OpenAI selects Bain & Company for innovative partnership

23 February 2023 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

Bain & Company has announced a new partnership with OpenAI, helping its clients integrate the technology developer’s innovations into daily tasks, reducing waste and supercharging productivity. The news comes as businesses across all industries weigh up how AI technology might boost their operations.

OpenAI is an American artificial intelligence research laboratory. Since its launch in 2015, OpenAI has leveraged systems running on the world’s fifth most powerful supercomputer, to conduct research in the pursuit of developing user-friendly AI tools.

This has seen OpenAI involved in the creation of several of the world’s most famous AI systems, including image generator DALL·E, language-to-code generator Codex, and most recently ChatGPT. Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is built on top of OpenAI's GPT-3 family of large language models, and has been fine-tuned using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques. This has produced an AI chatbot that allows for human-like conversations, and much more.

OpenAI selects Bain & Company for innovative partnership

The perceived potential of OpenAI has seen it become the fastest growing app of all time. Analysis from Swiss bank UBS suggests that after just two months, ChatGPT had 100 million users – something which took TikTok nine months. However, this is partially due to the app still being free to use, as it is in its research phase.

CEO Sam Altman has previously stated that even though the average cost of each ChatGPT response was down to "single-digits cents", he has stated that its "eye-watering" computing costs mean ChatGPT will need to be monetised in the future. If it is to maintain the meteoric growth of its technologies at that point, OpenAI will need to find ways to tap into demand from the businesses around the world.

Firms are already considering how they might deploy the technology – from generating copy and images, to providing customer services advice – but they will need support to get the most out of it. That’s where Bain & Company comes in. The strategy consulting giant has penned a new global services alliance with OpenAI, and will work together to bring OpenAI’s capabilities to Bain’s clients around the world.

Manny Maceda, Bain’s Worldwide Managing Partner, commented, “AI has reached an inflection point and we foresee a huge wave of change and innovation for our clients across industries. By collaborating with OpenAI, we’re delighted to have unmatched access to state-of-the-art foundation AI models, so that we can create tailored digital solutions for our clients and help them realise business value.”

Leading integration

Bain is one of the world’s three largest strategy consultancies, a group known collectively as MBB, alongside McKinsey & Company, and Boston Consulting Group. OpenAI’s selection may come as a surprise to some followers of the MBB, as McKinsey’s AI consultancy Quantum Black and BCG’s proprietary AI platforms meant many saw the pair as leading strategy brands in the field. However, a release from Bain heralding its OpenAI partnership notes that the alliance builds on the firm’s adoption of OpenAI technologies for its own, 18,000-strong, multi-disciplinary team of knowledge workers – something which may have given it the edge over its competitors.

Over the past year, Bain has embedded OpenAI technologies within its internal knowledge management systems, research, and processes – helping to both improve its own efficiency, and help it understand how to do the same for its clients. Now, Bain will do just that, combining its digital implementation capabilities and strategic expertise with OpenAI’s AI tools and platforms, including ChatGPT, to help businesses around the world identify and implement the value of AI.

“OpenAI’s technology combined with Bain’s expertise will enable massive business transformation within the Fortune 5,000. Bain’s internal adoption of this technology is also setting a standard for their clients to follow,” noted Zack Kass, Head of Go-To-Market at OpenAI.

The alliance is already attracting interest from some of the world’s largest corporations – with Bain announcing the Coca-Cola Company as the first client to engage with its OpenAI services. In particular, a statement confirmed that Coca-Cola was looking to harness the power of ChatGPT and DALL·E to improve its already brands, marketing, and consumer experiences.

“We are excited to unleash the next generation of creativity offered by this rapidly emerging technology,” added James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “We see opportunities to enhance our marketing through cutting-edge AI, along with exploring ways to improve our business operations and capabilities.”