The digital driving force

Niall Lavery explains what PwC and Google’s Innovation Lab, the Hive, can do for both public and private organisations.

Remember Only Fools and Horses and Trotter’s Independent Trader’s dilapidated yellow Reliant Robin – the one that boasted, “New York – Paris – Peckham?” Totally absurd of course but how about New York – Sydney – Belfast? Actually, that’s not absurd at all; New York and Sydney are home to the first two global PwC and Google Innovation Labs; Belfast is the third and it’s just gone live.

Getting Europe’s first and the world’s third Innovation Lab reflects Google and PwC’s, global alliance, centred mainly on PwC’s depth of client engagement around technology and Google’s breadth of capabilities in using digital to drive change. In addition, putting a PwC and Google Innovation Lab in Belfast is not as odd as it might seem. Northern Ireland is the fastest-growing region of PwC UK thanks to its focus on digital, technology and data analytics where a large proportion of its 1,300 staff are already delivering digital solutions to clients across the globe.

Technology may have transformed workplace tools, but workplace processes have largely failed to keep pace; that means organisations are falling far short of their potential to innovate through real time collaboration across functions, departments and devices. That’s why the PwC and Google Innovation Lab is based in a new 11,000 sq.ft. space called the Hive in PwC’s Waterfront Plaza headquarters; a space where PwC people and Google technology provide clients with an environment where they can maximise the experience and assets from both organisations. These include: 

Helping businesses move to the cloud and optimise for success. As part of this new relationship, PwC will help clients evaluate and plan their move to the cloud, where companies and organisations can benefit from the ability to work better, regardless of location, with Drive for Work and Android.

PwC will also help clients build custom applications and mobile solutions relevant to their industries – improving processes like invoicing and talent management using Google Cloud Platform. Moving to the cloud requires trust in a new way of working and PwC’s deep industry knowledge and strong client relationships will help businesses realise the security benefits, productivity gains and cultural impact made possible through a move to the cloud.

Providing best in class security. Google offers one of the most secure platforms for customer information and PwC can help enhance its security monitoring practice with new solutions for clients built on Google Cloud Platform. By building custom algorithms on Google Cloud Platform, PwC is already identifying security threats, alerting clients of potential attacks, and preventing and mitigating risks.

In today’s business environment, it is vital for companies and government organisations to seize new opportunities to build and design for the cloud and create innovative services and business models that decrease time to market, create operational efficiencies and engage customers in new ways. Our recent study, Unleashing the Power of Innovation found that 74 per cent of CEOs regard innovation as equally important to the success of their company as operational effectiveness. 

Tom Archer, PwC’s Google Strategic Alliance Leader told the Belfast audience at the launch of the Hive that, “our collaboration is about helping clients transform their organisations to thrive and maintain relevance in a rapidly changing world.” What’s particularly interesting about the PwC Google alliance is that the public sector is as enthusiastic as the private sector in embracing change in a world that is changing particularly rapidly for government and local authorities.

As devolution, decentralisation and strategic alliances between local authorities accelerate, the benefits of finding new ways of working become more appealing to public sector leaders as well as their private sector counterparts and the Google PwC alliance, can bring value in the following areas:

Security – Cloud-based cybersecurity as a way to protect data – we believe this new approach will provide the ability for enhanced security protocols, will discourage a vast number of attacks and will reduce the use of ineffective, expensive and burdensome security tool overlays. We hope it will pave the way for a new business model where security strategy drives massive cost savings and agility.

Cloud – Clients are looking for ways to lower costs, increase the speed of innovation and time to market, and improve their agility. The cloud allows them the flexibility and provides cost savings to help them achieve these goals. To help maximize the opportunity the cloud allows, companies should not just move their traditional environments to the cloud, they should also

re-engineer business processes for the cloud with design principles leveraging mobile, analytics and social engagement.

Data analytics – Instead of building massive analytics engines from the ground up, we have the ability for clients to leverage analytics tools along with PwC’s experienced consultants to help them implement the necessary tools for increased business value. 

Right now, PwC’s Hive is open for business, and the PwC Google alliance is attracting attention from public and private sector organisations, not merely in the UK and Ireland but in Europe and even the Middle East, where one major transformation project is already under way. 


Niall Lavery

Digital Leader PwC

Tel: 02890 245 454


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