by Byron Connolly

CIO 2016 #26-50: Timothy Larcos, PwC

Nov 24, 2016
Cloud Computing Data Center

As technologists, CIOs are uniquely positioned to fundamentally shift the way an organisation leverages technology and digital adoption not only for the organisation by also for clients, customers and society, says PwC CIO, private client, Timothy Larcos.

“It’s our duty to ensure transformation from old to new,” he says.

When Larcos arrived at PwC in January last year, he set about creating a strategy for the business that guides all its technology decisions.

“We asked staff and clients to submit their ‘ideal world’ ideas and we set out to resolve them,” he says.

The organisation began rolling out technologies aligned with four pillars: building a scalable cloud environment; engaging with clients using mobile and web channels; becoming a real-time function with a baseline expectation to reduce wasted time; and collect data centrally for analysis to provide historical and predictive business intelligence.

“We have transitioned from one active technology project to over 15 in under a year,” says Larcos. “A core goal is the digitisation of the entire project to reduce our environmental impact on society.”

The defining technology project under Larcos’ leadership has been PwC Next, the world-first cloud-enabled data aggregation and consolidation platform across professional services firms globally.

“PwC Next is the first step in setting the benchmark for client engagement in a world filled with cloud software,” says Larcos. “As our clients transition to the cloud, it’s crucial that we ensure our business can continue to provide valuable insights into our clients’ business operations.”

PwC Next enables PwC’s Private Clients division to offer additional layers of insights over and above its traditional tax and assurance services, says Larcos.

“In connecting with PwC Next, our servers will retrieve, analyse, review and consolidate data in one central location so our advisors can provide live, proactive insight into business operations.

PwC Next also ensures data between the various systems stays synchronised rather than requiring repeated data entry. For example, entering a customer into an accounting package results into this customer record being synchronised across all other cloud platforms linked to Next and vice versa, which saves money, he says.

While the platform has been created for PwC’s Private Clients business, it has been designed in a way that it has the potential to scale upwards to large enterprises.

Other innovations include a developer portal and an open API approach to previously closed data sets; a move from Lotus Notes to Google for Work; and move to DocuSign to provide electronic interaction across the practice. The company has migrated more than 15 million documents from a legacy document management system to a new platform that will make it easier to digitise business processes.

For Larcos, innovation is about recreating and improving an already effective way of working or design. It is about pursuing change even when it falls into the ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it category.’

“Without innovation, we don’t move forward, we don’t progress and we don’t improve.”

“As a CIO, our role is to constantly challenge the status quo, encourage others to think outside the box and always bring new ideas and ways of thinking to the table.”