Industry consultants may soon face a new kind of competition: artificial intelligence. AI is already replacing menial tasks in retail and manufacturing. Other fields such as finance, marketing, and human resource management are increasingly finding use of AI-based solutions for achieving faster results and more accurate analysis. High-profile consultancies too may start to feel the heat soon. Technology vendors are developing AI frameworks from Microsoft and Google to automate tasks usually executed by consulting firms. The market for corporate advice in the US alone is estimated at nearly $60 billion. The cost to hire consultancy firms is much higher vis-à-vis AI performing the same job.
What Does AI Offer As a Consultant
When it comes to businesses and their respective consumers, consultants are responsible for identifying patterns and providing relevant industry analysis. AI is able to quickly analyze these patterns and create algorithms for faster encoding. Technologies such as machine learning, deep learning, and crowd computing can perform expert analysis on data it receives.
Amazon’s Alexa is a great example of what AI can do in financial consulting. Thanks to the partnership between Amazon and UBS Wealth Management, Alexa is able to answer financial and economic questions based on the information from UBS’ chief investment office. But, Alexa is set to offer even more sophisticated and complex services in the future. She could soon make valuable market analysis, set important appointments, or even buy and sell stocks. Fund company Blackrock is also embracing AI abilities, employing algorithms and models in choosing stocks for their actively managed mutual funds. Stock brokers and financial consultants’ expertise are pitted against what AI and Big Data can offer in growing investments.
Applications in Other Industries
Finance isn’t the only industry that can benefit from AI. The ability of AI to absorb and crunch humongous amount of information makes it a prime candidate suited for complex decision making in corporate functions such as marketing, human resources, and planning and strategy. Although consultants can offer personalized and insightful advice, AI is competitive in terms of providing informative data analysis and presentation. An AI-based solution can gather, process, and analyze the data needed to come up with an effective solution.
AI can also save stakeholders a lot of time and money. Machine learning application and AI can analyze all kinds of data and provide the necessary insights in less time compared to a team that will have to read through, compute, and properly present their insights. AI can also be a good candidate for human resource management solutions. Even if the hiring process is objective and due diligence performed, there is always a chance of bias creeping in. This is because ultimately the humans drive the process. An AI-based solution at the helm can ensure all applicants and employees get a fair chance without any human bias.
Companies such as Harley-Davidson use AI to assess what worked across their marketing channels. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are veterans in utilizing AI to improve customer engagement and better understand their respective markets. With AI getting better at performing complex tasks and roles, consultants would need to increase their offerings and value proposition. Else, they might soon find themselves staring down at the wrong end of the spectrum.