Lively exchange, interesting topics and inspiring conversations at the event held by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and PwC Switzerland
Human capital research has given us some interesting insights over the last 30 years. Did you know, for example, that undermined motivation probably has a larger effect on productivity and quality than any other factor? And that after motivation, probably the largest influencer of productivity is the individual capabilities of members of a team or the working relationships among them? These and other facts have been discussed yesterday at the event on the subject “Creating high-performing teams for your projects”.
The interactive presentation has drawn on experience with building high-performing teams for IT projects, nationally and internationally. Attendees got insights into how to build teams that make the grade, what roles need to be included, and what factors influence behaviour and motivation.
We would like to say thank you to all attendees, colleagues, PMI and especially to our speaker Maarten Broekhuizen, senior manager in the Transformation Assurance division at PwC Netherlands, and would be delighted to have the pleasure of your company again soon.
About the next event: Artificial Intelligence & Project Management: Beyond human imagination!
Around 200 years ago the industrial revolution changed society for good. Today another revolution is under way, with potentially even farther-reaching consequences.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in industry, experts are predicting, will change everything about the way we produce, manufacture and deliver. Cognitive computing, machine learning, natural language processing – different terms have emerged as the technology has progressed in recent years. What they all encapsulate is the idea that machines could one day be taught to learn how to adapt by themselves, rather than having to be spoon-fed every instruction for every eventuality. Now, according to many, that day has arrived. AI will change the world.
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (CEST) Location: Geneva, Switzerland.
Smart businesspeople, like good gardeners, realise that you have to cut back to stay strong and stimulate growth. On 1 February, a select group of financial industry leaders came to our event on Strategy&’s Fit for Growth* approach to find out how some of the world’s leading organisations have learned how to compete and flourish by pruning intelligently and channelling their resources into the strongest and most vital parts of their operation – and how they could apply this know-how to their own business.
Business leaders are actually more like commercial fruit growers than amateur gardeners: there’s a lot more at stake if your whole survival depends on making the right choices. You have to prune back to survive and compete, but if you cut back too much or in the wrong places you can destroy the whole basis of your growth and livelihood. Strategy&’s Fit for Growth framework documents some spectacular examples of companies that have got cost-cutting wrong and gone under as a result.
But the people who came to the event on Fit for Growth (FFG) were more interested in stories of how to get it right. After a welcome by Daniel Diemers, Utz Helmuth and Torsten Eistert briefly introduced the FFG methodology. On the basis of decades of helping some of the world’s leading organisations to cut costs intelligently and invest in profitability, Strategy& – PwC’s strategy consulting arm – has come up with a highly effective approach called Fit for Growth. The idea of Fit for Growth is to make deliberate, holistic choices that will enable you to
focus on your unique differentiating capabilities
align your cost structure around ‘good’ and ‘bad’ costs and redistribute costs to make room for investment in differentiation and innovation
harness artificial intelligence and other digital technologies to help you achieve these goals.
The event continued with a keynote speech by PwC’s European Data & Analytics Advisory Leader, Christian Kirschniak, on how data analytics and artificial intelligence can fit into the Fit for Growth approach and help businesses achieve these goals.
Participants went away with some new and valuable insights into how to compete and succeed in an increasingly competitive climate – how to tread the line between cutting back too much and destroying your organisation’s vitality, and assessing your strengths so that you can prune wisely for growth and continued profitability.
*Fit for Growth is a registered service mark of PwC Strategy& LLC in the United States.
Our 2018 programme will be dedicated to the Future of Treasury, with a focus on Fintech, Cybersecurity, and Connectivity, as well as on the changes in the required skills of the Future Treasurer. We will provide context to the current Macro-economic environment and share relevant practitioner case studies.
A great networking opportunity
On top of the knowledge transfer, panel discussions and case studies, we are well aware that this event is an important moment for you to connect with your peers, so ample networking time will be provided throughout the day.
This year’s programme
You can find the detailed programmes and information for both locations on our PwC Event webpage. We are delighted of this year’s excellent line-up of speakers, and hope that you will be interested in the topics they will cover.
Register now and enjoy our Early Bird fees
Special Early Bird fees will apply to all registrations received before February 15th. Click the links below to register now to our PwC Treasury Conference:
PwC’s Treasury Solutions Group looks forward to welcoming you at the 19th edition of the event in Zurich and the 12th edition in Geneva and remains at your disposal should you need any further information.
