KPMG and Microsoft are to expand their existing strategic relationship by collaborating on new scalable solutions and services in three key areas. According to the press release these are:
- Data and Analytics: Clients will derive increased performance and productivity with a new, integrated data and analytics platform and Microsoft’s data solutions within the cloud, and in their existing environment using tools from Microsoft Office over Power BI, to machine learning and predictive analytics
- Cloud Compliance and Transformation: Clients will benefit from new cloud compliance and cloud transformation offerings. Microsoft will provide hyper-scale, enterprise-grade and hybrid cloud technologies. KPMG will work with clients to help ensure compliance requirements, supply expert know-how and change management expertise. Building on decades of experience with technology disruption and transformation, KPMG and Microsoft will help clients make the journey to the cloud safer and more secure.
- Business Solutions: KPMG will use Microsoft’s Dynamics Enterprise Resource Planning and CRM Solutions to further its technology-enabled transformation and customer and growth engines. KPMG will focus on developing industry-specific solutions and services to serve the needs of companies in key industries.
What is interesting about this announcement is that the three focus areas are very much in line with KPMG's 2014 report on Elevating Business in the Cloud. That report highlighted how companies were using cloud in 2014 and looked at the next steps required for companies to achieve the potential of cloud computing.
Among the key successes from that report were:
- 49 per cent drive cost efficiencies
- 42 per cent better enable mobile workforce
- 37 per cent improve alignments with customers/partners
- 35 per cent better leverage data to provide insight
Each of these can be seen in the three areas that KPMG and Microsoft intend to collaborate in above.
While the new data and analytics platform is based on Microsoft's tools, KPMG customers will want to know who is developing the new platform and how it will be delivered. For example, Microsoft has already invested significantly in this area with Stream Analytics and Power BI. The announcement of the latter in January saw Microsoft slash the cost of its other BI services.
According to the press release it appears that KPMG will be focusing on helping customers understand how to use and understand the results of the analytics.
Christian Rast, KPMG's Global Head of Data & Analytics said: “We are investing heavily as a global leader in Data and Analytics, helping customers use the power of D&A to make better business decisions that drive real competitive advantage. Jointly, we will help clients turn data into insights into value.”
Last year Microsoft and Salesforce announced that they would look at closer integration leading some to question the long-term commitment to Dynamics. Since then, Microsoft has reinvested in the product and signed a number of large deals around the product and seems more focused than ever on tackling not just Salesforce but the emerging born on the cloud ERP vendors such as Infor and NetSuite.
Bryan Cruickshank, KPMG's Global Head of IT Advisory commented: “This collaboration will allow us to develop a new generation of business solutions, underpinned by Microsoft’s Dynamics technology.
"In conjunction with Microsoft, our clients now have a global partner they can trust to help them solve their key challenges such as improvements to productivity, customer engagement and competitiveness. The recent acquisition of Crimsonwing is further evidence of KPMG’s commitment to invest to be a leading global provider.”
Perhaps the most important piece here for many customers is getting to grips with compliance and security. Both of these were seen as significant challenges in last years report. With the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due soon with its draconian penalties for data breaches, this is an area where companies are struggling.
However, given Microsoft's ongoing problems with the US over European-based data and the current focus on data sovereignty, quite how this will play out for European customers needs more clarity.