Name: Jessica Ngui
Role: Director, KPMG Australia
Previous experience: IT professional with a multinational consumer goods company
The work has challenged me and made me think differently. I found I had to reconsider my assumptions constantly.
It was implementing business change initiatives inside her own organization that first drew Jessica Ngui to consulting and KPMG. “I wanted to be involved in more global transformation programs and to understand how they are run in other industries.”
Joining the Australian firm in 2015, Jessica focused on the power and utilities sector and worked closely with the Sydney Water Corporation on several projects. When Sydney Water started looking for a strategic advisor to implement their new customer-centric operating model, Jessica's track record and the success of various team engagements helped to put KPMG in a strong position.
“Sydney Water is roughly 4 years into a transformation program. Instead of being solely a provider of vital services, they are looking to become a more sustainable business that puts customers and community at the heart of everything they do. It's easy to say but not so easy to implement.”
Jessica's role as overall project leader means she shapes, directs and coordinates KPMG's project activity at a high level, looking at the many layers that contribute to success. “I help define different workstreams such as supply chain, design and analytics, drawing in expertise from across the Australian firm.
“It's about more than having access to the different skills, experience and tools available within KPMG,” she says. “It's about drawing them together in a way that resonates with the client on a personal level.” That means engaging with senior client leaders to gain insight, discuss project milestones and present findings.
“What I like about working for KPMG is that when I'm talking to a client, and they need a particular type of expertise, I can confidently say `Yes, we have someone who knows how to do that',” says Jessica. “However, I'm always aware that our expertise is, to some extent, a given. The real reason KPMG were chosen as advisors was because of our culture - the relationships we build and our ability to work collaboratively.” Building a customer-centric operating model, it turns out, requires the KPMG project team to be equally customer-centric in their approach to the client.
“Sydney Water is in the driver's seat. It's our job to understand what they need, and then bring the right skills, experience and tools into play at the right time to align with their strategy. Working closely with the client - whether it's a senior leader or an analyst - helps keep us on our toes. We're frequently gauging our process and learning from it, checking in to understand how we can do things better.”
The project has stretched her professionally, says Jessica. “The work has challenged me and made me think differently. When you are talking about people and culture, solutions are rarely simple. I found I had to reconsider my assumptions constantly.
“I've only been with the Australian firm for a few years but already I've worked on one of their biggest projects. The experience I'd built in utilities meant I understood the client from a strategic perspective, which really helped in delivering the work. It's been exciting to be part of something so transformational, aspirational and bold.”
“One of the best pieces of feedback from the client was when they said we were `the least consultant' team they had ever worked with. It was the moment that I realized they saw us as an extension of their team.”