 14 companies that fell off the list were acquired, and one (Compuware) split into two companies. Actually, it’s fairly easy to fall off the list. Of the bottom 12 in the previous list, 10 are gone, highlighting the need for rapidly achieving scale through a combination of organic growth and key acquisitions. 

What does this mean for the industry? Befitting an industry where cloud is rewriting the rules of how companies do business, software is experiencing a high level of turbulence. On the one hand, we see a lot of evolution. The cloud, in the form of SaaS, PaaS or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), is becoming increasingly popular as enterprises recognize the flexibility it brings to applications and other deployments.  Subscription

Its adoption is creating new SaaS-based business models. In fact, Amy Konary, IDC Programme Vice President for SaaS, Business Models and Mobile Enterprise Apps, deems 2016 an “inflection point” in the relationship between software subscriptions and licenses. According to IDC calculations, subscriptions will grow 20% and licensing will decrease 1.7% in 2016.  

But there is clearly a revolution underway in software. With digital technology infusing so many industries and launching so many innovations, we’re seeing the dawn of what we call ‘software & … fill in the name of any industry you choose: aviation, logistics, automotive.’ Data is becoming an integral part of more and more products we buy and consume in our daily lives. Software companies need to re-evaluate whether new business models are needed to maximize their opportunities in emerging new markets and industries. As they pursue new business opportunities in a world hitherto ignored by the software world, they need to conclude whether new joint ventures or alliances are needed to better understand these markets and opportunities and to better compete against new entrants that have a deeper understanding of these markets. 

Think about how cars and homes are becoming connected. The revolution is even more pronounced in industrial software, where brand-name manufacturers have quickly figured out that there’s as much value, if not more, in the data from their equipment as there is from the equipment. 

  • General Electric has already dubbed itself a ‘digital industrial company’ and introduced its Predix Cloud, calling it “the world’s first and only cloud solution designed specifically for industrial data and analytics.” 
  • Honeywell claimed US$ 1.17 billion in stand-alone software sales in 2015, and forecasts that its aerospace and automation and control divisions’ software revenues will triple by 2020. 
  • Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman wrote to shareholders in 2015, “We already have more than 350,000 Cat machines and 50,000 engines, turbines and locomotives actively connected worldwide, and a total installed base of three million machines and engines. We’re going to enhance telematics and data analytics offerings across our equipment—and across other brands, too …” 

For software vendors, this revolution represents a whole new set of challenges, not only in terms of how they run their business internally, but also in terms of new market opportunities and new competition. Billions of previously dumb devices cannot become “Connected Smart Devices” with built in artificial intelligence, without software. 

Additionally, on the talent front, what happens when everyone, not just software vendors, starts hiring programmers and network engineers? It’s already difficult to find talent in cutting-edge fields; this is only going to make it harder. 

The upshot: software vendors are going to have to get much, much better at not just creating software, but better understanding the new markets for software (e.g. industrial products), adapting to new delivery methods, enhancing customer engagement, and improving development cycles. The software world is rapidly transforming into the world of “artificial intelligence” wherein hardware, software, connectivity, data analysis and the resulting intelligence will be seamless. 




Raman Chitkara leads the global technology practice at PwC.  He has more than 30 years of experience working in the technology industry in the Silicon Valley. His clients have included technology companies with global operations ranging from start-ups to multibillion-dollar multinationals in semiconductor, software, internet, computing and networking sectors. Read his full biography here.


A guide to the ‘Essential Eight’ emerging technologies

Author: Vicki Huff Eckert, PwC US and Global New Business Leader

VH Color CropIt’s clear that emerging technology strategy needs to be a core part of every company’s corporate strategy. However, C-suites are challenged to sort through the noise to make clear-headed decisions about the most pertinent technologies that will sustain revenue growth and enhance business operations. But with the torrent of technological breakthroughs affecting businesses of all types, how can executives even begin to make sense of the individual technologies?    

To help companies focus their efforts, PwC analyzed more than 150 emerging technologies to pinpoint the “Essential Eight” we feel organizations should consider. While the corresponding strategy will vary by company, these eight technologies will have the most significant global impact across sectors.

