• Bill Thomas, Leadership |

For the past decade, businesses have focused on the power of technology to improve efficiencies and drive innovation. For many, especially older and more established businesses, it was an evolution from uncertainty to undeniability. Then the devastation caused by the global pandemic hit…and the digital agenda accelerated in a few short months (and even weeks!).

Remote medical diagnosis and contact tracing, contactless commerce and cashless payments, virtual meetings and remote working. It’s hard to imagine how people and organizations would have responded to this pandemic a decade ago. Technology is helping save lives, helping businesses stay afloat, and keeping people connected and active.

It’s safe to say, the new reality, when it finally takes hold, will have technology at its heart.

That is why I am proud that KPMG has been recognized as the Global SI Digital Transformation 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year. This award is given to Microsoft partners for ‘driving excellence in innovation and delivering exceptional Microsoft technology-based solutions and services for clients’. And for me, this award is a great recognition to my talented colleagues who are leading the way in technology.

Last year, we further strengthened our long-standing alliance with Microsoft as part of our US$5 billion multi-year investment in technology, people and innovation across KPMG. As part of that investment, and together with Microsoft, we’ve been able to accelerate our clients’ digital transformation, as well as our own, in only a few months.

Our services span the entire project lifecycle helping clients transform their businesses by implementing a breadth of digital solutions developed in collaboration with our alliances, including Microsoft. Most recently, we’ve developed technology solutions to help businesses reopen and are providing training support with the KPMG Learning Platform. From strategy to architecture, implementation, and managed services, we are able to leverage IoT, blockchain, AI and much more.

Ultimately, clients want us to help them implement, manage and optimize the opportunities presented by digital transformation—all of which can be complex, but ultimately add incredible value. Many of them now say they are more efficient, more agile, and better positioned to navigate the new reality of a post-COVID world.

We saw it ourselves, firsthand throughout our own transformation at KPMG. In the past months, we have on-boarded more than 230,000 people to Microsoft Teams—a massive feat that has proved invaluable. In June alone, we hosted more than 20 million Teams calls, including a single day which had over 1.4 million calls take place. KPMG professionals in more than 120 countries are today working seamlessly on our consistent, Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform—unbelievable when you think that only a few, very short years ago, many businesses questioned the actual utility of the cloud.

As KPMG transformed, I saw firsthand how important it is to have human ingenuity and technology march in tandem. Technology must become part of the organization’s mindset, culture and processes. It spans verticals, departments and geographies. Most importantly, people need to be comfortable with the new systems. They need to understand their power to fully achieve their promise. But once it’s embraced across the workforce, it’s incredibly powerful.

Today, against a backdrop of exceptional challenge, the promise of technology has never been greater. Our alliance with Microsoft, along with other technology, data and services providers, has made us stronger and has helped us deliver extraordinary value for our clients that we could not have achieved on our own.

When our new reality finally emerges, it will no doubt be a digital one.