PwC will invest more than Rs 1,600 crore and hire over 10,000 professionals in its India practice over the next five years to implement a new growth strategy.
“There are so many growth themes going on simultaneously in India that we have decided to double down on our India practice investments,” said Krishan.
The ground-up strategy was formulated after 4-5 months of intense discussions in which feedback from clients and experts was also sought.
The firm felt that its strategy needed a refresh to help deal with the emerging business landscape and cater to the fast changing client needs and priorities.
“We are calling the strategy ‘The New Equation’ as it addresses what the firm’s clients expect from the firm—build trust and deliver sustained outcomes,” said Krishan.
Trust businesses in the firm include assurance, some parts of tax and a bit of regulatory oversight business, while transactions, consulting and technology are the outcome based service lines.
He said by the end of 2027, PwC aims to have over 25,000 people in its India practice serving clients. This workforce is exclusive of the headcount at backend centres.
Krishan added that while the PwC’s brand was built on trust businesses, the outcome businesses would outgrow it in the next few years in revenue terms.
PwC India’s partnership will fund the entire investment by reinvesting some of its profits each year.
“We are a fairly young partnership and the young partners are of the view that we will get challenged in the marketplace soon if we don’t invest aggressively in our businesses,” said Krishan.
The firm’s new go-to-market strategy will rest on four platforms—ESG, deals, risk and regulatory and transformation.
PwC is also setting up a PwC Research Institute to enable the platforms and help the service line leaders with fresh ideas and inject new innovations while delivering client solutions.
“The idea is to have a composite view of a customer and offer him a cutting edge solution that has various services embedded in it,” said Krishan.
To drive the strategy, the firm is also making some changes in roles and responsibilities of its service line leadership.
The leaders of its go-long sectors— consulting, deals, digital, cloud, cyber, analytics and emerging technologies—will be a part of its ‘markets’ team and won’t have any service line responsibilities. They will specifically focus on developing cross-competency solutions for the clients.
Also, the accountability and investments in the platforms will be centrally driven so that it doesn’t affect P&Ls of inpidual service lines.
Given that transitioning to a new strategy takes time, the firm is looking at one plus five year timeframe for full rollout and implementation.
“We will put all the enablers in the next 6-7 months, and by FY 2022, we should be ready for a full rollout. I am hoping to get all preparations done by Dec 2021 and then test out the new mechanisms for the next three months. By April 2022, we should be on,” said Krishan.
Experts say that the biggest problem with Big Four strategy exercises is that after a while they all end up mirroring each other due to competitive pressures in the marketplace.
So how will Krishan make sure that PwC stays the course?
“We are publicly committing to it, something that no competitor has done. We also believe we have an edge in technology over others and even the market acknowledges that. We will use that strength in technology in creating solutions that are best of breed—and help our clients win,” said Krishan.