The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt in every corner of the world. It has been devastating for millions and life-changing to some extent for almost everyone. The way we live and work, our routines and our behaviors have been altered in ways we could never have imagined. Business operations have been upended while long-term strategies and business models have been rapidly rethought.
Protecting our people and adapting
Across KPMG, the health and safety of all of our people has been our first priority. Our people have been extraordinarily resilient, adapting to a virtual work environment and supporting each other and our clients through this tumultuous time.
Technology has played a key role. Our investments in the digital workplace and flexible working arrangements enabled our people to adapt rapidly to stay highly engaged, supported and connected, and ensure we could continue to meet the needs of our clients, as they experienced business-altering change.
Leveraging our global alliance with Microsoft, in FY20 we rolled out Microsoft Teams to our almost 227,000 people in every corner of the globe — and the number of interactions on the platform has skyrocketed to more than 30 million a month. We are continuing to apply new technologies to enable our professionals to be more agile, work and collaborate more effectively, and be better positioned to excel for our clients in a post-pandemic world.
Responding to trends and shaping the agenda
The pandemic has also had the effect of accelerating a number of trends that were well underway. Digitalization was already a force, now we are seeing it increasingly take over business and personal life. In fact, CEOs in the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook identify digital transformation as one of their business’ priority responses to COVID-19.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards are also gaining even more momentum for business and investors in this new reality as businesses are increasingly aware of their impact in their communities and society. Events of the past year have put the spotlight on the world we want to leave the next generation. Building on our years of experience in ESG, we launched a new initiative, KPMG IMPACT. It brings together a highly-skilled network of professionals from across the globe to deliver industry-leading practices, research and trusted solutions for our clients, to address the biggest issues facing our planet.
Helping organizations respond
COVID-19 has put immense pressure on businesses, as well as government entities, throughout the world. Businesses have had to adjust to a radically changed environment in record time, becoming more efficient and changing the way they interact with customers and enable their people.
KPMG professionals around the world have joined in taking on the transformative challenges posed by the pandemic. We’ve contributed expertise and resources to public health initiatives both on the front line and broader operations, helping organizations respond to the overwhelming demand on health systems. Globally, we are involved in initiatives including improving the efficiency of COVID-19 testing to developing and assessing government ‘track and trace’ apps.
Across the globe, our people have worked closely with businesses, and at times re-deployed our Deal Advisory experts where needed to support our clients’ turnaround and financial restructuring requirements. Thousands of KPMG professionals from around the world responded at short notice to help some of the world’s biggest banks deploy government emergency funding in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and India, to keep businesses afloat when the economic fallout from the pandemic hit.
KPMG Lighthouse, the Center of Excellence for Data, AI & Emerging Technologies (KPMG Lighthouse), quickly pivoted its global network of technical experts to focus on protecting people, businesses, and restarting economies. The team launched innovations to enable resilience during the pandemic, including: intelligent automation agents for faster response times in customer service; an AI-enabled orchestration platform for donors and patient healthcare; and predictive analytics for robust geographic analysis of socio-economic impacts.
Every business has had to rethink how it works in this new environment. Challenges abound, but so do opportunities. With many offices closed and working remotely the norm, we see this new reality as a way to increase engagement and productivity and create a better experience for our people as well as our clients.
In the Netherlands, KPMG professionals have helped one of the country's largest academic health science networks to manage intensive care unit (ICU) capacity and to develop analytics along with dashboard management capability to better track and predict the spread of COVID-19. With the virus also adding to the need for mental health services, KPMG in the Netherlands helped providers to automate previously manual administrative processes, creating greater efficiency and allowing staff to focus more time on direct patient care.
KPMG in Portugal and Switzerland, together with our OutSystems alliance, jointly developed an app for a European health authority to assist with monitoring patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are undergoing treatment outside of hospital. The solution, built on Microsoft Azure, helps the health authority be more effective in determining the level of medical care needed and more reliable in monitoring the level of care received by those most affected. The app has even greater potential and is now being used by KPMG in Portugal to manage its own return to the office.
KPMG in India is supporting a number of agencies in monitoring and managing the response to the pandemic. Working closely with governments in nine states, KPMG teams are engaged in around-the-clock efforts to help ensure supply chains can support the needed distribution of food, medicines and other essentials. KPMG in India is also applying specialized artificial intelligence and machine-learning tools to aid with patient and contact tracking as well as undertaking predictive analytics to identify areas at high risk for contagion.
In the US, when the CARES Act with the Paycheck Protection Program took effect, KPMG stepped up to help banking clients respond to the massive number of requests for business loans. One bank alone received more than 85,000 loan applications on the first day of the program. In a matter of days, more than 1,500 professionals from KPMG in the US were mobilized, working 12-hour shifts so that loans could be processed and funded, and businesses could pay employees and stay afloat during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Throughout this webpage, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refers to the global organization or to one or more of the member firms of KPMG International Limited (“KPMG International”), each of which is a separate legal entity. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee and does not provide services to clients. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.