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Ultimately, it's about adoption

IF someone has to spend so much time looking for information at a place where talent and knowledge are the cornerstone of his practice, then something can be improved. Staff could serve customers faster and more efficiently.

That was one issue that was faced by PwC Consulting in Singapore, until an 18-month transformation in 2014 allowed the company to improve much of its back-end services such as IT, knowledge management and human resources. If a person had to take two days to find a thought leadership article another person had written recently, then there was a problem, said Mr Charles Loh, a Partner at PwC Consulting (Singapore).

The same, if someone looked up what the margins were for a particular contract. How could the person be sure it was accurate and that he was not mistaken?

The big challenge was making sure the company could compete in a more challenging situation, where clients can be more demanding and rivals keener in a race to win over customers. Finding the right information quickly was key, said Mr Loh. This meant reconciling various types of data on hand, including that from legacy and external sources, he added, and making sense of all of it.

"We are still in the midst of the journey," he noted. "And it's a tough journey."

However, the company has shown results in the many efforts it embarked on to be more efficient and agile. For example, automated project management tools now enable staff to track dealings with clients in a more coordinated fashion. Clients have a better experience, as a result. It is important for the IT strategy to be aligned with the business, said Mr Loh. Key too are the engagement and commitment from stakeholders who will be affected by the transformation, he added.

"It's important to drive adoption. There's no point investing so much in something and then people say they don't even know about it," he noted.

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