Management Consultants vs. Artificial Intelligence

Last month, The Economist published a special report on AI technology in the workplace.  One article (“AI providers will increasingly compete with management consultancies”) reported on how some of the big cloud providers are creating consulting services that could compete with traditional firms.  By leveraging cloud technology, these companies are developing a suite of tools for their customers to design their own custom AI solutions, and offering consulting services to help customers achieve it.  It’s an approach that could have a profound impact on ‘traditional’ IT consultancies, especially those that lack technical expertise in AI.  One analyst quipped;

consultancies are built for two-by-two matrices, AI’s matrices are a million by a million.

The article also eluded to future IT environments requiring a multiple-vendor ecosystem, an area where Integris Applied has a particular expertise that we’re continually evolving.  Organizations with a strong platform for onboarding and managing multiple IT providers could take advantage of smaller niche AI service providers for their needs (supply chain, human resources, and call centers to name a few).

I must admit that my self-deprecating sense of humor enjoyed to be poked fun at as being a “vulnerable generalist.”  Consultancies need to continually acquire expertise (such as AI and multi-vendor sourcing platforms) to best serve clients’ needs.  The current limitations of AI may not be a substitute for a traditional consultants expertise, but data-driven analytics may prove to be extremely beneficial to assisting human decision making.  To that effect the article served as both a wake-up call on future competition and a reminder that even ‘experts’ must be always learning.

– Jon Crawford, April 2018 – [bio]