Accenture invests €500,000 in RoboValley, innovation hub for robotics

22 August 2016

International consulting firm Accenture has invested €500,000 into RoboValley, a Netherlands-based hub for startups specialised in robotics. RoboValley will use Accenture's investment for international research into robotics and to deliver further improvements to its tech campus.

RoboValley was founded by the TU Delft Robotics Institute, one of the Netherlands’ engineering universities, as an innovation hub for robotics, aimed at developing knowledge and international collaboration. As part of the development of RoboValley, the university has made buildings available for the establishment of robotics companies, and currently hosts around 30 startups and as well as several more established robotics companies. The companies develop robotics technologies in the broadest sense of the word: from drones and robotic arms to artificial intelligence and care robots.

Earlier in 2016, Canadian investor Chrysalix Venture Capital invested €100 million into the RoboValley Investment Fund – to support robotics startups working in RoboValley in their step into the market. “RoboValley in Delft, the Netherlands, helps robotics companies and startups create next generation robots and bring them to market,” says Arthur de Crook, Business Development Manager at RoboValley. The funds are expected to, over the coming ten years, create 15,000 to 25,000 jobs in RoboValley, which will require between 250,000 to 360,000 m2 in office and laboratory space.

Accenture invests 500,000 in Robovalley, innovation hub for robotics

Robotics partnership
Accenture recently also invested in RoboValley – the international consulting firm entered into a five-year partnership with RoboValley and invested €500,000 to advance next generation knowledge in the technology. Through the investment, Accenture wants to show its clients how fast robotics and artificial intelligence are developing, and what is already possible with these technologies. By bringing its clients in contact with robotics companies, Accenture will create new opportunities for growth.

“Developments in the area of robotics are moving ultra-fast,” says Frank Rennings, Managing Director and Technology lead at Accenture Netherlands. “Organisations are recognising its importance in driving us into the fourth industrial revolution and are increasingly leveraging the technology to make business operations more efficient and to enhance customer service. We strongly believe in the concept of RoboValley, with research, entrepreneurs and startups all in one place, as part of our commitment to open innovation. Our collaboration will help us speed innovation and bring new applications to market faster. In addition, we can now take our clients to RoboValley, so that they can experience for themselves the latest developments and, above all, be inspired by them.”

Apart from Accenture, RoboValley is looking to reel in four other large partners – involving investments to the tune of €500.000 – for which De Crook is already in talks with other possible parties. Aside from large partners, De Crook is on the lookout for 35 partners whom are willing to invest €50.000 per year, as well as smaller partners that invest €10.000 per year. De Crook, when speaking to Dutch newspaper the FD, said that he expects to have found the new partners by the end of the year. "The interest has surprised us," states the CEO.



First Consulting helps BDO to build new RPA capability with UiPath

22 March 2019

Global accounting and consulting firm BDO is working on its own digital transformation, as it looks to pioneer the use of Robotic Process Automation in its work. Business consultancy First Consulting is helping BDO with designing the RPA journey and building its internal RPA capability.

Robotic Process Automation describes a process that utilises software programmed to autonomously carry out basic tasks across applications, reducing the burden of repetitive, simple tasks on employees.  Able to be developed and deployed in a matter of weeks, RPA is highly cost-effective and can typically demonstrate returns on investment within a few months. It has been known to dramatically improve the speed and accuracy of processing, resulting in a quicker and higher quality of service to customers.

Last year, BDO explored the value of Robotic Process Automation, concluding the technology has the capacity to bolster the firm’s service offerings as well as internal operations. On the back of this analysis, the professional services firm incorporated RPA into its ICT strategy for the coming years. This has already seen the first robot delivered at BDO, which has since been taken into use by the business.

First Consulting helps BDO to build new RPA capability with UiPath

First Consulting is advising BDO on all aspects of deploying and scaling up the technology across the organisation – from capability building, governance structure and processes to architecture and IT infrastructure. The joint team of BDO and First Consulting have, meanwhile, also taken the first steps to set up an internal RPA capability.

BDO faces a key year for its operations, particularly in the UK where it has recently become the fifth largest provider of audit and advisory services in the country. As the firm looks to further grow its junior auditing market lead over the Big Four, the effective deployment of innovations such as RPA could prove key in the coming period.

With RPA on board, BDO’s ICT department aims at increasing the satisfaction of employees by removing a range of often boring (repetitive, administrative) tasks. By automating such tasks, productivity can also be increased at the professional services firm, as its staff will be freed up to spend more time performing value-adding activities. On top of this, RPA can execute tasks and processes with a lower margin of error compared to humans, enhancing BDO’s internal operations.

Working with RPA vendor UiPath, during the project at BDO, First Consulting has sought to apply its best practice RPA growth model methodology. The approach differentiates between three different growth phases, starting with RPA, structuring RPA, and scaling RPA.

Project results are delivered through an agile approach. According to the engagement partners, the following results were achieved in a period of six weeks:

  • Developed a first robot process that directly creates value for the business and contributes to the 360 degree customer view by migrating information from two systems to another system;
  • Advice and implementation plan on the technical design in relation to RPA, ICT guidelines, a security questionnaire and a basic infrastructure;
  • A roadmap for setting up an internal RPA capability, including the following components: processes & governance, change management and capability building & training;
  • Plan for setting up benefits tracking / monitoring as well as reusability of robot process components.

So far, First Consulting and BDO have enjoyed a pleasant and productive cooperation, achieving “tangible results” along the way. According to First Consulting’s team engaged by the project, the close match between the firms’ norms and values proved a key success factor. In the coming period, First Consulting and BDO are investigating opportunities to develop a digital capability in other areas of BDO’s business.

Roel van Overdam, Head of RPA at First Consulting, said of the collaboration, “Our pragmatic, no-nonsense approach has clearly paid off.”

Related: First Consulting: Is RPA implementation going in the right direction?