KPMG Data & Analytics for Amsterdam Innovation Arena

In 2020, Amsterdam ArenA wants to be the most innovative stadium in the world. But how can this ambition be turned into reality? What are the necessary steps? And what is KPMG’s role in the process? Henk van Raan, director of Amsterdam Innovation Arena: “The secret is in optimal cooperation and creating a data driven organization.” An interview.


The location chosen for the interview is the Amsterdam ArenA itself, where huge lights have been installed on the playing field. In one corner of the pitch, half a dozen gardeners are attending to the grass, a job they will keep working on for at least one full hour, with the meticulousness of hairdressers in an up-scale salon. Grass, in the Arena, is serious business, that much is certain. Timing of the interview is striking as well. Only weeks later, a fortnight ago at the time this blog is published, leading market research agency Forrester will list KPMG as one of the best Data & Analytics advisors in the world. An honour perfectly fitting to KPMG’s ambition. But also in line with the ambitions of Amsterdam Innovation Arena.

A goal of becoming the most innovative stadium in the world. That is quite a statement.

Henk van Raan, director of Amsterdam Innovation Arena: “It certainly is. But setting the bar high is the only way to reach our target.” And the ambition does not stop there. Amsterdam ArenA not only aspires to becoming the most innovative sports venue in the world, but also the one with the best customer experience, the highest level of safety and a top performer in terms of durability, low-energy consumption and crowd mobility. Ultimately, its goal is to serve as a role model for the city, its know-how and expertise contributing to the creation of smart cities.

Looking ahead to the 2020 European Soccer Championship, involving all kinds of different parties, active in their own specific fields of expertise, what is the roadmap for achieving these targets?

Van Raan: “First of all, we will have to think in terms of an ecosystem. There are so many different organizations working together in a “living lab” – the city of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Smart City, big companies like Microsoft, KPN, BAM, Philips Lighting, KPMG, Huawei and Nissan, alongside start-ups and small businesses. Working this way will serve as an accelerator to our innovative abilities, but only if we ensure optimal cooperation. KPMG has provided a data & governance platform that not only serves the needs of all parties involved, but also contributes to targeted experiments and faster innovation, with each other and side by side with one another. ”

How can you become data driven when all parties have their own, not necessarily communicating data and their own, not necessarily corresponding analyses?

Van Raan: “That is exactly where KPMG comes in. Normally, the integration – and transformation into workable entities – of completely different data is a very time-consuming and costly process, because it requires linking different systems.

Thanks to KPMG’s KAVE on AZURE, we don’t have to worry about that. KAVE by KPMG is an open source platform. Broadly speaking, you simply dump all your data into KAVE, however divergent they may be, and using an integrated system of analysis tools and applications you can immediately extract much more value from those data. Faster, more efficient and extremely cost-effective. That is how we will become ever more data driven. With unprejudiced information telling us what to do, we can continually develop new services, with faster decisions on how to reach our objectives and the assurance of achieving what we set out to do: making Amsterdam ArenA the most innovative stadium in the world by 2020. That is a tremendously exciting prospect.”

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