As Chief Digital Officer for KPMG UK, Lisa Heneghan is charged with leading enterprise-wide transformation for the auditor and tax giant, delivering better client experiences and ensuring that KPMG is \u201cfit for the digital age\u201d.\n\n\u201cI'm responsible for all things technology related in the firm,\u201d Heneghan says. \u201cWhen you break that down in KPMG, that actually means I have all of our [2,000] client-facing technologists, our internal technology organisation, and I'm also responsible for the digital transformation of our business.\u201d\n\nA CDO\u2019s focus on client outcomes\n\nHeneghan has been at KPMG since 2011 but took on the CDO role three years ago, overseeing the technology function across the audit, advisory, deals, and tax departments. She says the role has changed over time, from establishing the appropriate technology foundations to building the right team; Heneghan has recently built out a CTO team to help develop KPMG\u2019s three-year transformation plan.\n\n\u201cWhen I started the job, it was more about putting in place strong foundations in terms of capability, architecture and security,\u201d she says. \u201cThis involved understanding the landscape and identifying a route to the cloud and building an IT organisation to support the future and, critically, putting in place structure and governance to drive sustainable change.\u201d\n\n\u201cStage two was more about rolling out the tools to support our people to do their jobs \u2013 physical tools, collaboration tools \u2013 and establish new ways of working. Now, we are able to focus on our integrated value chain and how we simplify and optimise.\u201d\n\nHer focus now is firmly on improving experiences for KPMG staff and clients.\n\n\u201cI always maintain that focus on the clients: what our clients need and how we work with them,\u201d says Heneghan, who similarly acknowledges KPMG\u2019s auditing challenges in recent months.\n\n\u201cA big part of what I've got is our client-facing technologists. So, I spend probably half of my week working with them and working on the big transformation programmes that we've got for clients. The other half of my time is where I'm linking into global\u2026 to make sure we are connected, and that we can bring the value from global.\u201d\n\nDigital ninjas and hybrid innovation centres\n\nKPMG\u2019s digital transformation journey has four pillars, Heneghan says: developing the digital brand, building digital culture, ensuring the organisation has strong technology foundations and installing tools and technologies.\n\nStrong technology foundations boil down to improving architecture, security and capability, and embedding the technology function within the business through KPMG\u2019s team of CTOs, who have built the roadmaps for transformation. Building a digital culture, meanwhile, relies heavily on KPMG\u2019s \u201cdigital ninjas\u201d programme to drive the adoption and use of technology put in place.\n\nSince the onset of the global pandemic, and the introduction of hybrid and remote working, KPMG rolled out Microsoft Surface devices and Microsoft Teams for company-wide communication \u2013 but it quickly realised that there were differing levels of technical literacy. The auditor turned to its digital ninjas for help.\n\nFocusing explicitly on Microsoft skills, digital ninjas offer one-on-one sessions, presentations, and a response to ad hoc enquiries on everything from how to use Teams to OneDrive and OneNote, as well as SAP\u2019s Concur and Pointprogress\u2019s MyTime mobile timesheets.\n\n\u201cWe\u2019ve now got nearly 1,000 Ninjas within the firm\u2026in all offices in the UK. It really builds into the demographic of our organisation, where we have an average age of 28.\u201d\n\n\u201cThey're people who have a day job to do, and they're learning within those businesses, but they're digital natives; they understand and are passionate about technology. They want their experience here to be as good as their experience at home,\u201d Heneghan says.\n\nResults from the Digital Ninjas programme include: \n\nKPMG has also trained 30,000 people in the programming language Python, while the professional services firm is experimenting with new ways of working through Ignition, its technology innovation, insights, and collaboration hub at its headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.\n\nThe Ignition centre facilitates sprints and innovation sessions and aids staff and partners in brainstorming more significant \u201ccomplex operating model type issues\u201d, Heneghan says.\n\nCareer progression for women in tech, plus skills gaps\n\nEncouraging women to pursue tech careers is close to Heneghan\u2019s heart and perhaps unsurprisingly so, given almost half of KPMGs technology workforce is now female, thanks largely to the firm\u2019s IT\u2019s Her Future\u00a0initiative.\n\n\u201cWe've had a massive increase,\u201d she says. \u201cWe started off focusing on bringing in people as females at the graduate level, and then building that up, and then we started to focus on how do we help them to progress? Because it's incredibly important that you keep building that pipeline.\u201d\n\n\u201cAs of July 2021, 43% of the overall technology teams are female. Women span a whole array of technology roles at KPMG, including data engineers, data analysts, artificial intelligence experts, developers, software testers, information security analysts, cloud engineers\u2026the list goes on.\u201d\n\nIT\u2019s Her Future initiative is now trickling into universities and colleges, too.\n\n\u201cWe have dedicated streams which work to encourage girls from universities into technology apprentices and graduate programmes. We also hold external events for young women looking to embark on a career in STEM so they can see the options available to them at KPMG.\u201d\n\nThe firm is now exploring other ways of working with higher education. For example, its relationship with the University of Nottingham focuses on advancing local data analytics skills and capabilities.\n\nSpecialists from the university\u2019s Data-Driven Discovery Initiative (3Di) and KPMG are working together to develop new research and provide insight that will enhance data and analytics services for businesses, and the partnership will hold events\u202fto support the innovative ideas of small and medium sized enterprises in the East Midlands Region and provide data skills training to help close the digital skills gap.\n\nThe collaboration between KPMG and the University of Nottingham forms part of the university\u2019s new programme, Digital Nottingham, which has ambitions to transform the East Midlands city through data science, technology and innovation.