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October 13, 2014
Why We Are Excited about Partpic
By: Brett Goldstein

Accenture Open Innovation’s “Best Enterprise Disrupter” at TechCrunch Disrupt

As one of the largest technology consulting firms serving enterprises in the Global 2000, we have observed the disruptive nature of technology for years. But never before has technology more fundamentally changed the way our clients do business than today.

This is the core of why we formed Accenture Open Innovation—to collect, analyze and bring to our clients the world’s best emerging technologies to help them become disrupters. Think of us as a bridgemaker between our Global 2000 clients and the technology innovation ecosystem.

While later-stage start-ups typically play better with our clients, we also pay close attention to early-stage start-ups as they are good indicators of what disruptions are to come. That’s why we decided to sponsor the “Best Enterprise Disrupter” award at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014.

We walked away from the conference with countless learnings, connections and an award winner we are very excited about: Partpic.

Partpic uses machine vision to identify parts (like screws and pipes) with just a picture. We chose them because they are a class act in terms of the kinds of start-ups we like to work with at Accenture Open Innovation:

  • They solve a tough problem: If you've ever tried to get a part replaced, you probably know how difficult it is. It can take a lot of time on the phone to describe even the simplest part and then there's still a chance that you're going to get the wrong part sent to you. Image recognition technology helps, but popular APIs miss a lot of minute details in tiny parts that signify important product differences.

    Partpic has built proprietary machine vision algorithms and photography techniques that capture these details. The company rigorously double and triple checks the accuracy of the algorithms and only applies it in single part verticals (such as plumbing parts) at a time.

  • There is a clear business case for Accenture: Partpic could have come out with their own app and marketed it directly to consumers, but instead they built their product as an API to allow their clients or companies like Accenture to connect it up to proprietary systems both for internal and external use. We see opportunity in any use case where someone needs to identify parts, whether it’s a customer building a desk, a mechanic repairing a machine in a factory, or a business owner looking to reorganize inventory.

  • Accenture could take Partpic’s technology to the next level: Even beyond making introductions to our clients and building consulting services around the start-up, we are always looking for ways to go further. Partpic’s technology and mission to index the world’s parts perfectly complements the work that our Digital Experience R&D Group in the Accenture Technology Labs has been doing in digital supply chain innovations like 3D printing. By marrying these two innovations, Partpic could become a truly transformational technology, helping our clients optimize their supply chains and reduce inventory.

  • Their team represents the same technical prowess and diversity that Accenture prides itself on: The Partpic team comes from incredible backgrounds both generally and applied to their space. They employ two Ph.D.’s in machine vision from Georgia Tech, and the CEO, Jewel Burks, worked at Google and McMaster-Carr Supply Company where she dealt with the problems on a daily basis that Partpic now solves.

    Partpic is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is notoriously deficient of women and minorities, especially in leadership positions. We believe with diversity comes new ideas and innovation, which is why it is emphasized so much in Accenture.

Over the next several months, we will collaborate with Partpic to explore ways in which we can apply and scale their technology at our clients across various industries through pilots and ultimately full deployments. We have high hopes that Partpic will truly be an enterprise disrupter, but only time, plenty of hard work and luck will tell.

If you are interested in including Partpic in a client engagement, please reach out to masoud.loghmani@accenture.com

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