Feel free to contact our experts if you have any question related to this topic:
We are pleased to launch the new Power & Utilities roundtable discussion paper Market Design in a World of Energy Transformation.
Senior executives and experts from 12 countries and four continents gathered in for a PwC roundtable on market design in a world of energy transformation in Brussels, Belgium. The event brought together leading players with substantial experience from both the regulatory and corporate spheres to discuss how market design can best evolve to meet the challenges of new energy systems.
Power market design varies considerably in different jurisdictions around the world but everywhere market design faces common challenges. In a changing energy world, power systems are becoming more decentralised and, with that, comes volatility. The need to balance energy resilience with flexibility is adding a new tension to the central trilemma of reliability, affordability and sustainability. The contrast between the similarity of the challenges and the difference in market design approaches offers a great opportunity. What was evident from the roundtable discussion is that there should be no need to invent market design solutions from scratch. Different parts of the world have followed different evolutionary paths and have adopted different policy frameworks. There are things that are done well and things that are done badly everywhere and we can learn from them.
We are pleased to launch the new White Paper that PwC has created in cooperation with the World Energy Council (WEC): The Developing Role of Blockchain.
Blockchain has the potential to change the way we arrange, record and verify transactions, with the underlying model shifting away from a centralised structure towards decentralised systems. It is no surprise then that, outside of the financial sector, the energy sector is seen as one of the industries where blockchain could have the biggest transformative and disruptive impact.
But there are still a number of uncertainties in the way of blockchain which still could limit or even stall its growth due to a combination of technological, regulatory and other practical challenges.
Among the big questions surrounding blockchain are: Will its early potential translate into robust and reliable, practical applications? How sure can we be that its promise of greater cybersecurity will be fulfilled and that it won’t introduce new, possibly bigger risks?
Digitisation, urbanisation, globalisation and resource scarcity are all megatrends forcing people to change – and companies to embark on digital transformation. Sharing economy businesses have grasped that what’s hip today and successful tomorrow might not even exist in ten years’ time. For this reason they’re constantly reinventing themselves, hand in hand with their customers. The ability to change requires courage, innovation, self-criticism, and plenty of staying power.
People have become so tired of politicians claiming that ‘there’s no alternative’ that in 2010 ‘alternativlos’ was chosen as Germany’s Non-Word of the Year. Indeed there are so many alternatives these days that people are no longer prepared to commit to a single option, but would rather be able to decide according to their moods and needs. Property has become passé because it means stress. “The real luxury is that you no longer have to possess things – you only have to be able to use them,” says Olivier Kofler, head of PwC’s Experience Center. It’s better to leave the boring job of maintenance and administration to other people.
That’s why so many services are now sold on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. This freedom of contract meets a very modern desire for flexibility of options, and is ultimately one of the key factors in the sharing economy. Another key factor is people’s innate inertia: they’re reluctant to move into the future of their own accord. People tend to focus too closely on what will happen in the next twelve months; very few are seriously wondering what will change in the next twelve years. Another factor helping make co-consumption such a success is the scarcity of non-renewable resources.
All these factors have enabled the establishment of a digital economy that doesn’t need any new resources, doesn’t tie people down, and relieves them of responsibility. Consumers are prepared to pay for this – and in some cases pay more – provided they no longer have to bear the burden of ownership, maintenance and administration.
A good example of this mechanism is the electric drill. If you own a drill you’re unlikely to use it for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. In the meantime the drill can sit gathering dust for weeks, if not years, before the next DIY job. Earlier attempts to share everyday objects like this unfortunately faltered. It was only with the advent of the sharing economy that platforms – digital platforms, of course – were created that did away with the stress of ownership.
Unique in many dimensions
Digital transformation is creating momentum in more than one dimension. If you want to harness all this momentum, you have to contend with several forces at once: content, commerce and community. Creating new products and services and offering them to existing or new groups of consumers is nothing new. What’s more of a challenge is entering into permanent dialogue with all the different stakeholders, including your own employees, doggedly finding out their needs, and translating these wishes and requirements into newly designed products and services. Highly digitised companies process their entire knowledge of their dialogue groups in the form of smart data, and then use this data intelligently. This way they’re able to cater to a huge range of changing user needs and refine the user experience on a permanent basis. The sharing economy has thus consummated the transition from the classic business-to-consumer (B2C) model to business-to-people (B2P).
