KPMG launches new innovation and technology center in Chicago

14 May 2019 3 min. read

Accounting and consulting firm KPMG has opened its seventh (and largest) US Ignition Center in Chicago. The 30,000 square foot client-focused space, housed on the 68th floor of the Aon Center, will help businesses better understand disruption and transform for the future.

Companies know that emerging technologies hold the promise of greater efficiency and lowered costs, but it’s often a challenging endeavor to implement them properly across the unique needs of organizations. Consulting firms like KPMG have been pouring massive resources into their firms to restructure themselves as technology strategizers, designers, and implementers.

And technological, digital, and innovation support is what business leaders are asking for. In KPMG’s 2018 CEO Outlook survey, 86% of chief executives said that they viewed technology as the only significant disruptor their business faces.

"With the rate and pace of disruption in the market, KPMG is constantly focused on making strategic, short and long-term investments that address market disruption and support a transformation journey,"  Mike Nolan, KPMG vice chair, innovation & enterprise solutions, said.KPMG launches new innovation and technology center in Chicago

Pursuant to that strategy, KPMG has opened an Ignition Center in Chicago, complementing six previously launched locations in Atlanta, Denver, Grand Rapids, midtown and downtown NYC, and San Francisco. The client-focused Ignition Centers help organizations evolve their business models and leverage technology solutions that support organizational needs. The centers bring together the expansive firm’s capabilities in design thinking, data & analytics, AI, strategy, and business process.

KPMG selected Chicago because of its breadth of industry sectors and businesses, access to transportation, and talent.

"Chicago's ability to attract and retain technology talent is critical to the work we are doing to support enterprise-wide business transformation," said Linda Imonti, Chicago office managing principal. KPMG’s Chicago office is its second-largest, with more than 2,500 partners and professionals.

The city, though it has been building up its tech cred over the past number of years, still massively trails metropolises like NYC and LA in terms of venture capital funding for startups. Brad Henderson, the CEO of non-profit P33 (which aims to build the Second City into a premier technology hub), told Crain’s Chicago Business that, “Chicago has Tier 1 innovation assets, but we have Tier 2 outcomes.”

Commenting on the center’s opening, outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “KPMG's ongoing commitment to invest in Chicago and foster the next generation of technologists in Chicago will advance our technology ecosystem for many years to come."

The Chicago Ignition Center will feature an Innovation Lab which uses proprietary research and tools to apply design thinking to business models, as well as an Insights Center that allows clients to view real-time data exploration and prototype development for machine learning and big data systems. The center’s Technology Solutions unit, meanwhile, collaborates with tech firms to develop enabling solutions in cyber security, robotics and process automation, business transformation, and other areas.

New to the Chicago center is the “Green Room,” an immersive environment where clients can interact with emerging technologies, including a “retail branch of the future” and a cloud and AI-enhanced customer journey through retail banking.