Emerging & disruptive technology risk

Accelerate innovation and maintain control

The Emerging Technologies

Organisations are leveraging emerging technologies to drive improved business performance and in certain cases disrupt entire industries. In this race businesses expose their organisation to new risks, requiring them to rethink their strategy, governance and architecture. At PwC we provide specialist advice, insight and assurance to help your organisation accelerate innovation and maintain control when enabled by emerging technology.

Many organisations are exploring the use of disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, and Drones. In order to adopt and scale, each of these technologies present a unique set of challenges for the enterprise to consider.


View our Disruption video

2020 Outlook star wheel: Artiicial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation, Drones.

How we can help

We help you assure:

  • The adoption of emerging technologies most suited to your organisation matched to your risk profile and appetite
  • Your organisation’s maturity and readiness to deploy emerging technologies
  • Unlocking of your organisation’s technological potential in a responsible and risk-controlled manner with right governance mechanisms in place

Artificial Intelligence

PwC analysis has shown that global GDP will be up to 14% higher in 2030 as a result of the accelerating development and take-up of AI – the equivalent of an additional $15.7 trillion. PwC helps clients to responsibly unleash the potential of AI, whilst building trust and confidence with stakeholders.


Responsible AI

Organisations have a tremendous opportunity to leverage Artificial Intelligence for good, and in doing so must not only consider where AI could be used, but more specifically where AI should be used. PwC’s approach to this, Responsible AI, provides organisations with confidence over their approach to adopting AI by confirming that appropriate levels of governance and control are in place. This includes devising the right strategy up front, acquiring data, embedding transparency into model design, embedding organisational change management, and building assurance into the operating model.

View our Responsible AI video

Read more about Responsible AI

Explainable AI

When it comes to business critical decisions, organisations want to be confident that the decisions made by artificial intelligence conform to regulations and incorporate ethical norms and established rules. Many stakeholders feel uncomfortable leaving such critical decisions to technology and can be reluctant to advocate its use in business. PwC helps organisations to produce Explainable AI, focusing on the criticality of a specific use case and matching that with the level of interpretability needed to understand both how and why a prediction was made. Opening up this black box helps organisations and stakeholders to be more confident in adopting and operating Artificial Intelligence.

Read more about Explainable AI 


What should organisations be asking themselves?

  • Does your governance enable you to accelerate innovation whilst maintaining control?
  • Are you able to build trust and confidence with the stakeholders impacted by your AI solutions?
  • Do you know whether your AI is continuously operating within acceptable risk thresholds?

Robotic Process Automation

Many organisations seek to gain efficiencies from robotic process automation and intelligent process automation. The relative low cost of entry to adopt the technology has led to a dramatic uptake; however, many organisations struggle to deliver automation at an enterprise scale. PwC helps organisations to set themselves up for success and proactively manage the risks of automation delivery and operation.

View our Robotic Process Automation video


Automation Now

Automation alone does not save money or improve performance - people and processes also have to change. PwC’s Automation Now enables organisations to be confident in delivering their automation strategy. Focusing on the five key pillars to delivering automation success, PwC can help organisations to minimise risk throughout the automation lifecycle and to be set up to deliver value from automation on an enterprise scale.

PwC helps organisations to: identify and prioritise automation opportunities; establish an effective operating model for delivering automation on an enterprise scale; design and embed a robust governance framework to give the business confidence and control; source and select suitable product vendors and service providers to support centres of excellence; and to measure the business value being derived from automation initiatives.


Automated Assurance

PwC helps organisations to reimagine their assurance functions enabled by the latest intelligent automation technologies. Allowing Risk, Compliance and Internal Audit functions transform their ways of working and enhance their value as a business partner. 

By working collaboratively with your teams, PwC can help to explore opportunities to streamline your internal processes - such as controls testing, risk assessment analysis, data aggregation and reporting - and help to implement changes around people, processes and technology which enable your teams to focus on more value-add activities within the organisation.


What should organisations be asking themselves?

  • Are you able to operate effectively and realise value at scale?
  • Do you have sufficient controls for managing the risks of automation?
  • Are your assurance functions spending too much time on manual activities?

Further reading


Taking any new product from the lab to production is a challenge. Arguably, Distributed Ledger-based products present a higher barrier given its recent emergence and transformational implications for businesses. As organisations move beyond the proof of concept phase towards live systems, they require a structured framework for ensuring their ability to address requirements surrounding security, regulatory compliance, change management, scalability, integration with current systems and more.

