How PwC is using generative AI to deliver business value

What a year it’s been for generative AI (GenAI) — and for PwC. A year into our US firm’s $1 billion investment, AI and GenAI are beginning to deliver transformative value. We aren’t alone in our high expectations for GenAI. In PwC’s latest Global CEO Survey, 68% of CEOs expect GenAI to increase employee efficiency this year. And 44% expect it to increase profits. At PwC, we are experiencing these benefits in our own operations. We’re helping clients achieve them too — whether they’re deploying customized GenAI models, using GenAI capabilities embedded in enterprise software or (most commonly) doing both.

PwC’s AI success is built on decades of AI leadership and experience. Our teams across the business and in our AI factory build new solutions and find new ways to help our firm and our clients reinvent work. We take an ecosystem approach: We have alliances with major AI technology vendors, including foundation model providers AWS, Anthropic, Google, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI.  We leverage alliance relationships with leading enterprise application vendors that are integrating GenAI capabilities into their products, including Adobe, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and Workday. PwC is integrating GenAI capabilities into our own broad portfolio of products as well. We also collaborate with leading academic institutions, and we engage with policy organizations and regulators.

Above all, we work closely with business and technology executives across industries. Today, we are actively engaged in GenAI with 950 of our top 1,000 US consulting clients. We are also discussing AI's use and implications with many of our audit clients. As we help build the future of AI and GenAI, we are invested in helping organizations create value from their AI strategies with Responsible AI practices and a focus on building trust.


The exponential benefits of being ‘client zero’

For GenAI, we are “client zero.” An agreement between OpenAI and PwC US and UK, for example, will make PwC OpenAI’s first reseller for ChatGPT Enterprise and the largest user of the product — enabling us to further scale AI capabilities across our businesses and help clients to do the same. ChatGPT is just one of the powerful tools with which we equip our entire 75,000-person US workforce, who also benefit from our extensive, firmwide AI upskilling program, My AI. My AI provides training in Responsible AI (to manage risks while unlocking AI value), GenAI prompting, leadership in the age of GenAI and more. Appealing online content, in-person training, hackathons and game show-style competitions have already encouraged 95% of PwC US employees to take part in My AI. Voluntarily, they have dedicated more than 360,000 hours to building their AI skills. Their excitement is infectious and resulted in many grassroots efforts such as prompting parties and brainstorming sessions to find new ways to use GenAI at work. Together, we are using GenAI to reinvent the ways we work and support our clients.  

Where we are achieving AI value right now

When you provide people with the latest technology tools, the skills and guardrails to use them responsibly, and the power to innovate and reinvent how they get work done, the results can be transformative. Our AI factory operating model is designed to continually identify new use cases, set priorities and scale up patterns of deployment across multiple tasks and functions. It has enabled us to identify thousands of use cases and build hundreds of reusable GenAI solutions to accelerate how we can achieve scale and value quickly.

Across our business, we've found that our people who regularly use the tools demonstrate productivity gains of 20% to 40%. With time saved, they're able to focus on more strategic work and bring more value to clients.  

Even bigger gains are within our functions. Here are a few examples: 

  • IT: 20% to 50% productivity gains in software development processes. Software development is critical to our operations. Our in-house teams develop the applications that make our firm run — and help clients develop customized software too. GenAI has revolutionized how our development teams work: Customized tools help synthesize data, complete and review code, generate documentation, conduct fast, granular troubleshooting (through root cause analysis) and more.
  • Finance: 20% to 40% productivity gains in accounting and tax. Data analysis, document summarization and generation, chat-based Q&A and more are all faster — thanks to a mix of specialized GenAI tools. For example: one GenAI tool now enables our finance function to create first drafts of new contracts and extract key information from existing ones within seconds.  
  • Marketing: 20% to 30% productivity gains from our specialized GenAI model to help generate marketing content, and from firmwide models to automate documentation of work processes, review documents for risks, summarize and analyze documents and audio, and enable Q&A access to data analysis. Our people create our marketing — GenAI is helping them produce it more quickly and making it more data-driven and customized.

