Leading advisory firm Grant Thornton has expanded with the addition of a new Digital Transformation service aimed at helping businesses grow by harnessing technological solutions.

Headed by newly appointed Technology Partner Trevor Dunne, the practice will work across Grant Thornton’s growing client base identifying opportunities to develop digital strategies and operating models and to successfully implement game-changing technology.

Trevor said:

“There has never been a wider acceptance of the role that technology and data can play in driving any business forward. The recent and ongoing pandemic has taught us that it has never been more important to get it right: your customers’ and your employees’ expectations have all changed – and now most of them are remote! Your market is truly global, and the opportunity for an agile business is huge. But make no mistake, your future competitors are all digital.

“Of course, Technology has always advancing at pace, but the rate of change has increased dramatically – there has been a real step change in the breadth and capability of technology available to even small business within the last two to three years.

“When we talk about technology that can quickly effect real change in businesses, we’re thinking of course about robotics, and artificial intelligence, but also ‘augmented analytics’ platforms, and low-code apps amongst a myriad of other solutions. This is a great opportunity but for many it seems like a daunting threat. It needn’t be.

“A lot can be achieved by just making better use of vast amounts of data companies are already accumulating without even realising it. For example, working with a local FMCG and retail company, our team was able to harness the data they had already accumulated to build a model which, for the first time, properly explained to them what was really driving their own sales performance.

“We then used predictive analytics and AI to explain how affecting these drivers would maximise performance. These techniques optimised sales and predicted outcomes with impressive levels accuracy. Top line impacts such as these means that these technologies come with an impressive return on investment. Whilst some of the largest organisations are doing this – although not always well – most businesses are still not availing of the opportunity.

“‘Quick wins’ are great and show what’s possible, but the key learning in our experience is that you can’t address this change with an ad-hoc approach that adds ‘an app here or a robot there’. That makes everyone feel good for a while, but I’ve never seen it achieve anything long lasting.

“Businesses need an approach that focuses on outcomes, embraces digital markets and digital operations, and brings the right technology at the right time, while developing out the ongoing capability and culture of the business. That’s how real digital transformation happens.”

The new practice will integrate with Grant Thornton’s existing service lines including Advisory, Audit and Tax.

Richard Gillan, Managing Partner, Grant Thornton Northern Ireland said:

“We are delighted that Trevor has joined us to head our Digital Transformation offering. He comes with a first-class reputation for guiding organisations through the implementation of technology-enabled transformation solutions for their business.

“The announcement comes on the back of a period of sustained growth for Grant Thornton in Northern Ireland with revenues increasing fourfold over the past five years as demand has increased across all service lines.”