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Most IT companies around the world are investing heavily in AI this year. Accenture recently published a study on generative AI, titled ‘A New Era of Generative AI for Everyone‘, which the company claims is an in-depth study of generative AI/LLM that provides actionable insights on how leaders can best use this disruptive technology.
When asked how Accenture is using generative AI at the backend to automate processes, the company said that it has established a company-wide generative AI and large language model (LLM) center of excellence. This team brings together 1,600 professionals dedicated to generative AI and leverages the depth and experience of more than 40,000 AI and data professionals across Accenture.
Additionally, Accenture has made significant acquisitions worldwide when it comes to AI. According to data from Accenture, the company has invested in a total of 11 AI-related businesses, of which three are from India: Flutura, Bridgei2i, and Byte Prophecy, with Flutura being the most recent investment.
While Flutura is an AI solutions provider that specialises in the industrial and engineering sectors, Bridgei2i is a data and analytics solutions company that provides services in the areas of marketing, sales, and customer experience. Byte Prophecy is an AI consulting and services company that provides solutions in the areas of data science, natural language processing, computer vision, and predictive analytics.
Other acquisitions include, ALBERT in Japan, Analytics8 in Australia, Sentelis in France, Pragsis Bidoop in Spain, Mudano in the UK, Clarity Insights, End-to-End Analytics, and Core Compete in the United States.
Generative AI: A passing fad?
A couple of years ago, most IT companies were excited about blockchain and how it would impact businesses. While releasing financial reports, almost every IT company claimed that they would be releasing products based on blockchain technology.
Similarly, IT companies started making tall claims around Metaverse, with Accenture’s study under Technology Vision by Accenture, titled ‘Meet Me in the Metaverse‘, which talks about how the Metaverse will impact the industry as a whole and how the industry will adapt to the Metaverse. This study reflects the unpleasant familiarity with its recently published study on generative AI.
The speculation that IT companies may just be chasing the trends of the season gets strength when we don’t see any major announcements and follow ups from them. While OpenAI recently suggested that “it would be great for IT companies to internally build tools that can automate tasks, improve code quality and software development, and enhance developer productivity, making coding more accessible”, we are yet to see any major announcements from these companies.
Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot has already demonstrated significant improvements in developer productivity by enabling code debugging and other features. And while we have heard about some Indian IT companies adopting IBM CodeNet, there is still just a lot of buzz around generative AI in the IT industry, instead of actual announcements.
Accenture, too, did not provide much details about the model or the method they are using to automate the process at the backend, and instead went for a generic “creating a team of AI professionals” response to AIM’s queries.
The Struggle between Profit and People
Indian IT companies are presenting a very unique picture during the recession. It shows the struggle between maintaining quarterly results and a headcount ratio. If they chose to pick one, the other has suffers. A big dilemma indeed.
For instance, the Q4 results of TCS and Infosys, two of the largest Indian IT companies, are out; and both brought disappointment to the market analyst. While they focused heavily on reducing attrition rates and gained appreciation from the market for not firing their employees, they faced a rather bad quarter result.
While TCS and Infosys focused on maintaining headcounts, Accenture, another IT giant˘, reported a major revenue growth. The IT company reported revenue of $15.8 billion, beating its own guidance of $15.2-15.75 billion. This is an increase of 5 per cent in US dollars and 9 per cent in local currency– but in QoQ, the company reported revenue growth of 0.6%, which although better than Infosys’ -3.2%, however lesser than TCS’ reported revenue growth of 10.7%.
The company, however, came under fire for deciding to lay off more than 19,000 of its employees, presenting a rather stronger quarterly report.
While justifying the layoff, Accenture told AIM that while the people impact is estimated to be 2.5% of our current global workforce, it should not be taken as a figure applicable to all geographies.