How we are helping clients reap AI’s benefits

Our firsthand experience in using AI to reinvent business enables us to help clients jumpstart their own AI transformations. We’re also helping our audit clients prepare for AI’s ongoing impact, including regulatory compliance and AI auditing. Here are a few ways our clients have benefited from AI: 

  • Sales: 15% to 20% increase in request-for-proposal generation at a major financial institution, due to increased speed and efficiency. Averaging 10% to 15% increase in average order value at a fast-food chain.
  • Customer service: 25% reduction in average call center handling time. Averaging 67% reduction in abandonment and a 70% reduction in misrouted calls for retail, gaming, hospitality and furniture companies.
  • Governance, risk and compliance (GRC): 25% greater productivity for log reviewers at a global food and beverage company, and reduction in false positives, improved collaboration and increased claim savings at a large beauty and personal company. 
  • Responsible AI: New AI risk management framework, risk taxonomy, use case intake and assessment process, and risk-managed execution playbook at a major aviation company — which had deep AI experience but needed to update governance for GenAI.

5 guidelines for delivering transformative value

Unlike traditional AI, a single GenAI model can deliver results in multiple tasks in multiple functions and lines of business. For example: One suitably trained and governed GenAI model could help knowledge workers everywhere in your company — in tax, legal, finance, HR and more — access, organize, analyze and act on data. This scalability can lead to remarkable return on investment (ROI). And because GenAI often can make sense of unstructured data, such as phone calls and online activity logs, it can transform activities that traditional AI couldn’t. The result can be such significant productivity gains that — when combined with new ways of working —new business models become not just possible, but inevitable.    

Based on our daily work with AI and GenAI in-house and with clients, as well as our ongoing research and our alliances with major AI technology providers, we have identified five guidelines that can help drive both near-term ROI and longer-term business model reinvention.

Choose use cases to enable rapid value and scale

The most impactful use cases for GenAI have two traits in common: They deliver value quickly and can be scaled rapidly across your organization.  

A rapid path to value requires a clear value proposition that your data, tech stack and security environment can deliver — with functional, sector, risk and technology teams all aligned in supporting it. Scalability comes from a key GenAI differentiator: Most GenAI use cases fall within six repeatable patterns. 

Consider the pattern of “deep retrieval:” training a GenAI model to search for specific information within documents or data. If you successfully train GenAI to extract key terms from your customer communications, you can then train that same model to do the same for contracts, tax regulations, financial reports, employee resumes, social media posts and more. That can lead to exponential value creation.

Advance GenAI and data at the same time

When you and your competitors are using similar GenAI foundation models, what will give you an edge? The answer: data. With relevant, reliable, compliant, secure and proprietary data, you can customize GenAI models with your in-house experience and intellectual property.

You don’t have to complete your data modernization to get started with GenAI. You can advance in stages, with each stage enabling GenAI to unlock new value from data. This approach can help you win stakeholder buy-in for previously out-of-reach data initiatives.

GenAI offers another bonus: It can let you tap into data that may be “trapped” in old strategy decks and customer communications. Previously, organizing this data might have required thousands of employee hours. Now GenAI can partly automate the process, cutting costs and shortening a path to value.

Upskill and reinvent how you work

With GenAI, you usually don’t have to recruit many new AI specialists. That’s because — unlike traditional AI — you won’t typically build your own GenAI models. To use vendor-licensed models to deliver high-value, risk-managed outputs, your people may need upskilling — such as we have done at PwC with our My AI initiative. You may also need to cross-train some of your current technology team to help oversee and customize GenAI.

To unlock even more value, rethink how work gets done. What else can your people do when a GenAI assistant does simple work for them — and provides data and leading practices to support higher-value work? Consider new ways to empower innovation. Since GenAI is so accessible, anyone in your company could — with the right skills and guardrails — use it to create new products, services and operational efficiencies.

Accelerate AI initiatives with Responsible AI

Responsible AI shouldn’t hold back AI initiatives — it should accelerate them. With trust built into AI from Day One, you’ll likely avoid delays and do-overs to close vulnerabilities or meet new requirements. With stronger trust in your AI among stakeholders, you’ll get broader buy-in for AI initiatives.

Our Responsible AI toolkit builds on prepared frameworks, templates and code-based assets. It covers strategy, governance, controls, cybersecurity, upskilling and more. It’s designed to reduce bias in AI models, increase reliability, enable compliance, safeguard data and protect privacy.

Critically, our Responsible AI is tech-powered but human-led: It not only gives people the tools and skills to oversee AI and manage its risks but also has well-informed people in control, making any high-risk and high-value decisions that involve AI.

Future-proof your AI with an open architecture

We’re still in the early days for GenAI: The technology is evolving rapidly. That’s why no successful AI initiative can be one-and-done. Instead, it should set you up to take advantage of whatever innovations come next.

That’s why at PwC we have a production mindset and platform-agnostic, “open architecture” approach, for ourselves and our clients. We work with the whole AI ecosystem, and we recommend that our clients be prepared to do the same.

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