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PwC unleashed: A professional services firm adopts Netflix-like business models

March 12, 2021

TBR Special Report - From PwC Products to Digital on Demand and ProEdge

In a TBR report this time last year – ‘PwC Products: Not your father’s PwC’, TBR reported that PwC Products completely shifted from being an old-school, white-shoe, tax- and audit-focused professional services firm from the previous age of the Big Eight to being a business solutions provider, with those “solutions” including SaaS, managed services and platforms.

A year on and TBR writes about how the firm has taken another large leap forward, adopting elements of business models most notably deployed by Netflix to bring its software and solutions into clients’ environments in a completely new way, while simultaneously reorienting the firm’s professionals around the skills and capabilities needed to serve their clients in a new world.

In this special report, TBR highlights how PwC’s leadership has been responsible for these efforts and how much the firm has changed.  They spoke to several PwC leaders to gain insight into where the future of consulting lies for the firm and its peers.

The report mentions that: ‘Building on PwC Products, perhaps on a timeline accelerated by the remote-working realities of the pandemic, PwC rolled out Digital on Demand and ProEdge in late 2020, bringing to clients two distinct offerings made possible by years of sustained investment in digital capabilities, including software and the firm’s own IP, as well as a leadership commitment to adjusting the firm’s business model to fully accommodate subscription-based pricing and software-centric engagement models. In TBR’s view, the first element — investing in technology — does not differentiate PwC from peers, except perhaps in the firm’s early start in some areas and sustained commitment to an organizing framework. The second element — leadership and adjusting the business model — marks a critical difference for PwC. Even though peers have made some similar changes, PwC has aggressively gone all-in and adopted multiple changes to its business models.’

The Netflix type models which TBR describe PwC has adopted are ‘Digital on Demand’ and ‘ProEdge’.

The report states that, ‘Digital on Demand is PwC’s version of Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store, but with a client experience more akin to Netflix, where every option is available immediately without separate pricing or technical concerns. Similar to how everyone can watch their Netflix shows on their own device, PwC’s Digital on Demand solutions can be downloaded into the client environment, where they can be configured.’

It goes on to say that: ‘An app store for automations does not sound revolutionary or unleash massive potential, but the rest of the picture explains how, as Michelle Wilkes, partner, PwC Labs put it, PwC is “arming our clients to accelerate time to value.”’

With regards to ProEdge, the report says that: ‘After a few years of testing, refining and scaling the firm’s approach to professional digitally focused education, in late 2020 the firm rolled out a commercial offering, ProEdge, to provide an end-to-end professional development platform for its clients. PwC took lessons learned from its own digital learning platforms, certification programs, content platforms and workflow tools to create a single solution, incorporating a learning management system (the underlying infrastructure), a learning experience platform (the UX/CX [user experience/customer experience] components), and curated content.’

The report concludes by saying that: ‘PwC is starting significantly ahead of peers, in TBR’s view, because the firm invested heavily and early, sustained its commitment to evolving its software offerings, and tested everything internally before bringing anything to clients.’

Commenting on the report, Joe Atkinson, Vice Chair, Chief Products and Technology Officer, PwC US said: "At PwC, we are creating world-class solutions to our client's most pressing problems, while at the same time investing in the digital skills of our people to help shape the workforce of the future. We believe the case for investing in workforce upskilling is crystal clear: an end-to-end view of digital upskilling improves individual performance, unlocks future career growth, and helps organizations drive better outcomes. Making the right choices now on their talent helps organizations capture real return from their technology and transformation investments."

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Rob Donnelly

Global Lead, Analyst Relations, New York, PwC United States

+1 (917) 471 3355