KPMG Australia has launched the first live offerings from its new digital services platform, marking the firm’s entry to the professional services software market.
Built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, the software business aims to take IP from KPMG service offerings, combining these on a single platform with cognitive, big-data and cloud technology.
Leveraging the firm’s global alliance with Microsoft, the company also released KPMG R&D Edge, a research and development tax management solution, alongside KPMG ESS Reporter, a tool which streamlines how international companies manage employee share schemes in Australia.
With both already being using by over 100 customers across the country, the move essentially heralds a shift in focus around how innovation is disrupting one of the world’s largest consulting practices from within.
“Critically, each product we design and build locally will soon be available to clients around the world who have, or do business in Australia,” KPMG CEO, Gary Wingrove, said.
“They will be delivered via a new global platform - rather like an app store - known as KPMG Spectrum.
“Under this global initiative, software is developed by KPMG member firms around the world using a shared cloud-based platform, and leveraging the firm’s global alliance with Microsoft.”
KPMG signed a strategy agreement with Redmond in March 2015, built around the need to deliver a new generation of data and analytics, cloud and business solutions.
Following the launch of a digital shopfront last year - KPMG Marketplace - former KPMG CIO, Anthony Stevens, has been appointed to build a new-look digital services team for the firm in Australia.
“The remit of KPMG Digital Services is to work internally within all parts of our business to accelerate our own pace of digitisation and enable us to face directly into today’s technology and disruption challenges,” Wingrove explained.
“Digital Services is working with each division to accelerate the digitisation of existing services and identify new digital service offerings.”
Currently, Stevens has grown the team to more than 50 designers, project managers and technology architects nationwide.
“By developing our own software to complement our traditional face-to-face capabilities, we are ensuring our clients can engage with us ‘faster, cheaper and more effectively’,” Stevens added.
“R&D Edge and ESS have already demonstrated that digital solutions provide incremental value to our clients - insights that people alone can’t provide.
“And they are just the start, with six additional Australian-developed software solutions expected to be released in the next 12 months.”
Stevens said that KPMG’s Digital Services team’s focus is complementary to the firm’s client digital transformation efforts, being driven by its fast-growing management consulting business.
Last year, revenues of KPMG’s Management Consulting business increased 33 per cent, with growth in its specialist Technology Advisory practice up by 56 per cent on the previous year.
“My team has been in place for between six to nine months and we’ve been working with a number of service line leaders across the firm, as well as customers, to understand two primary objectives,” Stevens told ARN.
“Firstly, to develop software that either fundamentally changes the way the service we offer is delivered, and in many cases that means moving away from traditional mechanisms such as spreadsheets, powerpoint slides, emails and a constant back and forth with customers.
“Instead it will be based around web-based technologies that will provide a very standardised outcome for clients which reflects a need for a more streamlined service offering.
“Secondly, we’re taking the IP that we have across the firm and taking brand new service offerings to the market. This includes technologies such as machine learning, big data and analytics and cognitive, which help provide a deeper level of insights for our clients.”