Collaboration is the key to bridging the capability gap

The managed services approach to address evolving skills and tech needs

Adaptable, scalable and agile, managed services could prove to be the winning factor for how business leaders address existing gaps with skills or technology without compromising the need to transform and invest in future strategic needs.

Culture, capability and the transformation imperative

The past few years have tested their mettle, but the 26th annual CEO Survey reveals business leaders are doubling down on investing in talent (48%) and technology (86%). But the pace at which an organisation can onboard talent or implement technology seems to continue to lag behind evolving market needs. Are business leaders condemned to an eternal game of catch up when it comes to closing that capability gap?

Not necessarily.

Increasingly businesses are aware they don’t have to go it alone. 41% of UK CEOs are increasing investment in external partners as the key to better and swifter access to tech capabilities and the skill sets needed to get full value from them. Enter a new take on the managed services approach - the digital business partner.

“The conversation around capability is shifting to be broader and more ambitious. There’s a growing sense that ‘technology capability’ is better defined as the effective combination of people plus technology plus data.”

David Allen, Consulting Partner, PwC UK

Tech capabilities need the human element

The ability to remain agile in the face of cost pressures and a disrupted market environment will hinge on an organisation’s tech capabilities. But whether improved efficiency, resilience, net zero or empowering employees, simply buying tools isn’t enough. To convert ambition into outcomes that deliver recognised value for the business is where external partnerships - and a managed service approach - come in.

The complexity and interconnected nature of challenges facing business is driving the need to see results from technology quickly. And especially with today’s cost pressures business leaders are increasingly aware that the answer cant simply be expensive tech implementation after implementation in the hope that one may yield its full potential. The resulting patchwork of infrastructure compounds many of the efficiency issues around operations, process and ease of carrying data across platforms to properly deliver transparency in reporting, forecasting or strategic decision-making. As a result, there’s shifting awareness that the value is not to be purely found in the advisory, but in how it works on the ground.

“Future competitive advantage won’t come from simply having the technology platform/tools for your sector, but how you and your people use them. So you need to link to partners who understand the specific tech tools or solutions that exist in your sector and how they can be harnessed to drive competitive advantage and growth. It’s not about being ‘really good at tech’ it’s about being ‘really good at how to use tech within a process to create value specific to a client’.”

David Allen, Consulting Partner, PwC UK

Quietly clever and cost effective

When you understand how the technology works to create the results - and what is needed on the side of an organisation from how they work and the data they feed in or take out of it - then you can ensure it’s supported with the right culture, training and processes. It might be clever use of automation and bots on helplines to deliver incremental time savings around admin that can scale up to wholescale efficiency savings, but also provide a more seamless customer experience. Or it could be using the combination of data and digital tools to help transition a number of local internal audit teams to a managed service provider to drive consistency in approach that will power better insight around trends for the board alongside cost and logistic improvements.

Whatever the scale of the change, it’s going to impact people and how they perform their roles. So by factoring that into the process, with a focus on bringing in the right attitude and mindset, you help ensure the technology is an accelerator and not an additional source of administrative complication.

That mindset and culture piece plays a key piece as the specific skills and tech capabilities continue to evolve. The pace of change experienced recently - from the need to move to hybrid and digital working or customer models to the future challenges around supply chain, metaverse and more - has brought into sharp focus how agility is supported with the right attitude. And maintaining commercial advantage will mean organisations now need to get very comfortable with evolving rapidly to stay relevant to these changing client, market and customer needs. After all, there’s no point in being really good at that thing everyone needed last year.

But for those who get this balance right - who see beyond the initial glitz of technology through to how it can deliver as a functional, core part of the business - there is a chance to truly deliver on that promise. And keep delivering.

Contact us

David Allen

David Allen

Partner, Global EMS Market Activation Lead for Managed Services, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7843 334629

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