It encompasses a broad range of services from all things related to Human Capital, Operations, Market Functions and under the umbrella of Territory, the services of Data Protection Office (DPO), General Secretary and Office of General Counsel (OGC).
The challenge for this large team, traditionally at odds with the business, or revenue generating, teams, is to increasingly be a proactive solution driven and cost competitive business partner, that can deliver at market standard.
PwC Luxembourg started last year with an important transformation plan, with a main objective to align our operations with the firm's strategy and to become a real sparring partner for our business lines of service. As the year progressed, we passed through some challenges, especially COVID-19, but the crisis accelerated some of our actions and demonstrated that we are on the right path.
We continue to implement major modern IT systems such as Salesforce to support our business development activities. We also continue to migrate some of our applications to the cloud to ensure we have more agility in what we do and to benefit from the most advanced technology. The rethinking of tools or infrastructures goes hand in hand with the digitalisation of a lot of processes that require deep change management to ensure the success of this transformation.
Mobility has always been a big issue we’ve been working on to help our employees efficiently use all the mobility solutions we and the government propose. It is true that the COVID-19 crisis has reduced the number of problems linked to mobility, as working from home became the “new normal”. But we never stopped working on mobility solutions and kept planning for the future. For instance, this year 2020 was also the opportunity to continue to develop our network of satellite offices with a fourth site open in Belval to accommodate some sixty employees.
Of course, as we all know by now, then came the COVID-19 crisis. In, times like those, the resilience of a company depends on the strengths of its support teams. And our Internal Firms Services were absolutely there when needed.
Our Internal Firm Services were indeed largely involved in ensuring the continuity of the firm's activities throughout the COVID crisis by managing the continuity plan, providing reliable IT services, and organising the progressive return of our employees post-COVID within the buildings from 11 May 2020 in a safe environment.
In many ways, our firm was prepared by already having a good technology base and a culture of remote working, if only one or two days a week or with only some of our People using that option, But because of our preparedness, our Firm has not stopped working for a single day throughout this entire period.
Largely supported by reliable technological, and 100% mobile, IT equipment, all employees were able to switch to a full home base working mode as of 16 March, 2020. This unprecedented crisis highlighted the high level of resilience of our IT from the very first days of containment. We had to adapt our connexion capacities to a higher volume of data and this was made possible thanks to the rapid mobilisation of our IT workforce.
The communication and logistics teams were also called upon to stay connected and inform the teams as well as possible and ensure their safety and well-being in this new working mode. Daily information was sent to people so that they knew at all times what actions the management was deciding upon, and importantly, that the Firm was supporting them. Here again, it was the result of the engagement of the teams on the ground.
They then prepared the return to the office thanks to a deconfinement plan which was the first to be audited and validated by the ASTF (The Occupational Health Association for the Tertiary and Financial Sector). The firm's employees were thus able to resume their work in our buildings in a secured manner.
The fear of COVID-19 in public transport will have a lasting and even more negative impact on mobility, so it is important for us to continue to offer alternatives by strengthening the opportunities for remote working, at home or in our network of satellite offices, which will continue to grow.
No one can be absolutely certain what the shape of the “new normal” up ahead will be, with all its challenges but also opportunities. But one thing is certain, our IFS teams will continue to build up the future of their heart, and their hands.