PwC Australia is looking to reach the “next horizon” of its ongoing digital and data transformation under the gaze and drive of a new-look technology leadership team.
The consultancy has brought in Jacqui Visch as its new chief digital and information officer and also appointed a new chief technology officer.
In this week’s CXO Challenge on the iTnews podcast, Visch discusses her new role and remit at the firm, what the next transformation “horizon” looks like, and opportunities to leverage the global PwC ‘network’ to drive change in the local operations.
She also tackles technology leadership approaches, from care for tech teams to fostering an environment that allows people to constructively challenge ideas and canvas alternate approaches.
Visch started as PwC Australia’s chief digital and information officer (CDIO) at the beginning of July, joining after a stint as AMP’s chief technology and data officer, and before that a range of technology management roles at Westpac.
While she is PwC Australia CDIO first and foremost, she has a dual role which will also see her participate in some client-facing work.
“With my experiences in the financial services industry, I saw I could not only be the chief digital and information officer, but also the term is a hybrid consultant to work with clients and really see how they can turbocharge their technology agendas,” Visch said.
“So my primary remit is definitely the chief digital and information officer role, but that ability to go to market and share experiences and opportunities is also there as well.”
As CDIO, Visch is accountable for the seamless delivery of technology services into the firm: “everything from the employee digital experiences, to the infrastructure that hosts the organisation's platforms, and to the products that our clients use.”
“PwC Australia has three lines of business - consulting, assurance, and financial advisory,” she said.
“Each of those client-facing businesses has various products and services and platforms, and my remit is really around making sure that the whole ecosystem of how we run and operate, and the services provided, are all fit-for-purpose, meeting the requirements and are operationally sound.”
The CDIO - and the digital technology services team - is a key input into transformations in each of those lines of business.
Each “has a transformation office” of its own. While Visch has visibility across all those offices, her team acts as an “engine room” that can be brought in to help each line of business execute on their transformations, as required.
“It's around each of these lines of business having their own ambitions and their own go-to-market strategy, so it's really critical that their transformation is as close to the customer as possible,” she said of the multiple transformation office structure.
“I call it ‘anchor yourself in flexibility’.”
In addition, as CDIO Visch is leading a number of digital literacy programs and academies aimed at upskilling staff, and also has oversight of a local data office that links through to PwC’s global data office.
Though still within her first weeks as CDIO, Visch said her “first observations” of PwC Australia is that there are “some really strong capabilities that sit in the organisation”, particularly around automation and infrastructure.
More broadly, the consultancy has an enormous amount of systems, resources and practices that can be leveraged from its global operations.
Already, Visch said she had connected with key regional and international counterparts, which had opened doors.
“What's in-system is really quite mature and progressive, and so [for me] it's really about how to reach and lean into the global network, and really turbocharge what is here in Australia,” Visch said.
“We can use global resources both to get the basics right but also to find accelerators that can drive complex outcomes for our teams much faster.”
Visch said that she had also observed considerable enthusiasm and engagement within the broader PwC Australia team to make use of emerging technologies in the creation of products that solve business problems.
She is particularly enthused about the creation of a skilled services hub in Adelaide that can be used by PwC to uplift its own organisation, as well as to uplift others to be leaders in their own respective industries.
“I see technology as really the pulse of the business. It's that underlying capability that really propels an organisation, and whilst it's tech-led, it's human powered,” Visch said.
To that end, Visch intends to bring her own leadership style and strategies to the firm, with a focus on “developing people, lasting connections, continuous improvement, and collaboration.”
“For me, as a leader in technology, the first thing that I always start with is care - care for the teams and for the people, and making sure that through care and interest we help teams have clarity in what they do,” Visch said.
“Technology has moved at such a rapid pace over the last decade, and even exponentially over the last two to three years, that to really be able to give teams that ability to develop, shift, change, test, learn, unlearn, relearn, and innovate in both their thinking and what they do is critical to myself as a leader, and also to the technologies and how we deploy them.”
Visch noted the potential for technology to be 24x7 and overtake people’s lives.
“Major incidents can keep people up at night,” she said.
“But if we think first around the people, and then we deliver the technology that is as hardened, rigorous and resilient as possible, then we will have operational excellence, we will minimise impact to the technology and therefore have amazing client experiences.
“It all starts with we're all people helping people. We're humans doing the best we can every day.
“And then if we take that lens through the way that we do our work, and then deliver amazing outcomes, I think it's just a great way to harness teams behind a broader purpose.”