Oxford Brookes Business School

Reimagining common data models for next generation professional services

Friday, 13 November 2020

Reimaging common data

Oxford Brookes Business School is partnering on a pioneering Collaborative R&D project led by Engine B that is looking to transform the future of the professional services market.

Starting with audit, the consortium led by Engine B are leading the development of an open marketplace based on accessible and standardised data.

Engine B are developing a data access platform which will provide the equivalent open access to corporate data on a scale equivalent to open banking. The standardisation of client data access is a complex but narrow technological solution that will unlock competition through the next generation of digital professional services with manifest economic impact.

The dawn of digital services is imminent, although few firms are currently able to invest the time and resources required to offer next generation services. The project team involving University of Birmingham, Imperial College London, and Microsoft are working on the development and adoption of a standardised set of knowledge graphs.

The team from Oxford Brookes Business School are examining how the data access platform will impact and transform the business models of professional services firms. Building on previous research funded by Innovate UK, Dr Cristian Gherhes and Professor Tim Vorley are examining the ways in which the Engine B platform impacts and enhances the capabilities of professional services firms and has the potential to accelerate the development and adoption of new digital services.

The project consortium is supported by 9 audit firms including KPMG, BDO, RSM, Grant Thornton, Moore Kingston Smith, and legal firms including Osborne Clarke. Over the next 12 months the project team led by Engine B will put the foundations in place by:

  1. Making data accessible across the UK business landscape to drive innovation, growth and productivity
  2. Enabling UK business to retain and regain control over their data
  3. Opening up competition in the audit marketplace and accelerating the use of AI to improve quality
  4. Facilitating the UK to become the global legal tech services hub, broadening the international use of the law of England & Wales

Shamus Rae, CEO and founder of Engine B, said “the approach of Engine B is to develop and scale an innovative open data model that will mobilise an ecosystem of start-ups and be a catalyst to the diffusion of technology in professional services firms.”

Cristian Gherhes, Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes Business School, highlighted “This Innovate UK funded project enables us to apply our research to industry, building on our work exploring AI readiness among professional services firms, and highlights the value of academic-industry collaborations.”

For more information contact Cristian Gherhes: cgherhes@brookes.ac.uk