Another huge opportunity created by digital transformation lies in self-cannibalisation. If you embark on digital transformation you have to scrutinise your own raison d’être and ask what you’re there for in the first place. Cannibalising your own revenue model is extremely healthy, because if you don’t do it yourself, someone else will. Look at sharing economy newcomers whose digital platforms have taken the place of conventional intermediaries such as distributors. Alibaba and eBay are prime examples. The middlemen could have initiated this transformation themselves rather than having to deal with the consequences after the fact. If you challenge yourself you can set the pace of innovation and progress and perfect your own competitive agility.
The way the impact of digital approaches is monitored also differs from conventional models. In the digital world, what used to involve phased projects with milestones and acceptance certificates is now done iteratively on an ongoing, simultaneous basis. For this reason you can’t apply proven key performance indicators (KPIs) like profitability and conversion rates directly to digital business models. They require new yardsticks measuring attributes such as entrepreneurial endurance, customer satisfaction and the development of growth or innovation. Measuring performance in a digital context isn’t about defining an unalterable target state. Instead you allow your goal to change, and measure performance in terms of inventiveness, prototyping, customer and employee interaction.
Of mavericks and lateral thinkers
A functioning digital economy rests on people – and a digital culture. To establish a digital culture you need strong leadership that takes in the business as a whole and is able to turn anxieties about imminent transformation into enthusiasm, and risks into opportunities. This way you can develop approaches that unleash enormous potential by bundling the creativity within your organisation and making it available to new markets.
The fact is that companies led by digital-friendly people that actively address digitisation are more successful than those that don’t see the necessity. Of course you can go too far. Simply hiring a chief digital officer and trying to ordain a digital culture from the top down is rarely enough to establish your company as a genuine pioneer. By the same token a middle-aged management that fears new forms of collaboration can become the number one obstacle to new digital models.
Evolution or revolution
There are two forms of digital culture. It can take the form of evolutionary development, with an organisation improving step by step, primarily in terms of processes and costs. The art of progressing in small steps is nothing new, but it can certainly get you to your goal. The second form of digital corporate culture is revolutionary and disruptive. It unleashes a huge amount of innovatory power and is driven by the courage to question and reinvent yourself. Companies taking this approach have to be prepared to completely rethink their market offering and target segments that have previously lain fallow. They have to make everything revolve around interaction with customers and staff. And they have to believe in the power of their disruptive idea. This form of transformation requires a lot of staying power, which can only come with exponential growth.
Where do Swiss SMEs stand?
Large companies are digitising their customer relationships and processes, and are prepared to invest accordingly. In our latest study, ‘Digital transformation: How mature are Swiss SMEs?’ we wanted to find out how far digitisation has advanced at small and medium-sized companies. There are several key findings: The degree of digitisation at Swiss SMEs varies widely. Digital maturity correlates positively with the size of the organisation, and negatively with the age of its management. The companies covered by our study have made internal processes and training staff on digital matters a firm priority. Customer involvement and the customer experience, by contrast, are further down their list of priorities.
This is because redesigning a business model constitutes a more radical departure for an SME than adapting existing processes, and because decisionmakers are still largely overlooking the opportunities presented by new business models. Organisations that have opted to transform their business model now see themselves as more competitive. Most highly digitised SMEs believe the financial investment was worthwhile. Further, more than 80% of study participants predict that the market will change fundamentally in the next five years because of digitisation.
On the basis of our findings we advise Swiss SMEs to take bolder action on digitisation and keep a close eye on their market. Digital transformation can affect the entire customer interaction, all processes and every business model. This means digital transformation has to be a C-suite responsibility. Small, simple digital steps can be enough to achieve significant efficiency gains. Just as important is the experience of industries that have already gone digital, and dialogue with innovative start-ups. It follows that digitisation is not a purely IT concern, but has to be placed firmly on the management agenda. This inevitably leads to the question of the appropriate business model. Ultimately the focus has to be on the customer experience and customer value.
Customers seize power
While we’re on the subject of utility: so-called loyalty programmes are a good way of achieving the right blend of customer experience, added value and digital culture. When designing a programme of this sort you first have to recognise and understand the main drivers of customer value. The goal of any loyalty programme should be to motivate customers to behave in the way you desire and reward them for doing so. At the moment too many loyalty programmes reward customers for something they’d be doing anyway. Experience shows that at most companies a small number of customers account for the lion’s share of profitability while unprofitable customers consume the most benefits. The loyalty programmes offered by certain Swiss banks are a good example of how on- and offline benefits can be skilfully combined. These banks give their clients access to exclusive offers via a specially designed online platform. On this platform private clients can take advantage of discounted leisure packages, while corporate clients get to benefit from innovative solutions for their clients or staff.
