Deloitte’s Big Bets On Google Generative AI, ‘Proactive’ Workforce Transformation

“[Generative AI] feels like an evolution that has not happened before in terms of the scope, but also the pace at which things are moving. The capabilities of the technology are real,” said Deloitte’s Gopal Srinivasan.

With over 10,000 professionals at Deloitte working to help customers migrate to Google Cloud, the consulting and IT services giant is building new generative AI solutions with Google to drive new opportunities for enterprises around the world.

“Clearly, we are at an inflection point in terms of technology evolution and AI in general,” said longtime Deloitte executive Gopal Srinivasan, who leads Generative AI for the Alphabet Google alliance. “Generative AI is pulling forward the entire discipline of AI. Google and Deloitte have been working ahead of several things that are now coming out in public.”

The $59 billion New York City-based company is doubling down on Google Cloud as Google launches a slew of partner recourses and new generative AI products across its large portfolio.

[Related: Why Google Cloud Bests AWS, Microsoft In Generative AI: Kevin Ichhpurani]

“A lot of the benefit of generative AI is about augmenting human capability and advancing it. So that also requires humans to relearn the way they do things,” said Srinivasan (pictured). “These technologies allow you to drive more productivity, but it’s also going to require proactive workforce transformation.”

Deloitte Expands Google Cloud Partnership For Generative AI

This month, the two IT giants expanded their partnership aimed at building and scaling AI solutions as Deloitte’s Generative AI practice rapidly grows.

Google Cloud’s worldwide partner leader Kevin Ichhpurani told CRN that his cloud company is forming a tighter relationship with Deloitte around engineering and go-to-market in order to bring Google’s generative AI capabilities to enterprises in every industry.

“Together, we’re now helping clients really bring together real-world use cases for generative AI. We’re helping retailers create completely new customer experiences; helping consumer product companies rethink the way they do marketing—you’re seeing very disruptive use cases in the market right now,” Ichhpurani told CRN. “We oftentimes need to adapt the model for the customers’ individual use cases. Deloitte has the expertise to do that, as well as the ongoing change management that is going to be required for the enterprise.”

Deloitte’s new Generative AI Practice helps customers harness the power of AI and foundation models to boost productivity and drive business innovation, with a big focus on workforce transformation and trustworthy AI.

“This feels like an evolution that has not happened before in terms of the scope, but also the pace at which things are moving,” said Srinivasan, who has decades of experience in the IT industry. “The capabilities of the technology are real.”

In an interview with CRN, Srinivasan explains Deloitte’s strategy of workforce transformation with generative AI, its Google Cloud partnership and the company’s AI vision.

What are some generative AI use cases with Google Cloud that are driving enterprise sales and opportunities for Deloitte ?

After a long time, enterprises are looking across the entire business to say, ‘Where can we drive productivity and optimize how we run our business? Where can we capture new revenue and growth through the hyper personalization and better customer engagement.’

While all of that encompasses many specific use cases, where the power of the Deloitte-Google partnership is unique in that, generative AI is not going to exist in isolation. You still need to plug it into the workflows of the enterprise, you still need to harness the private data that the enterprise has and train those models.

This is going to require that workforces within businesses are reskilled and reallocated to areas where currently we’ve been going through a period of labor shortage in several areas. And these technologies allow you to drive more productivity, but it’s also going to require proactive workforce transformation.

Trustworthy AI is one of the Deloitte’s offerings in the AI domain. This allows us to combine what Google is introducing from a technology standpoint to enable compliance, privacy, data security, etcetera, with our principles, policies and processes to allow a company to use AI responsibly. So customers can have trust in what is being delivered. That’s something our partnership delivers.

How is Deloitte helping customers around workforce transformation in regards to generative AI?

There’s three aspects when it comes to workforce transformation. One is, as we apply these technologies to rapidly rethink our business processes, what does it mean for the people who are performing these processes today?

How do they relearn that new way of doing things and ensure that they are working with the technology? A lot of the benefit of generative AI is about augmenting human capability and advancing it. So that also requires humans to relearn the way they do things. So how do you get your workforce to learn to work with AI and take advantage of AI capabilities, is number one.

