The transformative power of technology

Driverless cars navigating city streets. Drones delivering packages directly to customer doorsteps. Genetically engineered immune cells saving the lives of cancer patients. New industries built on emerging technologies seem to be born virtually overnight, and the transformative opportunities offered by digital technology are limited only by the human imagination. It doesn’t matter if an organization has a commercial or a social mission – or if it’s in a sector typically associated with cutting edge innovation; in today’s economy, every organization must, at some level, be a technology company.

As the pace of innovation continues to increase, the impact of digital technology on business is front and center for us at PwC. Leaders are hard-pressed to make sense of the technologies that have the ability to either disrupt or empower their industries. To stay relevant, companies need a comprehensive business and technology strategy that moves at the speed of the digital age and embraces disruption of traditional models.

In our most recent CEO survey, chief executives picked technology as the number one trend that will transform their businesses over the next five years. To help our clients make the most of these opportunities, PwC analyzed more than 150 technologies and picked eight that truly stand out as transformational, from 3D printing to computer-generated simulations that allow realistic viewer interactions. Forward-looking companies will turn these technologies into a strategic advantage. Focusing on them isn’t just a “nice-to-have” but a “must” for future survival. Through our strategic alliance with GE Digital, for example, we help organizations harness the power of the “Industrial Internet,” which brings together intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and people. Whether engaging at the strategic or operational level, PwC helps organizations create Industrial Internet solutions – based on the intersection of business, technology, and experience – to help drive better business outcomes. At the same time, we’re making sure PwC stays ahead of the curve by using technology in everything we do at our firm.

By 2020, the world will have more than 50 billion connected devices, or more than 6 per person.1

61% of global executives and 78% of US executives are concerned about the speed of technological change in their industries.2

80% of CEOs say that mobile technologies and data analytics are key strands of their strategy.3 Future employees will need to be prepared to respond.

2 Billion people lacked access to financial services in 2014, according to the World Bank.4

Banking on a better world

In many economies, individuals are “unbanked” – meaning that they have no bank account and no ability to participate in formal financial services. This curtails their entrepreneurial options while limiting the capacity of their communities for economic growth. Digital financial services (DFS) have emerged as a powerful tool for improving the lives of the poor by providing them with access to payments, savings, credit, and other financial services electronically, often by cell phone. PwC worked with a $25 billion philanthropic foundation to assist in the development of DFS strategies that can boost financial stability and help some of the world’s poorest people weather economic shocks more effectively. Extensive research by PwC led to what we call the DFS Playbook, a comprehensive collection of information that could help accelerate more widespread adoption of DFS.

Gaming the cyber attackers

Three out of four companies detected a cyber breach in 2014.5 These days, it‘s no longer a question of if a company will face a cyber attack – but when. In response, PwC developed a solution to help companies learn the tricks of attackers and fight back. Game of Threats is an interactive, role-playing game that tests a company’s decision-making skills in a cyber crisis. One team tries to steal a company’s data; the other works to build defenses with only seconds to respond – just like in a real-world cyber attack. The game, and the post-game analysis provided by PwC, allows participants to gain critical insights into cybersecurity trends, defensive strategies, and business impacts of a breach so they can prepare for what seems to be an inevitable assault. On a similar theme, PwC recently provided cybersecurity expertise on a pro bono basis to a leading nonprofit that works with social entrepreneurs, helping it reduce the risk of disruptions and improving the organization’s global communication capabilities.

Making financial literacy more accessible

What happens when you digitize financial curricula for students? You open up a whole new world of teaching resources. The Earn Your Future® (EYF®) Digital Lab, which offers a free suite of online, interactive resources for grades 3–12, enables teachers to use data analytics to better understand each student’s level of mastery – and pivot their lessons in real time to address educational gaps. Made possible by an investment from the PwC Charitable Foundation, the EYF Digital Lab uses custom videos, animations, and interactive activities to build real-world financial literacy skills in areas such as budgeting and managing money.

Read about our other imperatives

Although innovation is at the top of everyone’s agendas, innovating effectively and at scale can prove challenging.

Enormous amounts of data are at organizations’ fingertips. We help clients discover the value of their data and create trust in it.

For PwC, building trust in society and solving important problems is at the heart of who we are.

Cultivating employees with a skillset that is truly adapted to the 21st century is a crucial driver of success.