IBM Consulting to deliver new generative AI offering with Microsoft

23 August 2023 4 min. read

Global technology advisory IBM Consulting has expanded its collaboration with Microsoft as the firm looks to bolster its new line of AI services. The alliance will produce a new IBM Consulting Azure OpenAI service offering, to help businesses strategise and define opportunities for the use of AI within their firm.

Generative AI is a type of AI system designed to generating text, images, or other media in response to text prompts – learning patterns and structure of their input training data, and then generate new data that has similar characteristics. While debate is raging about the potential for violating intellectual property, and undercutting the creative industry that this presents, businesses are enthusiastic about the opportunities this presents to put out as much content as possible, for less money.

Businesses optimism around the world rose significantly in early 2023, with the hype around generative AI leading many to invest in the technology with the expectation it would yield positive results in next to no time. Recent studies have suggested that generative AI in particular could help the UK economy find £31 billion in efficiency savings and productivity gains. But realising this potential still requires external expertise and support for many firms.

IBM Consulting to deliver new generative AI offering with Microsoft

Despite the broad consensus that artificial intelligence will transform most industries in the decades ahead, many of companies which that have invested in the technology have failed to unlock its potential. In fact, Boston Consulting Group research has shown that only 11% of companies have released ‘significant value’ from AI investments, while the majority have failed to scale AI beyond pilots.

As was the case with the big data, cryptocurrency and metaverse gold rushes before, this is seeing a growing number of consulting firms growing services which they profess will help clients tap ‘the true potential’ of AI. In June 2023, IBM Consulting joined the likes of CognizantBain & Company and KPMG in the field – rolling out a centre of excellence for generative AI to help clients realise value from the technology with the support of the IBM group’s partner ecosystem as well as the newly announced IBM Watsonx, the firm’s next-generation platform for AI and data.

Adding to this, IBM is now expanding its collaboration with Microsoft to help joint clients accelerate the deployment of generative AI. The new IBM Consulting Azure OpenAI Service offering is available on Azure Marketplace, and provides a fully managed AI service that allows developers and data scientists to apply powerful large language models, including their GPT and Codex series. It aims to help businesses define an adoption strategy and an initial set of specific and value-add generative AI use cases.

“Businesses are looking for responsible ways to adopt and integrate multi-model generative AI solutions that augment the work their teams are doing in areas such as creative content and code creation, content summarisation and search,” said Francesco Brenna, global VP for the Microsoft practice at IBM Consulting. “Our work with Microsoft is another example of IBM’s open ecosystem model designed to bring value to clients while helping them responsibly build and scale generative AI across their businesses.”

As part of the new solution, enterprise customers will also have access to IBM Consulting experts, including 21,000 data, AI and experience consultants, who can help them effectively implement generative AI models to advance their business transformation.

In addition, IBM and Microsoft have been collaborating around AI, leveraging IBM Consulting skills and Azure OpenAI Service to create potential solutions and address specific use cases. These include: procurement and source to pay, using AI to help businesses automate the highly manual and fragmented sourcing and procurement process as well as drive new insights about their supply chain; summarisation and content generation, helping financial institutions explore how generative AI can accelerate the development of personalised content for their customers through summarisation; and streamlining in healthcare, leveraging AI to offer a solution that is designed to automatically ingest and analyse complex medical records.