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The Acceleration Economy — where businesses leverage the power of cloud, AI and human optimization — is driving massive change in every industry. This is born out of the confluence of two events: the pandemic and the increasing adoption of cloud technology. 

The pandemic has shined a light on the need for closely tied technology and actionable metrics in every industry. Modern cloud-based technology is changing the game in terms of speed, ability to innovate and in the ways clients meet their customers where, and how, they want to engage. We see it every day when we speak to businesses — CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and other leaders — who increasingly demand that consultants come to them with human-led, tech-enabled solutions to help them separate themselves from the competition in increasingly competitive environments. 

This new reality has created the expectation that consultants become partners in not only identifying, but also in helping to solve an organization’s most pressing problems and, most importantly, building trust and delivering sustained outcomes. For example, in retail, businesses that are looking to capitalize on loyalty following the pandemic are met with heightened digital expectations and need partners that both understand the business but also have the capabilities to build what will achieve their goals. 

As a leader in digital consulting, I feel a calling to bring more than experience and technology to engagements, and instead, address the underlying business challenge and operating model opportunity. In the march to becoming a true digital business partner, focusing on adding significant technical and engineering talent to a Cloud & Digital team against the backdrop of existing industry and business model strength, is key.


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Over the last 18 months, as part of this business strategy, The New Equation, my team has made multiple acquisitions in the cloud space (Notably EagleDream and ACTS) that have added top industry talent to our existing stack of engineers and professionals. Our most recent acquisition is Netrovert’s cloud business, a team of enterprise integration, AI and automation specialists who use MuleSoft (an integration cloud owned by Salesforce) and other integration platforms to enable holistic, intelligent and secure multi-cloud solutions. This enables us to build and connect solutions in this new cloud-first world where digital integration is the core consulting capability to wire it all together.

To be a digital business partner — and not just a digital consultant — is to support changing business models by providing insights about the business using data to help create ambitious solutions. Recent Cloud Business research identified a major value gap in how businesses use the cloud with 92% of executives saying they were “all-in” on cloud, but only just over half (53%) saying they had realized substantial value. An engagement that simply migrates a business to the cloud without the broader perspective about a changing business model will simply not address the opportunity and promise that the Acceleration Economy provides.

Being a true digital business partner is all about helping clients create a seamless flow of data and protect that data across their entire cloud ecosystem — helping them enable their digital business models, unlock value and build trust. At its core is the critical notion of a frictionless enterprise and a composable stack of technologies, all in the service of enabling the reinvention of a business model and staying nimble for the future. A future that is cloud-first. For example, because of our recent partnerships, at a large healthcare company in the Midwest we were able to modernize existing architecture, and more importantly, help provide the digital building blocks (APIs) that they can use not only to run more efficiently and securely but to enable future growth with flexibility to adapt to the market using the composable APIs.

Professional service firms as digital business partners working to help clients build trust and deliver sustained outcomes is the new frontier and clients should expect nothing less.

Jenny Koehler is the strategic growth & business development leader at PwC.


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