Every major services company now offers its clients a digital studio experience — but many companies are struggling to understand what exactly they are and why they exist. Since becoming an analyst at Forrester a month ago, I’ve been asked many times “What is the role and focus of these studios?” It’s a good question.

Broadly speaking, digital studios are a new style of workspace, born out of the agency world, that allow service providers to bring together multidisciplinary skill sets, processes, and tools to centralize their digital offerings. Service providers including Accenture, EPAM, IBM, KPMG, McKinsey, and TCS have been investing heavily in building new physical spaces to foster their own flavor of Google-inspired magic.

In reality, “digital studios” is a loaded term.  These spaces come under different labels: digital studio, innovation lab, collaboratory, garage, insight center, etc. They vary in focus, from generalized project space to industry or technology-specific lab. And they vary in use case and design; from presales showcases to high-tech labs baked into delivery.

Forrester’s Take

But digital studios are more than just a sales showcase. When done right, they represent a new vehicle for innovation with your service partners. The physical spaces are designed to support Agile methodologies, streamline cross-role-team collaboration, create business outcomes, and cultivate an environment of shared risk and reward. These actions are imperatives for companies executing digital transformation objectives. For example, KPMG’s first Ignition Center in Denver helped integrate the newly acquired Cynergy talent and culture into KPMG’s tax and advisory and consulting teams.

Today, Forrester believes there are three core sources of value clients can get out of digital studios:

  1. The ability to quickly develop industry-specific digital solutions.
  2. A place to collaboratively design and development products.
  3. A source of immersive training programs to accelerate cultural transformation.

For more on how to unlock digital studio value and what questions to ask your provider, check out my latest report: Digital Studio Engagements Accelerate Services Innovation.

I’m looking forward to writing more about innovation in the services marketplace.  In the future, you’ll see research and blog posts related to digital studios, innovation services, and new methods of engaging with service providers.