“Business transformation always has a technology element to it.”
We met up with Nancy Easton, Alliances Strategy & Growth Director to talk about her role in business transformation, and why technology plays such a key role.
Hi Nancy. Let’s start with an easy one. What do you do at KPMG?
I run the operations for Powered Enterprise in the UK: that’s our unique approach to technology-enabled business transformation.
It’s my job to make sure we’re growing our business and delivering best practice for clients. I decide where to invest to grow the Powered business, and ensure we have the leadership and governance in place to make it happen.
I’m also taking on a new role as strategy and growth lead for our alliances. We have strong alliances with all the main technology vendors. So whether clients use Microsoft, Oracle, Workday or another, we have a ready-made methodology for the platform they’re on.
I work with our Head of Alliances to identify new vendors to bring onstream, and decide which of our partners’ propositions to focus on.
In your view, why is technology so fundamental to business transformation?
Transformation always has a technology element to it.
Digital technology helps you accelerate, simplify and drive competitive advantage.
Businesses want to transform functions like finance and HR to equip them for the future, and streamline their operations as much as possible.
That will inevitably have to be underpinned by technology. I’ve never had a conversation with a client about transformation that didn’t involve technology.
So, you must be ideally placed to tell us which technologies to get excited about …
Well, you won’t be surprised to hear me say this, but … AI.
A lot of our alliance partners are doing very cool things with AI. So we’re working out how to bring that to our clients. How can we help them to implement AI safely, and use it to get the right business outcomes?
We also need to work out how best to use it internally – to improve our services and client outcomes, and to accelerate our output by automating repetitive tasks.
We recently announced an expansion to our global alliance with Microsoft that gives us early access to some of their AI applications, so we can trial them internally and with clients.
What challenges do clients typically come up against during transformation programmes?
I think there are two.
The first is behavioural change. That plays out differently in different organisations, depending on their level of digital maturity. So you don’t know until you get there how hard it will be to get people to adapt the way they work.
The other is optimising their technology once it’s been deployed. How do you make it business as usual? How do you get the desired outcomes from it? Is the necessary support in place?
The focus is often all on getting to go-live, and not on what follows. Part of our Powered Enterprise approach – Powered Evolution – helps organisations with this. It kickstarts the preparation for the post-implementation phase early in the transformation journey.
Talking of Powered Enterprise: what’s unique about it? How does it make the difference for clients?
It’s the breadth and depth of our knowledge, skills and experience.
Our people offer a unique blend of functional, sector and technology expertise. We bring in a mix of teams to deliver the particular solution each client needs. And through Powered Enterprise, our clients get access to a rich source of assets and best practice, which have been tried and tested on countless transformation projects.
You get much more than a digital solution. You get the complete package – a transformation that’s about business outcomes, not tech.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My two-year-old! Often at 5am …
In terms of work, I need to be stretched in my role. I get bored quickly if feel I’m not learning or developing. KPMG gives me that stretch and those development opportunities.
Since joining the firm, I’ve been in client-facing roles, I’ve been a performance leader, and I’ve helped bring our Connected Technology team together. I’m now Head of Operations for Powered Enterprise, and I’ve recently become Strategy and Growth Lead for our technology alliances.
I really enjoy that breadth and variety. It keeps me interested, and keeps me learning.
And what keeps you busy when you’re not working?
I recently became trustee and non-executive director for a local charity: Tower Hamlets Friends and Neighbours, which is in East London. It addresses social isolation in the area, visiting and supporting people who struggle to get out and about.
It’s been fascinating to see how a charity operates and how funding works. I’ve had to learn about a completely different sector to the one I work in. And it’s a different way of applying some of the skills I use professionally.
And, of course, it’s great to do some good in the local community.