05:56 GMT01 August 2021
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    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 (64)

    On the sidelines of Russia's SPIEF in St. Petersburg, Sputnik spoke to the managing partner of Deloitte CIS, Ian Colebourne, about the introduction of digital technologies in consulting firms.

    Ian Colebourne: One of the implications of the fourth industrial revolution is basically that it will change the way that we need to look at talent development and training and what the relationship will be between employers and employees.

    So we are operating in a model where historically people acquired skills which would deliver a job for life and that is no longer going to be the case. So we much more focus on how we create within our team the ability to lead in a highly volatile and unset world in terms of what the implications will be. I think that, for talent as well, we look at the implications of robotics. I think there are anxieties around what that might mean, but what we are seeing, you know, the economists, a piece of research recently showed any of these technological changes create more implement rather than less. Actually, with robotics it’s, in a simple way, it’s taking the robot out of the human.

    So it’s taking away the mundane processing tasks and enabling people to do the more creative, the more human part of work. Those changes are happening and we focus a lot on leadership development within our team, the ability and appetite for continued learning and not in a traditional form. So less around traditional classroom environments, much more around how we can use digital formats, how people can identify within our organization or externally with the partners that we work with, opportunities for specific areas of education, training, so they can think about what might motivate them for the next step. I think this is the volatility point.

    Sputnik: Is there a part of this process which will involve e-learning, for example? How much impact does it have?

    Ian Colebourne: It’s already. We have a full category of e-learning opportunities, it is driven based in terms of our industry expertise and industry impact that we have.

    Deloitte as an organization now has, I think, six university campuses globally, we have our people who join the campus that we have just outside of Brussels and there is part of the traditional format at the Deloitte University, but its supplemented through the e-learning that we offer within the business.

    Sputnik: One more question that will probably be more about the auditing and consulting part of the business. We see new technologies and new things like crowd lending companies working in a totally different way from the normal banks, doing scoring based on social media, something which will probably be popular with the millennial generation. Do you think that it will change the way the banks work? The process which involves more social media, computers, rather than human regulated processes?

    Ian Colebourne: I would say, many of the financial institutions are already embracing a lot of that. For the financial institutions, they want to have better quality decisions around credit and also how they manage risk. So many institutions are already embracing technology in very innovative ways.

    And I think that is a trend which is simply cannot be here and will continue, as I say, as I mentioned earlier. So we have great team around analytics, machine learning and part of what the proposition there is, is how you can use data to some extent exclude human bias. We all have innate human characteristics.

    We have bias and perception which is often not reflected in data. We’ve been working with a number of financial institutions around improving the process through which, for example, in credit, the terms on which credit is offered, the speed with which credit is offered, the risk in terms of the profile of the borrower.

    We have also worked with the institutions on the sales channel and how they are bringing propositions to their clients, improving the client-bank relationship, but also they success with which they’re able to offer and bring new products to their clients. We are able to achieve 200-300 percent improvement on the historic kind of model that they were offering.

    Sputnik: Back to the Saint Petersburg Forum, to this event for many, many years we’ve seen politics changing the way this event works and not many foreigners came here in previous years. Right now we see that the American ambassador is among the participants, we see more Western CEOs and more business leaders. Do you feel these changes? Do you see something changing this year in comparison to previous years?

    Ian Colebourne: I was at the breakfast and the ambassador joined for that session, very pleased to see that here and we ourselves have probably the most senior delegation that we’ve had for many years, our global CEO is joining us, we have our global head of banking and financial services, he’s on panels around blockchain, we have the chief economist from our China firm, he’s with us and was on a panel this morning with Mr. [Anton] Siluanov [Russian Deputy Prime Minister], and from our Russian business we have a number of the industry group leaders and members of my leadership team. It’s terrific.

    It’s an important event for Russian business. And it’s important for us, because it gives us an opportunity to meet with our clients, it gives us an opportunity on the panels that we’re participating in to highlight the ways in which we are changing our own business, but also working with both international and the leading Russian businesses here.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Ian Colebourne and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018 (64)


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