Today’s CIOs have a tall order to fulfill: leading their organizations through the challenges of operating in an all-digital world. This blog offers advice on how to unify, integrate, and lead both IT and business teams through rapid digital transformation, while staying focused on best-in-class customer and employee experiences.
PwC Prioritizes Unity to Manage Global Teams Through a Digital Transformation
Balancing technological innovation and rethinking work processes is key for delivering better customer and employee experiences. Here’s how PwC met the challenge.
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By Vikram Rao, Engagement Director, Global Advisory Services, Salesforce Professional Services
Stephanie Gallacher, PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) Global Technology Leader, Salesforce Platform, was leading her team through a multi-year global sales transformation, bringing thousands of employees from different countries and network firms together on one technology platform. A project of this size required careful coordination and planning to align teams and unify data on a global scale.
Then COVID-19 hit, bringing in-person interaction to a halt. Gallacher needed to pivot her rollout strategy to keep PwC’s goals on track and continue delivering when clients needed it most.
Before the pandemic, Gallacher and her program team traveled to each territory to train employees in person and help onboard them onto the new platform. With travel suspended, PwC leaders had to rethink their strategy for integrating their systems and bringing together employees across continents.
Suddenly, Gallacher and her team now had a new set of questions to answer. How do you manage people in different time zones? How will employees handle the shift to remote work? And how can you leverage technology to help employees and clients through the pandemic?
CIOs and technology leaders across the world have been focusing on these same questions — 59% of IT decision-makers say that pressures stemming from the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Finding the right balance between technological innovation and rethinking work processes is top-of-mind for these IT leaders as they seek to deliver better customer and employee experiences at scale, even as in-person interactions are on pause.
For Gallacher, the answer to these questions and the key to successful digital transformation revolved around connecting employees together in one place. Uniting employees on a single platform helped unify data across the organization while allowing flexibility and innovation in how teams work together. With better data available, PwC leaders and employees can make informed decisions to deliver higher business impact, boosting sales and driving revenue.
Here are three steps Gallacher says CIOs should take to bring their employees together and navigate digital transformation.
1 – Establish your vision
According to Gallacher, one of the most important steps CIOs and other technology leaders must take is establishing a vision or mission statement. According to a PwC report, 79% of business leaders believe that an organization’s purpose is central to business success, yet 68% state that purpose is not used as a guidepost in leadership decision-making processes within their organization. CIOs should create a strong vision that will act as a north star for their teams.
Before deciding on this vision, you need to understand your organization and your team. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will help you figure out what obstacles your team may face, what skills you can use to reach your goals, any additional resources you might need to successfully complete the transformation, and what a truly attainable end goal should be.
Once you have established this vision, Gallacher emphasizes the importance of managing towards objectives and goals, not hard deadlines. By focusing on benchmarks instead of dates, your team has the flexibility to figure out innovative new ways to solve problems. Teams can then move with speed and agility to stay ahead of changing customer needs and build credibility.
Gallacher also stresses the importance of articulating how each person fits into the vision. With the scope and speed of digital transformation making these kinds of projects complex, each employee should have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. “Providing guidance to each team member instills confidence that empowers them to make decisions that support your vision,” Gallacher says.
While having a vision won’t eliminate all of your team’s obstacles, it does allow you to keep moving, no matter what. “If you’re not progressing forward,” Gallacher says, “then you are going backward.”
2 – Create an integrated experience
With your team unified under one vision, CIOs also must make sure infrastructure is in place to connect data across teams. An integrated CRM like Salesforce gives employees a single source of truth to review client interactions and other important touchpoints for making informed business decisions.
“We can now take existing data across the world and bring it together on one platform,” says Gallacher. “We’re able to go to our sales teams with data points from other territories and say, ‘have you thought about this?’, encouraging them to use valuable insights from other teams to guide their own work.”
But new technologies aren’t the sole solution – your organizational setup needs to also transform to support new ways of working. “It’s not just a tech swap,” Gallacher says. “It is all about transforming how your team interacts with one another and with customers.”
For PwC, integration meant figuring out how to leverage data and insights from one territory to inform decision-making in another. They needed one place where employees in different offices could access the same information to drive results for their clients.
Salesforce brought all of their data together in one place, connecting employees from 107 countries together on the same platform. “Harmonized data gives the PwC team a better understanding of their business and their customer,” said Vikram Rao, Salesforce Program Architect from Salesforce Professional Services. “A well-rounded understanding of the customer makes it easier for PwC employees to move with speed and agility in response to changing needs.”
Gallacher points to her team’s use of Salesforce Discovery and Einstein Insights as a great example of integrating solutions to speed up work processes and provide value to the customer. The team used the Salesforce platform to predict how changing the product mix would affect approval by the risk department. By understanding how these changes affect delivery timelines, the PwC team can proactively identify and actively work to remove any barriers to delivery, speeding up the time to value for their clients.
3 – Don’t forget that your employees are human, too
COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation, with employees working overtime to complete multi-year projects in a matter of months. With the amount of energy these projects take, Gallacher urges CIOs and other business leaders to not forget about their employees’ well-being.
She also reminds leaders that human interaction can’t be replaced. CIOs should find new ways for employees to interact and leverage their network to encourage innovation. PwC used the Salesforce platform to give employees access to a community of company alumni and clients. Through these interactions, employees can learn about past experiences to inform current and future decisions.
Ultimately, Gallacher says it comes down to setting boundaries. She encourages employees to do something for themselves to allow them time to rest and recharge. Then, the employee comes back to work clear-minded and ready to perform at their best.
We’re in it for the long haul.
Digital transformation isn’t going anywhere and CIOs know success means committing to continued innovation and agility in the coming months and years. “Endurance is important in finding the middle ground between transformation and speed,” Gallacher says.
Finding the right integrated platform gives your teams the support they need to move quickly and efficiently to meet constantly changing customer needs. Gallacher says an integrated platform and unified experience provides three key benefits to accelerating your digital transformation:
Helps employees deliver the right product to the right person at the right time
Provides access to data from across the world to make better business decisions
Delivers flexibility to help employees adapt to a new work environment
For PwC, Salesforce was a crucial teammate for navigating their digital transformation. The platform’s ability to bring together teams across the world along with the knowledge of Salesforce Professional Services experts like Vikram made it possible to unite PwC employees in the new digital world. “Salesforce is flexible, knowledgeable, and credible. They were an essential partner in helping us launch a successful global program,” Gallacher says.
CIOs have a tall order to fulfill: prepare their organizations for both the expected and unexpected challenges of transitioning to an all-digital world. By unifying teams on an integrated platform, they’ll be equipped to handle this transformation with speed and agility to continue delivering quality customer experiences.
Vik Rao is an Experienced Digital Transformation Executive with extensive business and technical leadership skills defining IT Strategy, architecture, and roadmap for complex organizational needs with a reliable track record for execution. He holds 15 Salesforce certifications and has successfully led and delivered global initiatives on business transformation, CRM, revenue management, and e-commerce implementations.