A changing Data & Analytics landscape for PwC UK in 2019
05 July 2019
We have already seen the benefits of rolling out new technologies across the firm from colleagues who have implemented these technologies to help them serve their stakeholders better.
I have outlined some of the ways in which I see the data landscape changing at PwC UK in the next few months.
A better understanding of data
Our teams are already adopting practices that move away from simply looking at spreadsheets and other data sources in isolation. We are encouraging our teams to have wider conversations with stakeholders in order to understand what they are trying to achieve and how this can be measured.
This approach has allowed our teams to marry large amounts of internal and external data in a way we couldn’t before.
A better understanding of the tools at our disposal
In 2018, we saw tools such as Alteryx, Tableau and Power BI begin to move more into the mainstream at PwC. 2019 will see this data driven approach become the norm for even more teams. The democratisation of access to licences and training will allow those outside core data teams to upskill themselves, whilst simultaneously allowing data-teams to continue to grow their depth and breadth of knowledge and stay ahead of the curve in terms of developing PwC’s data-driven propositions.
We’ve already seen evidence of this in our Assurance practice where nearly 200 auditors have already had initial training on Alteryx, and they are working together on Alteryx to embed an increasingly data-driven approach to the audit process - generating added value to the audit process.
An infrastructure that allows ‘upward training’ and reverse mentoring
At PwC UK we have a central team who support those in the Lines of Service to drive increasing change within their teams, encouraging additional training and collaboration. To further support this, a culture of “upward training” is encouraged, where those more natively literate in tools and techniques are given the opportunity to lead training
Similarly, many teams have started to implement reverse mentoring, where senior staff will be paired with someone more junior, who will help navigate them through any areas of uncertainty - ultimately this means change being positively driven at all grades, and whilst, for example, not everyone will need to know the ins-and-outs of Alteryx’s predictive tools, everyone will need to know how and why these could be incredibly valuable.
Designing in-person interactive training where tech-skilled individuals can work closely with those more senior or technophobic - and demonstrate that value in a data-driven approach - will help to ensure that nobody is left behind.
More collaboration between teams
A key focus for us during 2019 is to engender better collaboration. Data & Analytics teams across the business are working together on both client deliverables and internal solutions, as well as working with the central D&A team to drive training, adoption and engagement.
Similarly, as client engagement starts to expand beyond Data & Analytics into AI, Drones, Blockchain and more, we are seeing specialist technologists working closely with teams in our Consulting practice and beyond to deliver huge value.
An increased focus on RPA
Many teams will begin to make use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools in 2019, such as UiPath and Blue Prism, to avoid unnecessarily administrative processes. To this end, we’ve started supporting central training on RPA tools, and are running ‘hackathons’ to look at ways of using robotic processes to change the way in which they engage with and perform the task asked of them. We’re already seeing some fantastic results.
Voice-activated data analysis
Last year already saw some incredibly exciting and innovative uses of voice-activated technology to enhance Data & Analytics. There’s no doubt that voice-activated technology is a huge - and growing - market. Consequently, there’s no reason to believe that voice-activated Data & Analytics will strike a chord with many stakeholders, not just because it’s new and exciting, but also because it can provide real value.
Ultimately, my view is that 2019 will be the year when Data & Analytics moves from specialist concern to the mainstream at PwC UK - meaning that not only will we see these skills flourishing in teams that have never taken a formal data-driven approach before, but the more experienced core Data & Analytics teams will also continue to up their game and push-on towards ever more interesting and insightful projects. Exciting times.