Generative AI in Consulting

Generative AI in Consulting
18 April 2023 James O'Dowd
In Journal

Artificial intelligence has revolutionised the business world, particularly in consulting. In fact, you’ve probably heard the term ‘generative AI’ plenty this year. Its influence on the industry is huge, so let’s look at why.

Simply put, AI is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, like speech recognition, decision making, and language translation.

Generative AI does just that: it generates new content, such as images, videos, and text. With the right prompt strategy, technology like this has incredible potential for business leaders within consulting. Already, executives are working constantly to figure out how to better integrate it into their operations.

What’s the point of Generative AI?

One of its main benefits is creativity: machine learning is not a new concept, but the kind of AI we are talking about here can pull information from more than one source and come up with truly creative content. In strategy consulting, this is particularly beneficial, where innovative and original solutions are essential for complex business problems.

It’s also a way for firms to save time and money. They can use generative AI to automate repetitive tasks, generate reports and presentations, quickly and accurately (DALL-E is a cool model to look at, developed by OpenAI!). This frees up consultants’ time to focus on higher-level tasks, like analysing data and developing new strategies for new and existing clients.

So how do we apply all these strategies? A key way to integrate generative AI into the business is data analysis. Consulting firms can use generative AI to analyse large amounts of data quickly and accurately, allowing them to identify patterns and trends at an impressive speed. This can help consultants make more informed and data-driven decisions.

Imagine a data set of thousands of responses to a survey. A data analyst would read through this feedback and interpret it, trying to identify trends and overall sentiment. Generative AI can not only do this, but go further and come up with effective strategies for communicating to these customers. This doesn’t mean complete automation, of course—strategic professionals especially will understand how to use these capabilities within their teams.

OpenAI Partnerships

As mentioned, businesses are scrambling to integrate AI into their operations, and how they serve their clients. Big consulting players, for example, are wasting no time in capitalising on all its uses—both Bain and BCG have announced partnerships with OpenAI, a leading AI research institute and the creator of our favorite, chatGPT.

These partnerships will work to explore how GPT-3 (GPT-4 and later iterations) can be used to improve their capabilities. BCG, for one, have set up the Center for Responsible Generative AI within the newly formed BCG X, with dedicated teams supporting their clients in realizing the power of OpenAI technologies. Bain works in a similar fashion, integrating AI into its digital offering to clients, driving innovation from the front.

Risks and Ethical Concerns

It’s time to also talk about risks. There are already concerns mounting with the use of AI. We’ve all seen generated images, all artificial, deepfakes, and unreliable content. What’s stopping a willing actor to use these abilities for malicious purposes? There’s also pushback on the regulatory front: AI is being developed faster than it can be regulated, which is always a question mark for regulatory bodies.

These concerns may well be valid, but that should not drive an entirely fearful attitude towards AI. Through responsible use, business will see incredible innovation. Professionals can make more informed decisions, focus on strategic development of their practices and client work, and take a big picture approach to the biggest challenges in business.

What do you think? How does the current state of AI leave you feeling?

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