The sharing economy provides plenty of opportunities for companies to completely overhaul their business model and make sure everything revolves around the customer. They have to take people’s inertia into account. Is a user really prepared to travel 20 kilometres to pick up an electric drill? They also have to pay attention to the risks to their organisation and balance these out in their business model. If a company outsources specific links in the value chain to other market participants it loses part of its control, and the other players have to take responsibility. Uber drivers, for example, have to take responsibility for paying all their social security contributions. Other risks are that privacy may be jeopardised or automation fails to work properly.
In a nutshell
Sharing economy providers have given life to digital transformation. They foster a digital culture where they’re permanently communicating, interacting with their stakeholders and trying out everything at once. They allow their customers and staff to take part in this process, and work with prototypes. Switzerland has always held innovation and creation in high esteem. Take the process of industrialisation in the machine or textile industries. Now the challenge is to take this sense of responsibility and initiative into the digital age and measure it by the rules of this new economy. The success of the sharing economy rests on a combination of smart strategy and the ability to rapidly visualise this strategy. This way companies can transcend regulatory, geo-economic and intercultural boundaries and open up unique growth opportunities.
The Berlin start-up FRIDAY is shaking up the automobile insurance market with a new type of platform for digital motor vehicle products. Working alongside PwC and US software developer Guidewire, the subsidiary of the Baloise group is capitalising on the momentum of the 4.0 era and making full use of its innovative capacities to produce a cloud-based core system.
In its press release of 21 December 2017, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) announced that it welcomed the European Union’s agreement to include “virtual currencies” in the provisions on the fight against money laundering. According to the FMA, this is “an important step so that in the future, these online service providers will also have to identify, check and monitor their customers in the same way as the financial institutions in accordance with the usual due diligence obligations and monitor the transactions on an ongoing basis”.
In accordance with the provisions of the new EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, exchanges for “virtual currencies” and so-called “wallet providers” (electronic wallets) will henceforth also be subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The changes are to be implemented as followed:
The Anti-Money Laundering Directive applies to virtual currency swap exchanges where they offer the exchange of virtual currencies for legal currency. However, the Directive does not cover the exchange of different virtual currencies.
Providers of electronic wallets (so-called “Wallet Providers”), which manage the respective cryptographic keys of the holders of virtual currencies, are without exception subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Wallet providers are also obliged to register.
The Anti Money Laundering Directive introduces for the first time a legal definition of virtual currencies.
As soon as the European process is finalised, legislators are required to implement and transpose the new Anti-Money Laundering Directive into national laws within 18 months.
China’s top legislature adopted the country’s Cyber Security Law on Nov 7th 2016. After a third reading by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the law took effect on June 1st 2017. In addition to defining a wide scope of critical infrastructure, it lays the foundations for enforcing penalties on overseas organisations and individuals who attack, breach or insufficiently protect critical infrastructure and/or personal data. Reto Haeni, Leader Cybersecurity & Privacy at PwC Switzerland, explains what companies should consider as the topic has more impact than usually discussed.
China’s new Cyber Security Law focuses to a greater degree on several key topics: keeping personal information secure, combating cybercrime, ensuring network products and services are secure, clarifying the obligations network operators face and addressing sovereignty issues in cyberspace. There are two main aspects to responding to the law, and the second is often overlooked. First, companies operating in China must implement the law’s requirements if they want to remain compliant. Second, organisations with information or systems not located in China must also review their technology architecture, data protection efforts and business processes if they want to minimise the potential risks stemming from the new law.
China’s Cyber Security Law is the next step in the country’s wider effort to tighten rules and regulations governing information security and data privacy. Regulations have previously existed, for example the Administrative Measures for Prevention and Treatment of Computer Viruses and the Administrative Measures for Hierarchical Protection of Information Security. The new law enforces the rights and obligations the government, network operators and users all have in the area of cyber security and data protection. While the law has already come into effect, its concrete implementation is not yet known and a fair amount of interpretation is still needed to apply the law in practice to operations in China. Complying with the law entails several new challenges for both government and business, such as ensuring appropriate network operations, identifying security risks and encouraging network innovation. Each of these steps must be addressed if the rights of all stakeholders are to be protected.