Cognizant opens 'digital business collaboratory' in Melbourne to facilitate innovation

Professional services company Cognizant has launched its first Asia-Pacific 'collaboratory' in Melbourne, aimed at facilitating collaboration between its customers and partners.

The doors of Cognizant's new innovation hub in Melbourne, Australia, are now open.

Like its facilities in Amsterdam and New York, Melbourne's "digital business collaboratory" will be used for collaboration between Cognizant, its customers, and its partners.

Melbourne was chosen by the NASDAQ-listed professional services firm because of the innovation activities occurring in the state's universities. Cognizant first established its presence in Melbourne in 2006, with the Victorian capital now serving as the company's Australian headquarters.

In addition to a dedicated space, occupants will have access to technology and a team of strategists, designers, technologists, data scientists, and human sciences experts that will help them design, prototype, and build digital solutions.

As part of the opening ceremony on Monday, Cognizant conducted a workshop to reimagine what Melbourne might look like in 2030 through the application of technology.

Ideas included making data about Melbourne's people, places, services, and events available on a single platform to Melburnians; creating a safe and eco-friendly network of autonomous vehicles that can understand each other's location, speed, and intent by using broadcast signals from beacons and other vehicles; and expanding the "pay it forward" initiative where customers pay for an extra coffee or meal with their purchase to help a homeless person.

"A great example of the power of digital technologies is our customised data capture platform designed by Odecee to give us real insights into our hospital programs," said Louise Baxter, CEO of Starlight Children's Foundation. "These insights show Starlight how children and their families are using our programs, and will help us to make positive changes to our programs and enable us to reach even more seriously ill children."

Cognizant expects to create more than 100 jobs in Melbourne over the next three years.

Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis welcomed the opening of the collaboratory, saying that it "cements [Melbourne's] reputation as a magnet for tech and business investment".

The news follows Cognizant's announcement earlier in February indicating that it will grow its digital transformation services business from 23 percent of revenue today by retooling its workforce and acquiring companies for intellectual property and expertise.

"The time is right for us to accelerate the shift to digital services and solutions to meet the growing demands from our clients to transform their business models," CEO Francisco D'Souza said.

In December 2016, Australian real estate group Dexus Property and San Francisco-headquartered curated coworking community RocketSpace announced that they would launch a network of campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane specifically for post-revenue technology startups. The campuses provide desk space as well as access to capital, hands-on workshops, peer group roundtables, and networking events.

In addition, RocketSpace connects corporates with startups for potential collaboration. Specifically, its consulting division advises corporates on how they can work with startups.

"Typically, the corporates have great scale and reach and the startups are great at innovation. If you put that together in the right way, it should be a highly symbiotic relationship," RocketSpace founder and CEO Duncan Logan told ZDNet in December 2016.

"The corporates get cutting-edge innovation to help them stay relevant and the startups get scale and reach in a marketplace that otherwise can be hard to scale in or is expensive to scale in."