Unite joins PwC to meet the technology world head on

Unite joins PwC to meet the technology world head on

Technology consulting business, Unite, has joined PwC to help solve evolving client issues and make the most of brand-new digital opportunities. Marcus Porter, Unite’s co-founder and new PwC Partner, tells us what private businesses can look forward to.

It’s understandable that more than two-thirds of all private-business CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change, as we saw in 2017’s PwC CEO Survey. Technology is often seen as expensive, while making the most of that investment commonly relies on having the right skills in the business.

All that adds up to cost, although not advancing with technology leaves the risk of falling behind competitors. It’s somewhat of a catch-22, and perhaps the reason why those 68% of business leaders told us they’re worried about how quickly technology is advancing.

To help, PwC has recently acquired technology consulting firm Unite, a company started more than three years ago by co-founder and former PwC Director Marcus Porter.

In those three years, Marcus proved there is a real appetite among both private businesses and public-sector organisations for help getting technology strategies off the ground, particularly with tricky tasks such as cloud integration and the enablement of application programming interfaces (APIs).

Now rejoining the firm as a Partner, Marcus sits down to discuss what clients can expect from PwC’s growing technology offering.

United front

Marcus is joined in his move to PwC by the Unite staff, including co-founder  Rob Fisher. Marcus says Rob and his team have been excited to get to work, and shines a light on how they well expand upon PwC’s established offerings.

“The acquisition is an addition to the capabilities of PwC as a whole,” Marcus begins. “From a strategy to execution side, we’re strengthening our technology development and support abilities.

“PwC has always had a rich history and presence around digital strategy and transformation advisory offerings. What we can now bring to the table is the ability to extend that and do the implementation and support aspects to do with technology transformation.”

Some of the upcoming work Marcus and his team has already embarked upon involves solving some of the legacy system problems New Zealand’s businesses are struggling with. Ageing IT is expensive to replace, but cloud software and APIs are just a couple of ways of augmenting it so it stays productive in the modern, digital environment.

“One of our focuses is around API enablement and the transformation that comes with that. We can help with strategy, and work with clients around how to set up their business so they can either protect and retain more legacy systems with the API or create new revenue funds through the exposure of data and intellectual property.”

Mind the app gap

An API is a way for two apps to communicate with each other. For example, without API, a business’ app searching for the current weather in Christchurch would need to browse webpage for results and interpret content in the same way a human would. With API, certain commands are in place so the information source and app is synchronised, meaning they can communicate and find relevant information in a structured way.

It’s like the childhood toy with pegs and holes of different shapes and sizes. API is the knowledge of which peg goes in which hole, so even if the web page changes in design, the information doesn’t. Marcus says the transformation potential is what excites him the most about these types of technologies.

“What I like about APIs is you can transform in small steps and measure success along the way – whether that’s revenue or cost. You can build confidence as you transform rather than having to spend a lot of money upfront.”

There’s also a possibility for added revenue. If you’re the company that has that data on local weather, you may be able to leverage it through APIs by selling the information to others, either locally or worldwide.

Re-imagining technology

Technology may still be thought of as a risk more than perhaps the biggest opportunity in the modern business world – however, the sentiment is changing.

In PwC’s recent Digital IQ survey, a huge 44% of New Zealand businesses said the most important digital initiative they’re embarking on for the coming year was re-imagining their product and service offerings. That’s no small task, and it places even more reliance on technology.

While businesses might retain some concerns about the security and control environment of solutions like cloud technology, these are proving to be valuable ways to modernise and transform business. It’s up to Marcus and the technology consulting team to make sure change is made with the right strategy and goals in mind. Fortunately, he says his team have hit the ground running, and have a bigger opportunity than ever before to make an impact.

“The team and I now have a chance to take the abilities we have and include them within PwC’s skillset, capability and global presence to be a stronger collective,” Marcus explains. “To be able to bring both PwC and Unite teams together, I’m very proud of that.”

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