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The generative AI announcements are coming fast and furious these days, but among the biggest in terms of sheer dollar commitments just landed: Accenture, the global professional services and consulting giant, today announced it will invest $3 billion (with a “b”!) in AI over the next three years in building out its team of AI professionals and AI-focused solutions for its clients.
“There is unprecedented interest in all areas of AI, and the substantial investment we are making in our Data & AI practice will help our clients move from interest to action to value, and in a responsible way with clear business cases,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s chairwoman and CEO.
The announcement includes a host of new initiatives designed to assist Accenture and its enterprise customers in developing new strategies, operating models, business cases and digital core architecture they will need to capitalize on AI innovation.
Where the money is going
Accenture said it will double the size of its Data & AI practice team from 40,000 employees at present to 80,000 through a combination of hiring, training and — key for AI-focused startups — acquisitions. Accenture’s total workforce is 738,000 people, according to recent reports, meaning AI professionals would constitute about 10% of the company’s total workforce following this team buildout.
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Accenture further announced its AI Navigator for Enterprise, a new platform that will work with clients to define their AI business cases and choose architectures/models to drive value responsibly. It will “invest in new and existing relationships across its industry-leading cloud, data and AI ecosystems” and allow clients to leverage existing AI models — presumably some of the popular large language models (LLMs) currently being used by millions — as well as new “dynamic virtual environments that can adapt with real-world changes.”
The Dublin, Ireland-headquartered firm said it will set up data and AI readiness accelerators across 19 industries.
To advance uses of generative AI, Accenture launched a new Center for Advanced AI for clients and within Accenture. The Center will include R&D and investments to reimagine service delivery using generative and other emerging AI capabilities.
“Over the next decade, AI will be a mega-trend, transforming industries, companies and the way we live and work, as generative AI transforms 40% of all working hours,” said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive, Accenture Technology. “Our expanded Data & AI practice brings together the full power and breadth of Accenture in creating industry-specific solutions that will help our clients harness AI’s full potential to reshape their strategy, technology and ways of working, driving innovation and value responsibly and faster than ever before.”
A big wave among a froth of capital investment
Accenture’s huge investment in AI comes on the heels of similarly big AI product announcements from software leaders such as Salesforce, Oracle and ServiceNow. In fact, at Salesforce’s AI Cloud announcement event in New York City yesterday, Accenture was touted as one of Salesforce’s top clients that could benefit from new Salesforce AI products and services.
What does Accenture’s new gigantic financial commitment mean for these types of relationships with other companies, like Salesforce, that are seeking to provide their own AI tools to clients? On the one hand, some of the money could flow into the pockets of Accenture’s partners, but on the other hand, they could find themselves competing with other Accenture AI investments and AI models.
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