Business transformation has become standard practice in today’s digital world. Where once business operations might have prioritised creating a high-quality in-person experience, now customers expect and look for the same digitally. Meanwhile – hastened by companies compelled to shift their internal operations online at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic – the digital workplace has moved from optional to essential.

From internal applications to client-facing websites, businesses are transforming their operations to make use of digital platforms, while automating processes. Increasingly, organisations face the mammoth task of launching and executing projects in parallel, to translate face-to-face and manual processes into an elevated online experience. At the same time, businesses aim to provide a smooth, uninterrupted, fast and efficient service to their evermore busy and discerning clients, to maintain a competitive edge.

For any organisation, rising to the challenge of managing this plethora of projects and delivering them to their full potential is a huge ask – particularly if it lacks the in-house expertise to see them through. Essential to set the right direction and meets business objectives, effective project management depends upon leadership and direction, while managing stakeholders to ensure delivery within the desired timelines. Larger and more complex projects may even require managers with specific skills, to minimise potential risks to the organisation and increase the probability of the project’s successful, timely and exceptional completion.

Aaron Calafato

“Effective project management allows a business to have visibility and control over the project’s trajectory – and keeps the customer’s needs at its core,” explains Aaron Calafato, Senior Project Manager, Digital Solutions at KPMG Malta. Mr Calafato has leveraged his problem-solving and data analytical skills, garnered over more than 11 years in the ICT industry, to lead many complex projects to success. “At KPMG, we support our clients in the management of costs, timeframes, quality, scope, benefits and risk aspects throughout the course of the project, using the appropriate tools and approaches.”

The KPMG Digital Solutions team is a recent addition to the KPMG brand, which provides audit, tax and advisory services in close collaboration with clients, helping them to mitigate risks and grasp opportunities. The global KPMG network operates in 144 countries and territories and collectively employs more than 236,000 partners and employees, serving the needs of business, governments, public-sector agencies, not-for-profits and, through member firms’ audit and assurance practices, the capital markets.

With a team of project managers each bringing an assortment of technical and non-technical skills and experience, the dedicated KPMG Malta project management team focuses solely on delivering project management support and advisory to business clients. All KPMG project managers undergo constant training to stay updated with leading concepts and practices, holding multiple certifications including PMI certificates, PRINCE2, ITIL and Professional Scrum Master.

“The two pillars of project management services are project execution and advisory to keep the project on track and within scope. These pillars apply to any project, irrespective of its characteristics,” expands Mr Calafato. “Typically, project execution is needed when there may be either a temporary gap in the resources required to execute the project, or there is a lack of specific skills internally. Through project execution, KPMG resources can oversee specific projects from pre-conception to post-delivery. Such resources may be technical or otherwise, according to the project needs. The benefits include having a trustworthy and skilled manager on a temporary basis. Once completed, the project can then be handed over to the business users for business continuation.”

KPMG clients can even benefit from custom-made services such as training, which can upskill internal resources. “Project advisory includes a range of services such as mentoring, coaching, training, consultations, assessments and set up of both projects and teams,” Mr Calafato goes on. “These services can cover either a focused period – such as setting up a project framework – or a prolonged journey such as mentoring and consulting on major projects’ execution.”

Different teams within KPMG Digital Solutions support an organisation’s online integration according to its specific needs. Each of the DevOps, automation, data and analytics, advisory and project management teams boast vast applied expertise in the ICT industry, collaborating to fully support clients throughout their project’s lifecycle.

Christine S

Christine Seychell, PMO Lead at KPMG Malta – Digital Solutions, shares the typical process involved in external project management, based on her more than 11 years of ICT industry experience and extensive expertise in project management.“Ultimately, every project is unique,” she says. “We start by holding discussions with the client to understand the requirements, scope and goals of the project. Once aligned, we refine the timeframes together with the client and create a project plan incorporating the most beneficial services, which paves the way for the next steps. We aim to bridge the gap between different stakeholders that have a technical background and those that do not. At this stage, the client can decide whether the project can be executed internally, or if there is need for our assistance in supporting and training the project management team.”

Most clients nonetheless prefer to hand the project management aspect over to the KPMG team from start to finish, so that they can focus their resources on the effective implementation of the project and their standard day-to-day tasks, he shares. “Many also prefer certain administrative tasks – such as deadline chasing – to be carried out by a trusted third party such as KPMG, instead of internally.”

As to the types of businesses that most benefit from external project management services, Ms Seychell clarifies that the opportunities it presents for business growth are far-reaching and unlimited by industry. “Our project management services have already been successfully applied to a range of industries, from banking and manufacturing to government and gaming,” she reveals. “The major benefits, however, vary between industries. For instance, manufacturing projects tend to focus more on lean processes, while projects related to banking and other financial companies hold a major focus on data governance, risk and scope. The project managers at KPMG Digital Solutions have a varied background and expertise and can cater for different types of projects across different industries – all to ensure that each project fulfils its potential and supports the organisation’s long-term goals, vision and brand.”

More information about KPMG’s project management services is available here.

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