Euan Cameron – goes on Management consulting 1

AI, Professional Services and the Next Generation

Dr Matthew Howard is a director of AI at Deloitte in the UK.

In his role, Matthew looks at how AI technology can benefit clients in the professional services space and within Deloitte’s own business. In this blog, he outlines the opportunities and challenges facing professional services in implementing AI.

‘For professional services, the real value of AI – aside from how it can help work internally – is how consultants can build services on top of often pre-existing technology platforms.’

Read more about what Matthew considers the main challenges and opportunities for professional services firms in their approach to AI implementation below.

AI is a broad umbrella that will impact a broad range of processes and industries – everything from language translation to medical advice.

In an industry that relies on understanding vast amounts of data every day, AI can offer significant productivity benefits to professional services firms. Being able to correlate that data and make it meaningful – fast – is one of the most attractive advantages of AI. This is especially true as information analysis becomes increasingly commoditised and firms have to prove they are using the very best technology in order to win and retain clients.

That’s not to say AI isn’t without its challenges. Investment needs to be focused in the right place at the right time, in order to generate value for the business. Whilst initial applications of AI will focus on processing data, in time it will evolve to address to increasingly complex applications and return insights for business. Firms must ensure that they understand the technology as it evolves, and invest where it matters most, in order to reap in the rewards.

The more repetitive work that can be assigned to AI the better, because that empowers humans to add value instead with their creativity, empathy and emotion – all of which are key to interpretation. It also frees up employee’s time to do more valuable and often more interesting tasks.

‘Firms must ensure that they understand the technology as it evolves, and invest where it matters most, in order to reap in the rewards.’

This is a critical area. The skills profile of the individuals we recruit into professional services is changing. We are seeing an increased need for not only traditional management consulting and accounting skills, but increasingly also data scientists and coders, as well as those with critical communication and project management expertise. We also need to have a greater understanding of how technologies are changing the work place in order to understand what skills are needed for the future. The professional services industry is not alone in this issue. Businesses, educators and policy makers need to work together to understand how people can be prepared for the changes facing the workforce.

AI is going to change the way we all work and live our lives. Those professional services firm who are ready to embrace the disruption – have the ability to be the winners in this.


Author: Dr Matthew Howard, Director Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive, Deloitte UK