Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson said the Accenture hub, which was first announced in September 2017, marks "about the 35th innovation center we've opened in Midtown."
It joins other big names, including Honeywell, Panasonic and NCR. In October, financial giant BlackRock, picked Atlanta for a 1,000-job innovation lab, and is said to be interested in Midtown for its location.
Accenture is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies and other major firms, helping other companies develop new technology and streamline and manage their businesses.
Each of the North American hubs focus on core industries in those cities. Detroit focuses on advanced manufacturing. Houston specializes in natural resources. The New York center is weighted towards financial services and consumer goods.
The Atlanta hub’s varied mission includes many specialties because of the region’s diverse corporate community, said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s North American CEO.
“The hubs are all connected to bring the best of innovation to clients every day on the ground,” she said.
Accenture picked Atlanta for its strong tech ecosystem, burgeoning start-up scene and network of colleges, including, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Spelman, Emory University and Georgia State University.
Though internal research and development remains a major source of innovation, corporations are turning to outside sources, leveraging new technologies emerging from universities and start-ups, to bolster their own R&D spending, Sweet said.
Accenture experts will work along side clients to co-create new technologies, apps and devices. The hub will also be a place where the top technology minds at other major firms can all collaborate together, Sweet said, and clients can draw upon the expertise in each hub.
Jimmy Etheredge, an Accenture senior managing director who leads the Southeast region, said the Atlanta hub is designed to evolve ideas into prototypes. The facility is flexible to allow clients and Accenture experts to spend a week or perhaps three months focused solely on development.
“We anticipate having dedicated space, one of these co-creation rooms here, where we will have Georgia Tech professors and graduate students working with Accenture researchers and clients around client problems,” he said.
Accenture has a cybersecurity-focused lab in Washington, D.C., to serve the federal government and other clients, but Etheredge noted metro Atlanta and Augusta's rise as a cybersecurity hub. The U.S. Cyber Command is moving from an installation in Virginia to Fort Gordon, outside Augusta, in 2020.
Etheredge said Accenture is contemplating adding office space in Augusta to help serve the government’s needs.
ACCENTURE AT A GLANCE
What: Accenture is one of the world's largest consulting businesses. It has divisions including consulting, technology, operational management and digital marketing.
Headquarters: Dublin, Ireland
Scope of the company: Accenture has 459,000 employees worldwide, serving 70 percent of the Fortune 500, with operations in 52 countries. The company reported net income in fiscal year 2018 of $4.2 billion.