To arrive at the Essential Eight, we evaluated business impact and commercial viability over the next five to seven years (and as little as three to five years in developed economies). Specific criteria include: the technology’s relevance to companies and industries; global reach; technical viability, including the potential to become mainstream; market size and growth potential; and the pace of public and private investment in them.

  Essential 81. Artificial intelligence
Software algorithms are automating complex decision-making tasks to mimic the human thought processes and senses. AI is an “umbrella” for many subfields such as machine learning—where programs understand, reason, plan, and act when exposed to new data in the right quantities.

2. Augmented reality
Adding a visual or audio “overlay” of contextualized digital information to the physical world can improve user experience for many industries. AR-enabled glasses help warehouse workers fulfil orders with precision, airline manufacturers assemble planes, and electrical workers make repairs. When done well, the blending of physical and virtual worlds is seamless, opening a new realm for businesses across the board to explore.

3. Blockchain
A blockchain is a distributed electronic database or, more broadly, an electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record and confirm transactions with reliability and anonymity. The record of events is shared between many parties and information once entered cannot be altered, as the downstream chain reinforces upstream transactions.

4. Drones
Drones vary greatly in their capacity based on their design. Some drones need wide spaces to take off while quadcopters can squeeze into a column of space. Some drones are water-based and they can vary in their level of autonomy. Companies are using drones for wide-ranging reasons, including surveillance, survey, sport, cinematography and delivery. (Note: Drones are distinct from autonomous land vehicles, which don’t impact all sectors.)

5. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT embodies the notion that everything that can be connected will be connected to the Internet. Devices, vehicles and other physical objects are embedded with sensors, software and network connectivity, enabling them to collect, exchange, and act on data—usually without human intervention. IoT subset the Industrial IoT (IIoT) is adding sensors to people, places, processes and products across the value chain to ultimately advance an organization’s goals.

6. Robots
Machines with enhanced sensing, control, and intelligence used to automate, augment, or assist human activities are poised for radical growth in a broad range of services applications. Robots are transforming manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations alike. (Note: Drones are also robots, but we list them as a separate technology.)

7. Virtual reality
Intended as an immersive experience, VR typically requires equipment such as a headset and, unlike AR, involves a defined, contained space. VR involves a computer-generated simulation of a 3D image or complete environment.

8. 3D printing
Additive manufacturing is used to create 3D objects based on digital models by layering or “printing” successive layers of materials—plastic, metal, glass or wood. 3D printing has the potential to turn every large enterprise, small business and living room into a factory.

Most companies have laid a foundation for emerging technology with investments in social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC). The Essential Eight are much broader in their impact and will require executive engagement. Emerging technology is no longer the realm of IT alone, and these breakthroughs will influence the competitive landscape for years to come. Follow the blog, as we’ll discuss each of these technologies in the coming months.

In the meantime, what technologies beyond SMAC do you think will be ubiquitous in 2020?

With more than 25 years of experience in helping technology companies innovate and execute growth strategies, Vicki Huff Eckert leads PwC’s US and Global New Business, a unit formed to innovate and expand PwC’s offerings that build trust in society and solve important problems. Vicki’s passion for innovation has led to her successful development of several strategic partnerships between PwC and some of today’s most visionary tech companies – and the incorporation of innovative technologies into PwC consulting solutions. She continues this work today, leading the PwC’s New Business to help clients embrace emerging technologies to empower their business strategy.



Get great people – and let them make mistakes

Author: Will Butler-Adams, CEO, Brompton Bikes Will Butler-Adams

Ultimately, running a successful business comes down to meeting the customer’s needs – which in our case means reacting to the consumer. And when it comes to doing this, I think a smaller business like ours has an inherent advantage.

Why? Take a look at big, established business. They’ve spent generations developing a culture and an enormous marketing plan with great big billboards – but they also have slightly ‘phony’ people. That is going to take time to change. 

Instead of having people toeing a party line, I think you’ve got to allow your staff to make mistakes and enable them to be honest.  You’ve got to have a free sort of culture in the business, where people can just be their normal selves and aren’t all peddling the same message.

