People sitting at social distance in office wearing masks

  • Jens Rassloff, Leadership |

Over the centuries, technological innovations have brought many benefits, including helping people live longer, increasing access to information across socioeconomic boundaries and helping to better connect people and communities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of all aspects of our lives. It became apparent early on that we would not be able to meet the changing needs of businesses, employees, customers, and society more widely without using technology in some form.

Last April, I wrote about how KPMG professionals were working with our ecosystem of alliances to support communities and businesses as COVID-19 began to take hold across the globe.

This work continues, and with different challenges still to come I remain inspired by the work KPMG firms are doing in collaboration with our alliances, clients and communities to help them use technology in new and different ways. 

For example, colleagues from KPMG in Canada helped the Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS) ensure students who have breakfast provided by their school every day would continue to receive this critical lifeline, even while schools are closed due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols. Using the KPMG Connected Enterprise framework, we were able to move the initial trial to an agile Microsoft Power Platform, providing the ability to scale more quickly. From spring to summer 2020, the TFSS provided over 3 million breakfasts to children in over 600 schools and distributed over CAN$5.7M in grocery cards to 60,000 local families.

Also using the Microsoft Power Platform, KPMG in the US assisted The State of Georgia and GrantCare with the launch of a new grant management system to help manage the funding received as part of the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. Using a single platform, the team was able to develop a nimble and scalable solution to help the Office for Planning and Budget get aid to those in need more quickly while also increasing transparency and visibility on spending across the multiple agencies involved.

Like many organizations, higher education institutions are grappling with a multitude of challenges. With so much uncertainty across many different areas, making the right decisions can be difficult, particularly when the variables have the potential to change almost daily. Data can help to bring clarity. KPMG in the US, together with educational administrators and IBM Watson Health technology, is working to help universities and colleges make those critical decisions with increased speed and greater agility, whether it be tracing exposures to COVID-19 on campus, managing care for staff and students, or deciding when to re-open facilities.

Together with ServiceNow, KPMG in the US helped Uber reopen its offices after, like many, it was forced to close early in 2020. Uber needed to quickly formulate a plan to help employees safely return to work. US firm professionals designed and developed a technology-based platform that kept the health and safety of Uber’s workforce top of mind, yet had the flexibility and scalability required to match the speed and agility of the organization. By leveraging the platform, Uber was able to re-open executive offices and greenlight hubs around the globe – with the first office opening within 10 days of starting the project.

With these great stories in mind, I remain optimistic for the year ahead. Working together with our alliances, KPMG firms will continue to bring together the skills, technology and knowledge needed to help clients, communities and people adapt and succeed.

Learn more about KPMG Alliances.