KPMG Australia will improve its professional services offerings by adding further integration to IBM's Watson cognitive computing platform.
The two companies signed an agreement, which includes a focus on audit and assurance services. KPMG intends to introduce cognitive technology to these and other offerings to improve quality and insights.
This extends on existing agreements in the US and UK. It said other branches will likely follow suit soon.
The firm said auditing was suited to cognitive technology because of increasing volumes of structured and unstructured data related to financial and non-financial information the platform was capable of processing.
KPMG Australia national managing partner for brand and innovation, Ken Reid, told ARN, it had been working with Watson for the last six to eight months and had also brought on a number of specialist engineers to develop cognitive capabilities.
“We acquired a couple of individuals with capabilities within Watson and other cognitive platforms,” he explained.
These engineers are part of a global initiative by KPMG, dubbed Solution 49, which will develop proprietary solutions the professional services firm will take to market.
Reid said the 23 person Solution 49 team was focusing on the use of the application within auditing, but this was by no means the only application of the technology KPMG was exploring.
“We are in the process of finalising the areas or the use cases that we will develop in Australia,” he said.
KPMG has yet to determine if it will use these capabilities to sell to customers or use them exclusively in-house.
“The technology is fairly new and the time scales to develop a solution are quite long,” Reid added. “It can take from three months to three years to teach Watson sufficiently.”
Reid said the greatest value he saw in the technology was the possibility of amplifying existing skills and analytics.
“This is not an opportunity to replace our people but to help our people to thrive and do more.”