PwC with ABRSM

Change and Transformation in the Public Sector

ABRSM has long been recognised as an industry leader in music examination. It is one of only five examination boards accredited by Ofqual to conduct music grade exams and issue awards and diploma qualifications, and its Board consolidates the examination activity of several institutions, including The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and The Royal Northern College of Music.

Yet despite this prestige, ABRSM recognised the need to modernise the digital experience on offer both in the UK and globally, to meet demand and support future growth ambitions.

For an exam board that schedules, examines and manages exams for some 600,000 candidates all over the world, there was a growing need for a less resource-intensive process to accommodate the demands of candidates and elevated customer-experience expectations.

A new, slick and modern customer experience was needed to reaffirm ABRSM’s position as an industry leader. PwC was called in, and its work in building a new digital foundation in partnership with ABRSM has been pivotal in enabling them to deliver on their purpose during the most challenging of circumstances, allowing them to not only weather the COVID-19 pandemic, but to also use it as a springboard to expand their offerings into remote assessment, and drive growth.

To achieve this outcome, PwC delivered a revolutionary customer self-service solution hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud and iOS platforms. Working together, ABRSM and PwC collaborated to set the future vision, roadmap and process; Technology consultants designed, configured, developed, tested and deployed the solution; Programme Management specialists oversaw and managed delivery; and People & Change consultants supported the technology adoption, training and customer engagement.

The overall customer experience has been revolutionised through the greater choice and flexibility offered by the new self-service booking system. This allows customers to easily manage their exam booking times, dates and venues – and behind the scenes, staff are able to schedule and manage exam periods more efficiently through a centralised exam management system. Meanwhile, a digital examining app eliminates the need for manual data entry of exam results from paper forms.

The solution has supported the modernisation of ABRSM’s business model, catalysed growth, and improved the online experience by digitally transforming ABRSM’s manual paper processes, improving focus on customer-facing activity, and fostering innovative learning products and services. These outcomes augmented the reputation and brand of ABRSM and its assessment programme by blending digital and face-to-face examinations. At a time when COVID-19 threatened ABRSM’s ability to deliver any services at all, the organisation was able to move its assessments online within six months.

PwC and ABRSM have fostered a robust and successful relationship, rooted in the delivery of outcomes. The new remote assessment offering delivered customer engagement five times higher than anticipated, and the candidate response has been extremely positive. Having used the digital product, 93% of respondents indicated they would take a remote exam again.

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.