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Kiumars Hamidian
Leader of the Innovation Process

In today’s fast-paced market environment, innovation can’t be limited to individual strokes of genius. With all parts of our networked economy moving, isolated moments of invention are not enough to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our clients. It takes a movement pervading our organization, with sensors all over the marketplace, and in close collaboration with our clients and partners to quickly develop solutions with impact. Over the last three years, we have created an ecosystem to get this movement started – and it has certainly gained momentum! More importantly, clients and analysts tell us we are on the right track.

Innovation is a social process and a mind-set that needs to be embedded in a firm’s culture. It requires a proven and structured approach that encourages people to participate without over-engineered micromanagement limiting the experimental flow. With innovation as an indispensable component of our DNA, we embrace conflict and ambiguity to be adaptive challengers. Innovation spreads in networks that are open to ideas from the edges, inside and outside the organization. It is created through hard work, open discussions, new assignments, and the courage to repeatedly step out of the comfort zone. 

While it is critical to nurture a culture of innovation, in order to build an ecosystem flourishing with ideas, it’s equally important to create structures, in order to manage the ideas for tangible results. In this spirit, we established processes and governance structures funneling ideas, for instance shark-tank events. We also initiated innovation campaigns on blockchain, robotics, and diversity that really caught the interest of our employees and produced a lot of contributions and discussions. Our “Be an Innovator” platform generated more than 100 ideas in 2017 alone! Furthermore, our client activities led to the creation of ten powerful new Accelerators that illustrate our technology packages with rapid market impact, enabling, in total, 56 million euros in new bookings in 2017.

With the innovation labs, we have started to experiment with a new format to engage both our people and our clients. They turned out to be a good environment to bring together all the capabilities we can offer to match a client challenge. At the same time, we can engage with the clients in co-creation, which helps to make sure there is an outcome for their business. It really makes a difference for our clients that we are not only talking innovation, but also have the technologies to actually make it happen.

Our Ventures unit is the enabler to drive the development of innovations and the creation and financing of start-ups in cooperation with clients. Basically, we differentiate between three types of ventures: employee ventures, client ventures, and market ventures. Employee ventures emerge from our own firm. Most of them originate from our “Be an Innovator” initiative. Client ventures emanate from consulting projects with start-ups. For instance, they might first hire us to consult them on their strategy and business plan before we then enter into a consulting-for-equity model. Market ventures arise from proactive screening of the market; or we simply spot an opportunity. That’s what happened with Tribe, a Norwegian start-up in the insurance industry that we invested in. 

We also cooperate closely with incubators such as LeVillage in Paris and weXelerate in Vienna, and we facilitate encounters between start-ups and our clients by hosting events like the BearingPoint Insurance.Dialog in Cologne, Germany. The event featured high-quality keynotes on innovation management, coopetition, and digital ecosystems, and offered speed dating with smaller start-ups. 

Our technology alliances are of growing importance to our ecosystem of innovation. In 2017, we increased the number of our technology alliance partners from 28 to 42, and there are many more to come. They include industry heavyweights such as SAP and Salesforce, as well as start-ups – whatever is apt to accelerate the digital transformation of our clients. In November 2017, we were awarded the Salesforce Platinum Partner status as a result of successfully helping our mutual clients to enhance their customer experience and run their business in the cloud. In the growing field of robotics, we signed five strong partners, and command a trained team of 45 people with test systems available to validate the technologies quickly with our clients.

In addition to our alliances, we develop our own IP and integrate it into our clients’ business to help them run best-in-class solutions. Here are selected examples:

  • By seamlessly integrating our RegTech solution Abacus360, SAP’s Financial Data Base powered by SAP HANA has become a fully scalable finance and risk platform for regulatory reporting. Banks need these kinds of new technological solutions capable of processing and analyzing big data in finance, risk, and reporting on the fly. 
  • We help clients achieve logistics excellence with the in-house software solution Factory Navigator, an innovative software product for the simulation and optimization of production and logistics processes. Recently we utilized the Factory Navigator in a digital transformation project with MAN, for which we received the „Best of Consulting“ award in the category „Digitalization“ by Germany’s renowned economic publication WirtschaftsWoche in November 2017.
  • With Log360, we solve the trade-off between CO2, costs, inventories, and time. Log360, which can run on SAP HANA, provides planning, optimization, and accounting for transport costs, lead times, inventories, and CO2 in one tool.
  • Data demands new technologies and capabilities that enable companies to manage and analyze data volume, variety, and velocity to derive valuable business knowledge. We have built up a powerful DATA Platform based on HyperCube to speed up vertical apps (e.g. Optix), web service delivery and our cloud-based Data as a Service (DaaS) solution. 

At the end of the day, it is the impact on the market that distinguishes innovation from invention. As a result, we not only create platforms for ideas to emerge and test them in collaboration with clients, we also offer innovation as a service to our clients, supporting them end to end, from consulting on the business case through the provision of an IP-based solution to running this solution for them. It might well be the quickest path to market when innovating with clients, and we will put even more focus on this package of IP-based managed services in 2018.

As part of its Ventures activities, BearingPoint started investing in the Oslo-based FinTech start-up Tribe in April 2017. Rune Brunborg, Chief Executive Officer of Tribe, on how this set-up makes innovation thrive:

“BearingPoint has been a very good partner for us thus far. They have brought in senior resources that have not only questioned our model and lines of thought from both a general perspective and an industry-specific mind-set, but also from other regions. This alone has honed our thinking and developed our concept. BearingPoint has also been good at using their international expert network in order to explore new ideas. Going forward, we believe that a helping hand to expand our IT-platform service to other countries will be of mutual benefit to us and several BearingPoint clients. We probably have the best IT and insurance product platform in the world for small and mid-sized insurers – and BearingPoint has a network of relations that can bring this platform to fruition.”