Make the difference hub › Sophia Longmore

“It's insufficient to merely install a technology system and dub it digital transformation; careful consideration of the change impacts and ensuring that those impacted are equipped, prepared and ready for the change is crucial for success.”

Discover why Sophia is excited about change management and how she uses it to support successful business transformations across the Caricom region.

Explain your role and what you love most about your work.

My role is to help clients successfully navigate and accelerate change within their organization using a human-centered, outcome-oriented and digital-first approach.  

What I love most about my job is the client interactions and working together to find solutions that work and are leading practice. I really love that!

At KPMG, our approach is very collaborative. We work closely with our clients to identify the best solutions for their challenge. These interactions often lead to very strong professional and personal relationships built on trust. Trust is critical. Clients will work with you if they trust you, and they trust you because you deliver. It's a remarkable experience; at one point in time, you're addressing a specific one-off challenge, and the next, you’re helping to craft and implement a bold yet realistic vision of change; and it’s a transformation journey that we go on together. 

Working in business transformation requires you to be adaptive and always open to change — what excites you about this area of business?

There is an adage that says, the only thing that is constant is change. Within transformation, things are constantly evolving and changing; organizations are developing new strategic goals and their customers and stakeholders  are demanding novel service levels. What truly excites me about working in transformation is helping clients identify and implement new ways of working to meet the demands of those they serve and provide real tangible benefits. But first, it requires the creation of a bold vision—a vision that can propel the organization. Often, this vision can also be a source of trepidation for people inside the organization. This is why it is critical for clients to wholeheartedly adopt an growth mindset, one that instills belief in the vision even before implementation begins.

If they believe it and start to envision some of the tangible benefits, then you’re off to a good start.

Additionally, we are now living in the digital age, customers- both internal and external- want greater autonomy over how they access services and so it is exciting to help organizations design that blueprint of their future organization or business function and support the implementation. 

What challenges might organizations face when trying to adopt an agile approach in their transformation journey?

One of the key challenges organizations often encounter when embracing an agile approach in their transformation journey is to think that the implementation of the technology is the end. It isn’t. It's insufficient to merely install a technology system and dub it digital transformation; careful consideration of the change impacts and ensuring that those impacted are equipped, prepared and ready for the change is crucial for success.

Reinforcement and sustainability emerge as another crucial challenge.  The appropriate support needs to be provided so that individuals don't revert to old practices 

Lastly, effective communication- failing to clearly convey the impending changes and their benefits can lead to resistance that may impede the transformation. Individuals need to understand the 'why' behind the changes and recognize what's in it for them. This communication component is critical for getting everyone on board and aligning them with the transformative journey.



“Having the right champion at the helm, from the very inception of the transformation journey and throughout its course, is a paramount driving force.”

- Sophia Longmore, KPMG Caricom

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In your experience, what have clients appreciated most from working with KPMG to drive transformation?

I have been with KPMG now for 18 years, and what clients appreciate the most is that we’re not just solution providers; we are an innovative team of creative thinkers and solution finders! If I were to pinpoint the top three elements, they would be: 

  • Our diverse experience: We bring to the table a diverse, multidisciplinary team of seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience. This allows us to draw from various successful transformation experiences in different industries and sectors. 

  • Our people-centric approach: At the core of our business transformation philosophy is our human-centered approach. Technology is a big enabler but we understand that it's the people within an organization who drive and sustain the change. Our approach is personable, ensuring that the human element is not overlooked.

  • Agility and innovation: We pride ourselves on our agility and innovative spirit. We adapt to meet clients precisely where they are in their transformation journey. During COVID-19, I was a part of a team delivering a finance function transformation which included the implementation of an ERP across over 30 operating entities in different time zones. With worldwide lockdowns, and travel restrictions, a lot of our work including executing the change management programme had to be done virtually! As a team, we had to quickly pivot and find new ways of working to secure buy-in from change agents and champions on the ground. A couple years ago, this was a novel way of working, but now it has become the norm.

It's this combination that empowers us to drive transformative change and provide value to our clients. 

What makes a transformation effort successful in your view?

What makes a transformation super successful is leadership direction and support. Having the right leadership and sponsorship from the very inception of the transformation journey and throughout is a critical success factor

Equally crucial is the collective understanding of "what's in it for me?" across all levels of the organization. This builds a genuine desire for change. Recognizing that the current situation may lead to stagnation, or worse, decline, reinforces the urgency and importance of embracing change.

To empower individuals to navigate this transformation, knowledge, training, and the essential tools must be readily available. Ongoing training ensures that the required skills are honed, and positive behaviors are ingrained until they become second nature.