Philippe Trouchaud (PwC): “Without use cases, technology is worth nothing”

A few days ago, PwC France and Maghreb opened the Tech Lab, an immersive and experiential space to allow its clients and employees to appropriate the most advanced technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain , NFTs, Web3, virtual reality or even the metaverse.

Beyond seizing their potential, it is above all an opportunity for PwC to defuse some fears while “employees feel threatened by new technologies”, notes Philippe Trouchaud, Chief Technology & Products Officer of PwC France and Maghreb. In this context, the Tech Lab of the British consultancy and audit specialist, which has 6,400 employees in France, aims to break down the barriers to the adoption of innovative technologies in companies around concrete use cases.

On the occasion of this inauguration, Digital discussed with Philippe Trouchaud the technological trends that will shape the company of tomorrow.

DIGITAL – After an Experience Center in 2019 near Saint-Lazare station, you are opening a Tech Lab on your premises in Neuilly-sur-Seine to better address the technological issues of your customers. What needs does this new experimental laboratory meet?

PHILIPPE TROUCHAUD – Given our customers’ appetite for technology, we need to offer an experience that is demonstrable. The idea is to be able to show use cases and have conversations. In the technological world, you can no longer be satisfied with a PowerPoint to explain your vision of things. It takes a certain humility, because in the case of the metaverse, for example, we can see that the technology is not yet completely mature. It is therefore necessary to be able to identify the limits of this type of technology.

Without use cases, the technology is worth nothing. It’s what we do with it that creates value or not. The major challenge is also to acculturate all our employees and manage their fears of technology. As a reminder, 40% of employees believe that their work will disappear because of technology. They must be supported in appropriating technology for the transformation of their profession. We cannot afford to leave 40% of a population on the side of the road because it has not been trained. The challenge is therefore to show cases of using the technology to our customers and to increase the skills of our employees.

Sometimes, isn’t it difficult to calm the euphoria of certain business leaders, who are very enthusiastic about emerging technologies in the Web3 and the metaverse, which have not necessarily reached a very advanced stage yet?

On the particular case of the metaverse, if you take a marketing manager, when you dive into certain experiences of the metaverse, he will have clicks, he will project what he could do for his customers. When you see some virtual stores in the metaverse, they are not perfect, but we can see that it will still fundamentally change the customer experience compared to Web 2.0, with efficiency gains as a result.

However, there are limits and you have to be aware of them. The greats of tech are in a marketing logic, they harp on. The metaverse is not a market of need, you have to create the need. After a while, there is a principle of reality: we are not going to live in the metaverse. You have to look at what technology can do today and identify its limits.

Among the technologies that are on the rise with companies, which one has the most potential in your view? The one that will really upset the professional world?

The most immediate is artificial intelligence (AI). We will find it in all sectors of activity. It’s a technology that’s increasingly convenient and costs a lot less than it did a few years ago. Moreover, it is easily accessible. You don’t need an army of developers to run an AI engine. In industry in particular, we will find a lot of AI.

The second technology that will change things is the metaverse, particularly for the customer experience, the employee experience, the maintenance processes… But for the moment, we still have problems with computing power and capacity. network. There are still experiments in the metaverse where the server is put on your back with a backpack frame. But the computing power will increase, we will have 5G networks, the technology will be miniaturized… Today, the experience is still painful. You’re not going to keep the helmet on for two hours.

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Philippe Trouchaud (PwC): “Without use cases, technology is worth nothing”

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