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McKinsey and Company, the global consulting firm with more than 30,000 employees in 67 countriesis embracing new generative AI tools in a major way: nearly 50% of the company’s workforce uses ChatGPT and similar technologies.
“Approximately half (of our employees) use these services with permission from McKinsey,” said Ben Ellencweig, senior partner and leader of alliances and acquisitions at Quantum Black, the firm’s AI consulting arm, during a media event at McKinsey’s New York Experience Studio on Tuesday.
Ellencweig pointed out that McKinsey had protective barriers for employees using generative AI, including “guidelines and principles” about what information workers could input into these services.
“We don’t upload confidential information,” Ellencweig said.
As for what exact AI services McKinsey employees use and for what purposes, the speakers were left in awe.
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However, another speaker at the event, Alex Singla, also a senior partner and global leader at QuantumBlack, implied that McKinsey was testing most of the major generative AI services: “For all the major players, our engineers li they all have in a sandbox, (and are) playing with them every day,” he said.
Ellencweig and Singla were joined in Tuesday’s roundtable on artificial intelligence by Jacky Wright, another senior partner at McKinsey and the company’s chief technology and platform officer. The discussion was moderated by Ryan Heath, global technology correspondent at Axios. Other journalists present among the dozens present at the event included representatives of The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and other major media.
Speakers shared anecdotes about their own experiences with AI tools, as well as those of customers, including cautionary tales.
Singla described how one client, whose name was not disclosed, was involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Employees used ChatGPT and asked him, “What would you think if Company X bought Company Y?”
“You don’t want to do it with a publicly accessible model,” Singles said, though she didn’t explain why not.
The Four Cs: How McKinsey Customers Are Using Generative AI
Ellencweig offered examples, which he called “the four Cs,” of how McKinsey’s clients and the companies it researches currently use generative AI. These are:
- Coding: Ellencweig said some McKinsey client software developers have seen productivity gains of 35-55% using ChatGPT and similar tools.
- Customer Engagement: Some companies are using generative AI to deliver more personalized interactions with customers.
- Creative Content Generation: Marketing companies are already using generative AI to streamline their content generation processes and to refine their audience segments, moving closer to a “segment of one,” i.e. personalized marketing for each individual .
- Content Synthesis: Businesses are using Generative AI to combine different data points and services in new ways.
McKinsey’s recommended 5-step approach to enterprise generation AI
For companies where leaders are still wondering how to approach generative AI in a safe, secure, and intelligent way, Singlela suggested using a five-step framework.
- IT stack and infrastructure: “Before the model is built and you create these great insights, you need to think about your IT stack and infrastructure” and where the AI tools and data will be located: “in the cloud or in your infrastructure?”
- Data: Will you use structured or unstructured data? Will you use your own data, first-party data, third-party data, or a combination thereof? How will you organize this data? What protections does each of these require?
- Choosing the Right AI Model: Which LLMs or Generative AI tools will your company use and why? Deciding this “is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient by itself,” said Singla.
- UI and UX: Single cited ChatGPT’s simple interface as key to its popularity. “Anyone can use it, whether you’re eight years old or 80.”
- Change Management: How can your organization ensure that those using AI will be supported, have their questions answered, and see their job roles changed by AI?
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