Something we do at Brompton is effectively allow ourselves to fail.  Of course we have to get our homework done and deliver the monthly numbers, but we also have the “let’s muck around and find out” bit.  That bit is effectively written off before we even start, so you have nothing to lose. If we spend some money and then we learn something useful, we go: “Yippee, look what we found out. This could be interesting – let’s do a serious job of understanding the possibility.” Investing in people

Making this work comes down to employing the right people and managing them in the right way in the right culture. The role of a manager is to surround themselves with people who have different skills from their own. If I’m employing someone who’s a coder, I haven’t got the first clue about coding.  I can’t tell them what to do. I want to tell them what I need to achieve – that’s the vision bit.  And then I need to give them the resources, money and people to get on and do it. 

The other thing is that, as humans, we like order.  My alarm goes at a quarter to six every morning.  Within five minutes I could tell you where I am within about four paces.  It’s so predictable – and predictability isn’t good for innovation.  So, the other part of my job is to create disorder. Whenever I see my staff getting all comfy and thinking everything’s settled, I just get a little grenade, lob it in, and cause a whole lot of chaos – because from that you create innovation.  When people are running around picking up the pieces they discover something. 

That’s how our company has grown up: guessing as best we can with the best people we can find.  In my view, there’s no masterstroke in growing a business.  It’s about surrounding yourself with good people – and having a bit of luck. 


Wearables: Helping us be more efficient & live longer

Author: Vicki Huff Eckert, PwC US and Global New Business Leader VH Color Crop

Not long ago we all wore “business clothes” to work each day. Today business casual is the norm and many of us are sporting “wearable” technology. This trend is only the start of a change that I believe has the potential for tremendous benefits for each of us personally and professionally. And, possibly, as a result, we will be able to work and play better.

At PwC, we just finished studying wearables in our newly released report “The Wearable Life 2.0: Connected Living in a Wearable World,” part of our Consumer Intelligence Series (CIS). We surveyed over a thousand consumers about wearable technology and compared the results to our 2014 report on the same topic. In this study we found that the adoption rate for wearables has skyrocketed, more than doubling from 21 percent to 49 percent. And we confirmed devices focused on fitness are receiving the most positive reception with 45 percent of those who own a wearable owning one in this category. Interestingly, we also found that parents tend to be more willing adopters than non-parents--62 percent to 41 percent, because of demands on their time, household stress, and as a means to keep their children safe. Wearables_infographic

Wearables hold significant promise for enterprises, with the potential to transform tech-enabled companies, to digital environments with technology integrated throughout all operations and decisions. Not surprisingly, about half of our respondents believe wearable tech will increase workplace efficiency in some way. Wearables, combined with Artificial Intelligence, have the ability to make employees more efficient while facing less stress, by delivering real-time information (through eyeglasses or earpieces, for instance) directly to each employee specific to the task they’re performing. Imagine a time when you’re entering a business meeting, with the agenda and list of participants called up right as you walk in. Facial recognition can allow the names of colleagues to be whispered into your ear as you say “hello.” Not that you’d ever forget.

In a world where the speed of business is only getting faster and every waking hour is a working hour, wearables may hold the promise of easing work demands, while increasing efficiency. The byproduct of the increased productivity created by smartphones was the ability to be reached anywhere and at anytime. We are able to work remotely and are often expected to regardless of the time. Whether at the dinner table or on vacation, that technological advance actually married us more to our jobs. My hope is that wearables will do the opposite, creating a more effective workforce, so productive that non-work time can ultimately be work-free time.

As a mom of two children, juggling work, personal and community commitments, I believe wearables destiny is to create a smart device that is truly my virtual assistant. While many people using wearables to track their health today haven’t seen health benefits, there’s a great opportunity to improve the technology, to track more indicators and enhance notifications to deliver greater results. As Anand Rao, PwC US Artificial Intelligence leader notes, “The intelligence hidden behind many of our day-to-day interactions can be used to marry machine learning, voice recognition, and conversational agents with a smart wearables interface that has yet to be seen in the current model.” It is when these emerging technologies are served up on an interface that we wear every day, that wearables will have achieved their potential.

