SINGAPORE (July 27): KPMG and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have signed a three-year master research collaboration agreement (MRCA) together, with the intention of jointly establishing a data-science powered laboratory in the professional services sector.

The two entities have made an initial joint investment of $5 million for KPMG and A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (IRR) to launch their inaugural joint laboratory, which will mark KPMG’s first joint laboratory in Singapore as well as A*STAR’s foray into the professional services industry.

In a Friday announcement, KPMG says it plans to work with A*STAR’s research institutes under the Science and Engineering Research Council to drive the digitisation of the professional services firm’s capabilities, products and services.

This will be accomplished through the joint laboratory, which will focus on the four key areas of cyber security, text mining, machine translation and human resources (HR) analytics.

In terms of cyber security, KPMG intends to leverage IRR’s algorithms to offer its clients advanced cyber security services via faster and more sophisticated incident detection and response tools, facilitated by real-time attack detection and analysis.

IRR’s research in text-mining parameters and machine-learning algorithms will also drive productivity higher in the monitoring and curation of solutions for KPMG’s clients.

Meanwhile, KPMG expects the joint laboratory to produce a more accurate engine for the translation of business documents for “faster and more seamless multilingual collaborations”, leveraging IRR’s expertise in machine translation technology that is focused on Asian languages.

Lastly, the firm intends to tap on IRR’s strength in data analytics and predictive algorithms, leveraging on aggregated data to determine and manage recruitment and attrition trends in the HR field – as well as facilitate more accurate workforce planning.

Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore, believes the collaboration will not just empower the firm’s internal processes, but also allow it to raise its game in servicing its clients.

“This joint lab with KPMG will bring our strong capabilities in the areas of cyber security and data analytics to help address the needs of the professional service industry and its clients,” adds Professor Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director of A*STAR's Science & Engineering Research Council.