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AI development is significantly impacting IT consulting

KPMG consultants got suggestions from students on how to make use of artificial intelligence.
Opiskelijat Eljas Pajamies ja Markus Nieminen (oik.) pitämässä tekoälytyöpajaa KPMG:llä
Students Eljas Pajamies and Markus Nieminen (on the right) carried out an AI workshop for consultants of KPMG.

Technological development is opening up more and more opportunities for applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in business life. Companies across the board, from manufacturing to health care, are thinking through the potential and demands for success in artificial intelligence projects. Answers are often sought from consultants, whose competence has to be top-class.

In an Aalto University student business project, Master's students Markus Nieminen and Eljas Pajamies examined the understanding of artificial intelligence in the KPMG IT Advisory Unit and made recommendations for improving it. The study focused on the impacts of AI for business and on internal communications regarding AI competence.

‘The challenge of artificial intelligence is its ambiguity. People have different ideas about what artificial intelligence ultimately is. This is why communication is essential,’ explains researcher Juho-Petteri Huhtala from the Department of Marketing at the School of Business.

The study was conducted by interviewing a total of 12 KPMG consultants and experts from consulting companies focusing on artificial intelligence. In addition, the students carried out a literature review of the academic literature and studies on artificial intelligence. Based on these, the students compiled a report to support the KPMG strategy and carried out an artificial intelligence workshop for consultants. The aim of the workshop was to increase understanding of AI applications in the different fields where KPMG operates.

‘The project succeeded in tackling real issues and the question of where the organisation should start from. The field of artificial intelligence as a whole was made more familiar to participants by encouraging them to use a thinking model and different tools based on AI. The final report gathered comprehensive information and proposals that could be utilised in the further development of the AI strategy at KPMG,’ says Pei Zhou-Sivunen, who was responsible for the project on the KPMG side.

‘Through the project, we gained the opportunity to deepen the strategic utilisation of AI technologies in IT consulting. In addition, we got a good picture of the business of a large consulting company from the inside and learned to understand how new technologies are utilised in top management consulting companies,’ the students said.

The Customized Student Business Projects concept offers students the opportunity to work on solving current challenges faced by corporate business, giving the assigning company the possibility to develop and spar new ideas together with the students.

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