View our Blockchain video


Blockchain 'Go Live' readiness assessment

As you move beyond the proof of concept phase towards production you require a structured framework for ensuring that your blockchain technology implementations are robust and resilient.

The cyber security, IT, data and resilience threats facing any blockchain implementation need to be fully understood and associated risks mapped out before implementation in a pre-production or production environment. Blockchain technology brings with it some very specific risks; while the protocol may itself be secure, the integration points, human interfaces and network design may expose vulnerabilities. Our team knows the technology and how to assess it and can perform custom assessments based on the implementation use case and the technologies used.


Blockchain IT Risk and Resilience Controls

A dedicated team of SMEs within PwC’s IT Risk & Resilience practice have developed a specialised Risk and Controls framework for the development, testing, and deployment of blockchain-based applications. We leverage industry standards and our technical knowledge of distributed systems, governance models and cryptography to aid in assessing risk throughout the software development lifecycle and provide assurance at the software and infrastructure design, data security and governance ecosystem levels. Is your blockchain solution secure and resilient?


What should organisations be asking themselves?

  • Does your existing infrastructure and processes support distributed ledger architecture?
  • What change management procedures need to be implemented to ensure systems continue to meet business objectives and requirements?
  • How will you comply with existing data privacy and AML regulations across jurisdictions, including GDPR provisions such as ‘right to be forgotten’?


Blockchain is here. What's your next move?

  • A recent PwC survey found that 84% of executives are building Blockchain offerings within their companies. Our latest report uncovers how big businesses are building trust in Blockchain. 
  • Blockchain's biggest blocker for business adoption is, trust, and regulatory uncertainty, a report from PwC has uncovered. In this environment it is imperative for companies to implement a robust approach to risk assurance as they build and deploy blockchain-based systems.


PwC works closely with organisations to bring together business, technological and human capabilities, turning disruptive technologies into strategic and commercial assets. Drones are a crucial part of this picture as they offer a unique lens on the world below. Gathering data quickly from hard to reach places with pinpoint accuracy, they can create a 'golden record' in real time to make a crucial difference in managing costs, controlling risks, increasing safety and influencing outcomes. 

It can be daunting to implement drone technology and there are a number of risks associated with their use. Through our Assurance services we aim to create trust in the use of drones and the data they collect. Whether you are already using drones or if you have business need for a new drone strategy, our team of drone and assurance experts will support you through the drone assessment, planning and implementation stages. We will develop your governance framework to enable a systematic and low risk approach to making drone digital transformation work for your business.

View our Drones video


Drone Assurance

Drones are increasingly being used by enterprises that may not have an aviation background. This increased the potential for drone operations to expose enterprises to significant risk.

PwC can assess drone management systems to determine whether they are:

  • Fit for purpose
  • Operating safely and legally
  • Producing accurate and meaningful data
  • Aligned with corporate objectives
  • Integrated with existing processes, controls and governance

This insight enables PwC to suggest improvements to the process of converting drone data into actionable management information, and optimising integration with existing systems.


Drone Enabled Assurance

Drone technology can be used as a key control to obtain assurance over business performance and operations. Data can be used to verify outputs against previously reported results or assess progress against expected results. 

PwC can support your journey to embed drones as a key control in your existing governance framework, giving you near-real time, rich data to support your key decisions and help manage your risks.

We can provide Commercial Assurance over the progress of a construction project. Data captured by a drone can produce a 3D georeferenced model of the project at a specific point in time. This ‘as is’ model can be integrated with existing CAD and BIM designs to give a rich snapshot of progress against plan, allowing for faster decision making.

Drones can also be a real asset when managing your supply chain and contractors as the data provides a ‘single source of truth’. It is a transparent way of sharing project progress and the quality of work performed, and therefore can be invaluable to avoid any claims disputes or future litigation.


What should organisations be asking themselves?

  • How can drones be used to support your business goals? 
  • Do you have the appropriate controls and governance in place to both manage the risks and maximise the benefits of drone technology? 
  • Do you have trust and confidence in your drone hardware, software and operations?

Further Reading

Contact us

Chris Oxborough

Chris Oxborough

Lead for Responsible AI, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7711 473199

Follow us