Accenture steps up innovation in India, takes clients on a bus

Indian IT capital Bengaluru’s traffic woes perhaps pushed an European tech-services firm to consider shifting to other cities. On the contrary, Accenture has designed a bus that facilitates meetings and presentations to global clients on the way to its innovation hub and use travelling time better.

Accenture is steadily raising its focus on innovation activities in India and leveraging the increased footfall of clients in Bangalore to show their expertise in future technologies. The company is seeing 20 client visits every week to this Bengaluru innovation hub, which is its largest R&D facility.

The $35 billion global IT services major has been developing future models at the innovation hub here using digital technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, extended reality for multiples businesses across the world. The company said it has been spending nearly $1 billion every year on innovation and the India hub has largest development tasks for industries such as retail, oil and gas, hospitality, healthcare.

Among other things, innovation models at the Bengaluru hub include a virtual reality cricket, an industrial robot who plays piano. The company said models such as the virtual cricket could be replicated in various industries for better decision making.

A team at the Bengaluru innovation hub developed a model using virtual reality to change booking experience for a 5-star hotel across India. Accenture said this has resulted a 3% revenue growth for the hospitality company in the first year of digital transformation.

The “design thinking bus”, rolled out in February, is seen as an “innovation on wheels”, said Mohan Sekhar, senior managing director and lead, Accenture Advnced Technology Centres of India. “A typical design thinking process includes various stages such as discovery, ideation, rapid prototyping leading to creation of proof of concepts. We use the bus for the initial stages of this process, and continue the design thinking session seamlessly at our innovation hub,” added Sekhar.

Accenture’s Indian peers such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro are similarly investing in innovation and have dedicated resources. But, what arguably gives Accenture an edge is in the “sophistication of its innovation labs and its distinctive ability to communicate its digital prowess”, said analysts.

“What has allowed it to become the clear leader in digital is number of digital companies it has acquired in the last 4 years, said Peter Bendor-Samuel, chief executive, Everest Group.

Bendor-Samuel said the company is using India operations “in a strategic way across two important dimensions”.

Easy access to low-cost talent in digital technology areas has clearly helped Accenture turn India hub to a center of excellence for key technologies such as AI, Machine learning, analytics and cyber security.

Secondly, the “heavy footfall” of clients in Bangalore coupled with access to CIOs, CTOs is beneficial for Accenture, added Bendor-Samuel.

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