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TCS opens its first European innovation centre in Amsterdam

Netherlands capital hosts TCS’s latest innovation hub, which will bring together an ecosystem to address the challenge of sustainability

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Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will bring universities, businesses, startups and government together at its latest innovation hub in Amsterdam to help use digital technology to solve sustainability challenges.

The Indian IT services giant announced the opening of its latest hub in its innovation network in Amsterdam, following a delay caused by the Covid crisis.

It will focus on sustainability challenges faced by organisations and becomes the first in a network of hubs, known as TCS Pace Ports, in Europe.

Pace is TCS’s innovation umbrella with a network of centres, known as Ports, created to bring together its ecosystem of experts in different disciplines.

The Amsterdam centre joins a hub in Tokyo, set up in November 2018, and one in New York that focuses on financial and retail technology.

Hubs in Toronto and Pittsburgh, focused on smart cities and robotics, respectively, will join the network in the coming months.

About 70 universities globally, more than 2,000 startups, large tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, enterprise customers and governments are engaged with the TCS Pace Port network.

TCS CTO Ananth Krishnan, who heads up the initiative, told Computer Weekly that these are physical and virtual spaces where different stakeholders can come together to work on particular themes.

The Amsterdam centre reflects the sustainability expertise in the region, he said, adding: “We make sure the Ports resonate with local talent availability.”

Krishnan said there will be a broad range of skills within the centre, including marketing professionals, design thinking experts and people with business domain knowledge.

“It is a place where we can show off,” he said. “There will be a fair bit of design thinking around problems, and business domain and contextual expertise will be there too.”

Researchers, student interns and ecosystem specialists that can drive creative sessions will also populate the centres.

Of its innovation strategy, TCS said: “Finding answers to customer questions requires bringing computing and several sciences together. The answers, which evolve into intellectual property, form a part of the many innovation feeds that power our business.”

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Each Pace Port also houses a startup accelerator supporting tech startups, but the ultimate goal is for TCS customers to benefit from the ideas and potential services that result. “Customers will be the ones taking advantage of this highly creative environment,” said Krishnan.

He said the ideas that come out of the centres could be taken on and developed by the organisations involved, separate from TCS, or TCS might decide to take something forward and create a new service. It could become something bigger than any one organisation can take forward and might become multilateral, he added.

Krishnan said TCS is in a good position to bring the ecosystem together as the enabler because of its position at the “intersection of industries and technologies”.

“We have the privilege of working with some of the largest organisations in the world and governments,” he said. “We have access to the corporate, government and philanthropy spaces. As a tech company, we are also part of the solution.”

The Amsterdam centre will not be the last, with more planned across the world. “More are coming and we hope they will become the physical/digital spaces where Pace comes to life,” said Krishnan.

David McIntire, IT services research director at NelsonHall, said TCS’s first European Pace Port is envisioned to become the digital innovation hub for the region. “The Pace network has evolved from TCS’s innovation and co-creation location strategy,” he said.

“TCS has taken a considered and organic approach in setting up Pace Ports and demonstrates its capabilities as a full-service partner for its clients in their digital transformation journeys.”

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