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How PwC is using IT to transform professional services

Byron Connolly | May 4, 2017
The Big Four accounting giant is throwing out the legacy and using innovative technology to solve important economic and business problems.

PwC in Melbourne
PwC in Melbourne

Just recently, PwC opened the doors to a new office spread over several floors inside tower one at the swanky $6 billion Barangaroo precinct on the western side of Sydney's central business district.

The professional services firm's Sydney digs join new offices in Melbourne and Brisbane, which all use innovative technology in an attempt to transform the client experience.

No-one has an office - not even the CEO. Client meetings and entertainment take place over four floors, connected by internal stairs, while other floors house internal PwC staff and are open plan, activity-based working environments.

There's a 'digital waterfall', a touchscreen that runs down the wall connecting each floor where clients can view and interact with content; and 'green screens' or LED-based digital wallpaper on the outside of meeting rooms where content can be displayed.

Digital waterfall at PwC Sydney
Digital waterfall at PwC Sydney

Visitors interact with touchscreens in the foyer where they can complete a quick 'poll' about their experience at the firm. PwC will, of course, use this data over time to enhance its services.

Lighting and audio levels can also be adjusted and a room's 'scent' can be changed depending on the occasion. The Sydney office has also been equipped with a life-sized model of a bull, circular meeting spaces with lounge seats, treadmills, and games and music rooms, among other gimmicks, to entertain guests.

A life-sized bull to go with the agricultural technology theme
A life-sized bull to go with the agricultural technology theme.

Fancy joining me for a meeting on the treadmill?
Fancy joining me for a meeting on the treadmill?

PwC's new image has been in the works for a few years now, led by Hilda Clune, the organisation's chief information officer and transformation expert.

Hilda and her team have thought long and hard about what the future looks like for the firm and an industry facing significant disruption from digital technologies.

Over the next six weeks, PwC will also soft launch a mobile app that will enhance the client experience before sending its 'minimal viable product' to clients for testing over the next three months, Clune tells CIO Australia.

"If we have an event with a particular client, we can change content and push out new content for them. It has a real visual impact but will also have a very practical function over time," Clune said.

The mobile app will also include geofencing technology to detect when a client is about to enter the building. This capability gives host staff enough notice that the client is downstairs in the foyer of the building before they head into the lift and hit the reception area.

 

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