Looking ahead, we see great promise in wearables. Most respondents -- 70 percent -- say they believe widespread adoption of the technology will allow people to live 10 years longer, up from 56 percent two years ago. But developers need to build an experience that makes us better employees and, more importantly, human beings. At the end of the day, our dinner tables and vacations should be work-free because of wearables not in spite of them. Try that on for size.

With more than 25 years of experience in helping technology companies innovate and execute growth strategies, Vicki Huff Eckert leads PwC’s US and Global New Business, a unit formed to innovate and expand PwC’s offerings that build trust in society and solve important problems. Vicki’s passion for innovation has led to her successful development of several strategic partnerships between PwC and some of today’s most visionary tech companies – and the incorporation of innovative technologies into PwC consulting solutions. She continues this work today, leading the PwC’s New Business to help clients embrace emerging technologies to empower their business strategy.


Bracing for Brexit

Author: Bob Moritz , Network Chairman elect, PwC International Ltd.

Bob Moritz

The global economy has enjoyed tremendous growth and opportunity by expanding the freedom to pursue business success through unfettered market access. This approach is being tested with the United Kingdom’s vote to “Brexit” the European Union. The outcome of this referendum has created uncertainty on a global scale.

The immediate plunge in the world’s major stock markets in reaction is only the beginning. New deals between Britain and its trading partner countries will need to be hammered out, while at the same time its relationship with the European Union is unwound. Legal, political, immigration, and other matters will require years of effort to sort. As a result, the intertwined global economy is now very much in a tangle. Yet, it is important to remember that the British have a very long history of adaptability and innovation when confronted with new challenges and opportunities. The UK’s economic stability is shaken but there’s no question it will remain one of the world’s great financial hubs and top economic powers. The global economy too has faced and overcome difficult challenges, even as recently as 2008. The coming months, however, will require patience from an impatient world as detailed, complex issues are worked through. It will be incumbent on government and corporate heads to provide true leadership through this process.

Confidence begets stability and vice versa. Academics and economists were broadly concerned about Brexit before the vote. The dramatic stock selloff reflects these predictions. Now that Brexit is a coming reality, our experts see fundamental steps forward to mitigate risk and best position business for a prosperous tomorrow. We have developed a series of positions for businesses broken down by industry sector, including sections on economic impact, tax, and global mobility. You can find each of these approaches here. The way forward requires studying on a level of granularity how these changes will impact each business sector specifically. A clear process for every organisation to adapt and evolve for this new market is essential. Brexit

This also isn’t just about macroeconomic impact, it’s about higher and better living standards for more people in more places. Changes on those fronts may not be evident immediately, and progress may be stagnant or slow. But government and the private sector can and should now also play a role here. There’s no question that the vote for Brexit stemmed from real anxiety about the direction and impact of the global economy, along with other concerns.

Our world is stronger when there’s more opportunity, not less. For those of us watching from outside the UK, we want to ensure robust, competitive markets around the world for goods and services. The world has truly competitive, big “global” markets creating tremendous business opportunities, whether it is the EU, the United States, China, or other markets around the world. This exit has caused tremors through all the world’s economies that will have to be weathered. The UK will remain a key trading partner for many, though many deals will need renegotiation.

It’s no secret that business investment and activity gravitate toward stability. This vote represents change for better or worse. Certainly, the UK isn’t plunging into darkness. Its economic system remains capitalistic. It is one of the world’s strongest democracies-- evidenced by this vote, in fact.

The timetable for the process of Brexit now will take at least two years. There will be domestic political turmoil in Britain. And its economy will likely suffer in the short and medium term, even if it prospers down the road. The global impact will last for some time. But each element of a Brexit will come into sharper relief as we move forward, uncertainty will give way to new market realities and real opportunities. As a global company, we at PwC will continue to lead by helping our clients work toward this better future, embracing the challenges and seeing potential.

Robert (Bob) E. Moritz is  the Network Chairman elect, PwC International Ltd. Read more