Ryan Green, Anchor, Snowflake
Pär Edin, Board Director and Committee Chair, Global Lead Partner, and Innovation leader for the Deal Advisory & Strategy Practice, KPMG
The number one topic on the minds of KPMG clients, says Pär Edin, Board Committee Chair, Global Lead Partner, & Innovation Leader at KPMG, is generative AI, followed by data monetization and cyber security. In this wide-ranging conversation with “Data Cloud Now” host Ryan Green, he discusses all those topics and shares his thoughts on various business philosophies that help create a recipe for success.
Ryan Green: Pär, thank you so much for joining me. I'm really excited about this conversation. You know, let's look at collective impact. You know, KPMG operates across 143 countries. From your perspective, what's top of mind for your clients?
Pär Edin: Well, right now, everyone will talk about only one thing is Gen AI. Gen AI for every function, every company, everywhere. So that's the number one topic right now. Just behind that is monetizing data. So, Gen AI will be driven by the access to data which needs to be in the cloud preferably, and that is then resurfacing demand for how we can move the data into the cloud, how can we use it to drive real business value and cybersecurity, you know, it's always been important, particularly geopolitically. It's going to continue to be important. And now with you and I and data cloud, everyone is looking for, how can we do this as safe and as reliable as possible. So those three things, I would say 90% of the conversation right now around data.
Ryan Green: And, you know, those three topics are very much industry agnostic. You know, KPMG serves customers across multiple, multiple sectors, including, you know, public sector agencies, financial services in health care. From your perspective, are you focusing on a specific industry? And if so, why is that the case and what trends are you noticing?
Pär Edin: So as a firm, we have the benefit of being, as you said, every sector, every function, every country, if you will. Financial services, asset management, private equity, tech. those are huge sectors, but all of the sectors are relevant for us. For me personally, I focus a lot on tech companies, clients and alliances. We want to make sure that we work with the disruptors in the in the industry, and also that we make alliances and partner with the ecosystem that we need to serve our clients the best. So, for me personally, I spend a lot of time thinking through, you know, as the last frontier of the cloud transition, the data cloud transition moves into the era of Gen AI. How can that impact both our own company and every one of our clients? And that's, you know, nobody knows right now. I've been watching A.I. since I did my first job as an intern in 1992 at a company in Brussels. I've been watching this. I took my eyes off the ball for six months and they just took off, right? So, I think this is this is an iPhone moment for the industry for me.
Ryan Green: You know, I want to mention, you know, you've referenced the data cloud. From your perspective, how were clients finding value in it and what are your largest takeaways from the partnership?
Pär Edin: For us, it's huge. First of all, sort of data, a differentiator is part of our core corporate Australia C-suite. It's up there with our top three priorities. To be paid in data, you need to be paid in data cloud and we are rapidly growing our business. Actually, this year we're trending to double our revenue from data cloud specifically. And most of that is still coming from clients that said, hey, help us move the data from our basement into the cloud, make it usable, etc. and more and more. And we're seeing it already. It's coming outside of it. Help us. You do taxes better. We have right now what we think is unique solution based on data cloud for helping companies do their taxes, particularly with the new regulation coming in and more data needed to be collected from every country that you operate in. And very soon, and this is our priority, we're going to it in M&A, the use of data cloud everywhere in M&A, the entire lifecycle is going to be, we think, disruptive. And we put out a perspective about at your summit a year ago how we think that will play out even before anyone had ever done a deal. And now we're ready to go and really deploy the power of the data cloud into M&A overall.
Ryan Green: You know, I want to I want to stick with Snowflake Summit for a minute. We're gearing up for the next Snowflake summit. What excites you most about attending this year?
Pär Edin: Well, I was there last year was a fantastic event. You know, we were there with for the first time actually, people from tax, people from our consulting business, people from our advisory strategy, all walking arm in arm, meeting the executives, meeting our clients, your customers, attending the session with Frank, watching him sign the books and all that stuff, challenging him on some of the things he wrote about consultants in his book. And it was all good and fun. So, I think we want to see a repeat of that. And obviously it's amazing to see how big the event has gotten. You know, I used to be at a company that did the largest shows in Vegas back in the day, but you were growing.
Ryan Green: You know, bring in that entire data cloud ecosystem together. So, Las Vegas summit for the audience attending. You know, we're just getting ready for it. I want to pivot back to you personally and I'm constantly fascinated by management philosophies and how you approach hiring, you know, to be competitive in an ever increasing, hyper competitive environment. Choosing the right talent is essential. What traits do you look for when hiring people in bringing them into the larger KPMG fold?
Pär Edin: Yeah, very clear. We look for five things and they're actually the five things that are our values. So, the first one is integrity. If you can't trust me and I'm advising you, if you can't trust the tech that you're relying upon, you won't act upon it. So, integrity and trust is number one in the character. Second is excellent. You've got to be good at something today. But even more importantly, the speed by which you can learn and proof points that you learn new things very, very rapidly, particularly now as the world is changing is second. You know, if you don't have that, you'll be stale, you'll be stuck, if you will. The third one is courage. So, courage to do new things, courage to productively challenge the status quo. Speak up if you have a good idea, no matter how high or low you are in the hierarchy, and basically just try to make things better if you don't have that and you know, transformation will be slower and will be less successful. The fourth one for us is a lot about together. We say we call it better together. We can collaborate with people all different backgrounds, all different skills.You're not going to win. So we talked earlier about, you know, sports, etc. So, the better team always beats the better individuals, but the more diverse team beats the other teams. So, the ability to team inside your company with other functions and outside is going to be key. Finally, for better, we look for people that have the notion that we need to do the right thing and we need I need to pitch in, whether it's in my company, outside my role in my community. You got to be burning for something, right? And if you're not able to pitch in and do that extra the right thing, even if it may be the wrong thing short term for your goal or profitability or what have you, that those five things we look for in every employee and every recruit. And if you don't have evidence of that, then you're better off somewhere else.
Ryan Green: I love it, you know, very much. Living true to your core values on a day-to-day basis for some of our audience that is watching this, they may be new to the workforce or just, you know, leaving college and making that next chapter into their career. What advice would you like to give them? What can they do now to position them for success in the future?
Pär Edin: Yeah, this is the hardest question because I'm probably, this is the wrong guy to ask.
Ryan Green: I don't mean to put you on the spot.
Pär Edin: So, I grew up as an engineer in Sweden thinking I'll build my career in space. Ended up becoming a managed consultant without an MBA and then executive, you know, at Cisco at the time, trying to change the way that we use technology. Then back as a consultant and now a board member of a 125-year-old company originally known for as being an auditor without a CPA. So, you know, don't do what I did. But I think if I would tell my younger self something, it would be, you know, don't think you can plan your entire life or career. When you were 20, right? Got life is what happens to you while you're planning for the future.
Ryan Green: That's the journey.
Pär Edin: That's the journey You put yourself in situations where you learn a lot things that you know with people you like and can learn from. So be curious, be honest, but nice, you know, be nice to people around you.
Ryan Green: We're all in this together.
Pär Edin: That exactly think seek out opportunities where you can do things that that you make you grow and the rest will take care of itself.
Ryan Green: I really appreciate it. For the audience watching, how can they learn more about what KPMG is doing on a day-to-day basis?
Pär Edin: Go to our website, check out what we do. Grab anyone in your LinkedIn, you know, a neighborhood that has the KPMG title or call me.
Ryan Green: Well, thank you so much for joining me on Data Cloud Now. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Pär Edin: Thank you.