Go to our on-demand library to view VB Transform 2023 sessions. Register here
Another day in the year 2023, another highly successful AI partnership is announced: this time it’s Cohere, the red-hot Canadian generative AI startup focused on building large language (LLM) models and tools of enterprise-level, and McKinsey, the 97 global consulting firm, where half of its 30,000 employees were already using generation AI as of last month.
The collaboration will be led by QuantumBlack, McKinsey’s AI division responsible for employing thousands of experts in fields such as data engineering, data science, product management, and software design and development.
Together, Cohere and McKinsey plan to offer enterprise-grade, secure generative AI solutions tailored to the needs of McKinsey customers, including cloud and on-premises AI software that will safeguard a customer’s data. Among McKinsey’s New York-based clientele have been some of the largest companies in the United States and the world, including GM, Ford, ExxonPepsi Co. and American Express — most of the Fortune 100. However, the company has also raised controversy for allegedly exacerbating socioeconomic inequalities and work with companies contribute most to greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re moving from discussing productivity and growth opportunities to capturing value on the ground, day after day,” says Ben Ellencweig, senior partner at McKinsey and global leader of alliances and acquisitions for QuantumBlack.
The collaboration will define Generative AI use cases, design a comprehensive IT architecture, develop and train AI models, build employee capabilities, and implement necessary organizational changes, all with the goal of evolving to meet the needs of customers.
A logical partnership
Toronto-based Cohere has seen a meteoric rise in its profile and funding in recent months as business leaders rush to embrace AI with more security measures in place beyond those currently offered through consumer-facing models. consumers like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Anthropic’s Claude 2.
However, OpenAI proponent Microsoft is moving fast to incorporate OpenAI technology such as ChatGPT and the underlying GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 models into its enterprise-grade products, launching the Azure OpenAI service for government last month and just today, announcing an AI copilot for sales-oriented businesses. OpenAI is also forging alliances to get more companies to use its technology in exchange for access to their data, announcing partnerships with the Associated Press and American Journalism Project in the past two weeks.
In contrast, Cohere is a newcomer to the enterprise tech space. Co-founded by Aidan Gomez, a Google Brain alumnus, and Martin Kon, just four years ago, Cohere says it’s committed to transforming businesses with its internal AI models. Cohere says it can support AI services on the cloud provider of its choice or entirely on-premises, depending on the customer’s privacy and security needs.
The company recently announced a $270 million funding round with a valuation of over $2 billion, reached an apparent deal to supply enterprise generative AI to Oracle, and has offices in Toronto, San Francisco, and London.
“Our approach is agnostic and cloud-agnostic, enabling companies to deploy AI solutions on their cloud of choice, or even on-premises,” said Martin Kon, COO and president of Cohere, in a statement. “Data privacy, data security, and personalization are key to creating strategic differentiation and real business value.”
Initial case studies show promising results
Some companies have already begun to reap the benefits of this collaboration. An anonymous financial services group used generative AI to handle routine customer feedback in over 100 languages, significantly reducing customer wait times.
Generative AI is helping another McKinsey customer with product development by synthesizing product requirements and previous designs, which the companies say has resulted in significant savings and faster time to market.
“Cohere’s technology will enable McKinsey and its customers to enhance a company’s internal document search and discovery capabilities,” the companies shared in a joint press release.
In addition to current capabilities, tools are being developed to automate processes by linking AI models to third-party apps.
With generative AI rapidly moving from a topic of curiosity to a practical tool for value creation, the alliance represents one of the biggest moves so far in enterprise-grade AI.
VentureBeat’s mission it is to be a digital city square for technical decision makers to gain insights into transformative business technology and transactions. Discover our Briefings.