IBM Consulting CoE to help clients explore generative AI

Clients will also have access to technology from IBM’s partner ecosystem as well as the newly announced IBM watsonx, its next-gen platform for AI and data

IBM Consulting has announced it has established a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Generative AI with over 1,000 consultants with specialised generative AI expertise to help transform global clients’ core business processes like supply chain, finance and talent, as well as customer experiences and IT operations. 

IBM Consulting has already been helping dozens of clients use generative AI, from The Masters to Mitsui Chemicals, building on its years of experience with enterprise-grade AI – to date, 21,000 data and AI consultants have conducted over 40,000 enterprise client engagements. Clients will also have access to technology from IBM’s partner ecosystem as well as the newly announced IBM watsonx, the company’s next-generation platform for AI and data designed to scale and accelerate the impact of the most advanced AI with trusted data. 

As John Granger, Senior Vice President at IBM Consulting, explains, the CoE is off to a fast start. 

“In 2023 alone, IBM Consulting has interacted with more than 100 clients and completed dozens of engagements infusing generative AI alongside classical machine learning AI strategies,” Granger said. “Examples include delivering AI-generated spoken sports commentary to millions of fans at The Masters, combining generative AI with IBM Watson® to verify the discovery of new applications of Mitsui Chemicals products and applying generative AI in the customer relationship process at Bouygues Telecom.
“In our early work applying foundation models, IBM Consulting has seen some clients experience up to 70% acceleration in time-to-value with foundation models, as compared to traditional AI approaches.”

The rapid growth of generative AI

Generative AI has progressed quickly beyond experimentation; businesses are embracing it to improve customer service, seize new market opportunities and more. IDC estimates the AI Services market will grow from approximately US$36bn in 2023 to approximately US$65bn in 2026. 

“At the same time, there are reasonable concerns about how to mitigate bias, manage data security, and factor in precision and risk,” Granger said. “Our years of AI experience show us that getting to enterprise AI at scale requires a composable, multi-model strategy and a human-centric, principled approach.”

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value survey found surveyed executives report their organisations are using generative AI in finance (34%), HR (41%), supply chain (45%), marketing and sales (40%), customer service (57%), and IT services and technology (63%). Generative AI can help automate routine tasks so workers can focus on higher-value activities, augmenting staff with innovative capabilities like creative content and code creation, content summarization and search. Executives reported they expect nearly half (48%) of the staff in their organisation will use generative AI to augment their daily tasks in the next year. 

Proven methods and a culture of AI innovation 

As Granger describes, the CoE will use the full generative AI technology stack, including foundation models and 50+ domain-specific classical machine learning accelerators aimed at helping clients improve productivity and foster innovation. “We will also use IBM’s proprietary  AI “advisor” toolkit in IBM Consulting to improve our internal operations and client delivery. In addition, the CoE will develop new solutions and assets with clients and partners, leveraging the pipeline of generative AI innovations from IBM Research.  

“With IBM Garage for Generative AI, IBM consultants apply a proven, collaborative method to help clients fast-track innovation in the emerging category of foundation models for generative AI. That includes rapid use case ideation and prioritisation, an open, multi-model approach to selecting architectures and training and fine tuning and scaling models to unique business needs.”

IBM Consulting and watsonx 

IBM watsonx3, the company’s next generation platform for AI and data, is designed to enable enterprises to scale and accelerate the impact of the most advanced AI with trusted data. “In the same way that we established our successful Hybrid Cloud services business built on the Red Hat® OpenShift® platform, IBM Consulting intends to be the leading consulting services provider for watsonx,” Granger adds. “IBM Consulting plans to build a watsonx-focused practice to serve clients with deep expertise in the full generative AI technology stack like foundation models, AIOps, DataOps and AI governance mechanisms, while we also scale our consulting business with partners.”

An open ecosystem approach to AI 

IBM Consulting takes an open and collaborative approach to plan, build, implement and operate generative AI solutions that embrace multiple models on multiple clouds from industry leaders. "An open ecosystem approach helps our clients define the right models and the right architecture to deliver the best outcomes," Granger added. "IBM Consulting has unique skills in IBM technology but also works closely with a diverse AI partner ecosystem, including Adobe, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, open source technologies and more, to help ensure clients benefit from the technology solution that best meets their needs. 

"Recent research from the IBM Institute for Business Value shows that 79% of executives say their organisation is challenged with ensuring their AI models are responsible, secure, and free from discrimination and bias. The new CoE builds on IBM Consulting’s decades of industry and domain experience helping some of the largest organisations in the world transform their mission-critical processes. Our consultants have developed deep skills in applying an ethically responsible approach to AI and working alongside AI to deliver business value. Our capabilities are recognized in the industry -- IBM was just named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Services 2023 Vendor Assessment for the second time."

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