The second is, this is going to lead to things that you’ve never done before in an organization. For instance, today there are several silos of data across the organization. Enterprises, in a sense, have given up trying on even getting a unified view of that data.

But with generative AI and Google’s new enterprise Search solutions, now we have the possibility of being able to look into all of these stores of data, look at patterns across them, and be able to retrieve insights that previously had been a huge challenge, both in terms of costs and also just the sheer feasibility of doing it. You need people that are applying AI to do all of these things and making that insight available.

What’s the final important aspect of workforce transformation around generative AI?

As you get more into deploying these technologies, driving AI fluency and skill sets in your workforce is going to be critical.

If we go back seven or eight years in time, cloud fluency and helping your workforce understand the power of the cloud and how to harness it was important. This is now the same thing, but in the context of AI, ‘How do we make our workforce understand AI? Learn the potential and apply it in everything that they do?’

We are helping our clients, along with Google, to start from the top and look across the organization at how their operating model changes, how the workforce needs to be reskilled, and ensure that—as they apply this technology—they can do it rapidly and continue to run the business by managing the transition in an effective manner.

In terms of generative AI market differentiation, what is Google Cloud doing better than others?

This question comes up a lot when we speak to our enterprise clients. ‘How can I be sure that these models are not training themselves on my data and those capabilities become available to our competitors?’

Right out of the gate, what Google is saying is, ‘Our models will not do that. Without your consent or explicit permission, your data will stay within your walls. Whatever private data the model gets trained on is applied only on your use cases and within your organization.’

That is a strong market differentiation that has seen a lot of interest and more confidence in moving forward with deploying generative AI in the enterprise.

Also, Google’s model is not just one model that can do a lot of things generally OK, but several models that can do specific things really well.

You also have the ability to find new and build your own models, bring in other open-source and third-party models available on Google Cloud. You also have the Low Code Gen App Builder, which allows you to build apps and pull in conversational AI interfaces and enterprise search capabilities. And you get the power of the compute on which you can deploy this within Google Cloud, as well as integrations into broader [Google] Vertex AI and other data analytics capabilities that are required for any enterprise to take advantage of these solutions.

The fact that you can do all of this is really powerful. It’s a suite of solutions. … All of these pieces have a complementary role to play and the real power is in being able to combine all of them.

Just how important is the Deloitte and Google Cloud partnership around building next-generation generative AI solutions for customers and driving sales?

The level of activity is significant. Every day we continue to onboard more practitioners, particularly as the first wave of these solutions are now available in public preview.

Deloitte is one of the few firms and customers of Google around the world who had early access as part of the Trusted Tester programs to Google’s generative AI models, as well as the Vertex MakerSuite and Gen AI App Builder. We’ve had teams running into the hundreds across the world, provisioned as trusted testers. And we’ve been building proof-of-concept[s] and trying to really test the end-to-end of what we can do with this, with these technologies, and examine the potential.

We’ve also taken the lens of being proactive. While both organizations are very customer centric, we also double down on a few areas where we are working: combining the tech expertise that Google brings and our industry expertise to say, ‘These are some potential high-value domains that use cases [and] that customers will get value from.’

We’ve been working to develop a set of assets and solutions in the financial services industry, in marketing as a functional domain. We’re just getting started on doing it in retail and consumer products, as well as customer service as a functional domain. We will continue to build on that and extend into many more areas as this continues.

Is generative AI a true market game-changer or just hype and vaporware?

I’ve become three-times as busy as I was at the beginning of the year because of discussions we’re having around generative AI. So one part of me wants to say that, ‘I hope it doesn’t get any more busier than this.’

But the reality is, I’ve been in this industry for well over 20 years. I have seen at least three big shifts in terms of what happened with mobile, cloud and now with generative AI. But this feels like an evolution that has not happened before in terms of the scope, but also the pace at which things are moving. The capabilities of the technology are real.

I think a lot of people ask, ‘How much of this is just vaporware, and in six months from now, is the hype going to die down?’ But here, this time, the capabilities are real.

The way it has resonated with people is why you’re seeing this kind of interest and just [a] broader acceptance narrative in society. Things are only going to get busier from here. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.