Management consulting firm Accenture has launched an 'innovation hub' in metro Detroit, which is designed to help companies in the automotive, industrial equipment, technology, energy and utilities industries address the shift to digital products and services.

Accenture says that the coming digital shift will transform engineering, manufacturing and field operations - which Accenture calls Industry X.0. Additionally, the company will add 200 highly skilled technology jobs to the local market by the end of 2020.

"Accenture is a global leader in innovation and technology, and its decision to invest in Michigan – and here in metro Detroit – is further evidence that we are a top choice for businesses and that the revitalization of our economy is stronger than ever"

"We welcome Accenture's decision to expand its commitments in the Detroit area and appreciate the highly skilled opportunities the company is creating for our talented workforce," said Governor Rick Snyder. "Accenture's investment is a testament to Michigan's history of innovation and our growing talent base."

The metro Detroit innovation hub includes a new Industry X.0 Innovation Centre in Livonia, Michigan, designed to help clients 'explore, co-create, test and scale digital solutions that improve product development, engineering, manufacturing, customer experience and cybersecurity'. Clients will also be able to develop and prototype new capabilities to see how an idea could work in practice, Accenture says.

The hub in Metro Detroit is Accenture's newest US innovation hub and the eighth in a network that includes Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Houston; New York; San Jose, California; and Washington, D.C., as well as more than 100 Accenture innovation locations around the world.

"Continuous innovation is an imperative to succeed in today's digital economy," said Julie Sweet, Accenture's chief executive officer – North America. "In metro Detroit we are bringing innovation to our clients' doorsteps to help them achieve tangible, ground-breaking results faster than ever. Our investment in innovation is an investment in our clients, our people and the communities in which we work and live."

Brian Irwin, who leads the company's Industrial practice in North America, said, "Manufacturing companies across all industries are under tremendous pressure to reinvent and digitize their businesses. Our new innovation hub in metro Detroit complements our other Industry X.0 Innovation Centers, including those in Garching, Germany and Modena, Italy, that have a strong focus on automotive. We are bringing our global experience and expertise to clients in North America who are exploring the impact of Industry X.0."

As part of Accenture's plan to add 200 highly skilled tech jobs in high-growth areas such as digital, cloud and security services, the company will relocate its metro Detroit office from Southfield to downtown Detroit later this year.

 "Accenture is a global leader in innovation and technology, and its decision to invest in Michigan – and here in metro Detroit – is further evidence that we are a top choice for businesses and that the revitalization of our economy is stronger than ever," said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Accenture says it employs more than 850 people in metro Detroit and works with companies in the region across the automotive, consumer goods and services, education, health, insurance and retail industries. Earlier this year, the company acquired Mackevision, a global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content, and Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, a content-focused leader in integrated marketing, cross-channel strategy development and creative execution that specialises in several industries including automotive.

Additionally, the company is expanding its metro Detroit apprenticeship program in partnership with Grand Circus, an organization that is helping develop Michigan's tech workforce.