IMCN Annual Conference – How does AI knowledge empower consultants to redefine strategic guidance?
The Independent Management Consultancies Network (IMCN) held its annual 2023 conference in Oslo. Friday 23rd was devoted to discussing AI, where Simplifai’s Co-Founder and
Product Visionary Erik Leung and CCO Daniel Kohn were invited to share insights on AI and how
it can help companies flourish without compromising their security. Both highlighted AI’s
capabilities to enhance customer experience and allow employees to scale from an operational
to a professional function.
The IMCN is a European network of professional general management consultants. Founded in 1994 in Brussels, over 30 countries benefit from the international consulting experience of IMCN members. Consisting of highly qualified small management consultancies, the IMCN network aims to provide the most competitive strategy related to consulting services operating on both international and national levels.
Harald Korn is the founder and owner of Oslo Consulting, one of the members of the IMCN network. As the conference host, he started off Friday’s presentation by introducing AI in relation to consultancy, revealing that his PowerPoint presentation was generated by AI.
He further stated,
“If we are going to embrace AI, we need to understand its components.”~ Harald Korn, Chairman and owner of Oslo Consulting Group
In an interview, Korn emphasized the importance of staying up to date with new technological developments to provide solutions with the utmost value, especially when working with clients of a broad range of industries and fields of services. Although AI-specialized companies like
Simplifai have been around for years, only recently, with the release of engines such as ChatGPT, AI was popularized as a standard business tool. Therefore, more professionals have found themselves needing to increase their knowledge of AI and what its developments mean to their
industries. When asked about where AI fits into the consultancy industry, Korn answered,
~ Harald Korn, Chairman and owner of Oslo Consulting Group
“Everywhere, we work a lot with transition and strategy, together with our clients. Our aim is to create the most value for our clients when we interact with them, and for us to have in the first instance, knowledge about AI. It is key to us that, even though we as a consultancy do not necessarily implement AI to a large extent in our own company, we definitely work together with our clients to help implement AI solutions because many also need to be accompanied by a change of processes and change management.”
AI in Today’s Everchanging Society
AI has brought a lot of efficiency and productivity to many industries, but it has also been met with a lot of fear from employees who believe that AI will be the cause of a lack of jobs. Leung addressed the misconceptions of AI as he discussed the increasing gap between pensioners and the working population. An increase in life expectancy and a decrease in the birthrate are generating an imbalance between needed jobs and taxpayers available to work. AI can play a part in solving this problem by completing repetitive tasks which do not rely on human intervention, allowing workers to have functions that are fulfilling and enriching for their careers.
Technology is not changing the world, but rather emerging and adapting as the world changes. Conferences such as the IMCN Annual Conference are essential to teach us to embrace technological advancements instead of fearing inevitable change.
“We should embrace the emergence of new technology, instead of fearing being sidelined.”~ Erik Leung, CPO of Simplifai
Fear is expected from such drastic change, but it should not overshadow its opportunities and benefits. Mauro Marini, Opta Partner and a member of the IMCN, expressed his thoughts on the balance between acceptance and fear of AI and its relevancy in the Italian Manufacturing industry.
“I don’t see fear. I see curiosity. In that respect, we, management consultants, can do a lot in terms of creating a trust that this technology can be applied in manufacturing companies and provide value. It can help the company to compete more effectively in a complete scenario,~ Mauro Marini, Opta Partner
which is more complicated because the fact is that manufacturing margins are shrinking. In a sense, it’s the same old story, efficiency, through all the available means, including artificial intelligence.”
Marini further explained that there is a lot to do when it comes to creating awareness, also in terms of the technical viewpoint of the basic data to feed the machines. Consequently, the first step lies in managing the data in a more conscious and consistent way for the application and commission of it.
The IMCN conference showed how different industries are seeking knowledge on AI to benefit from its popularity and efficiency, whether they feel ready for it. The consultancy industry is now able to provide another dimension of solutions for their clients and in turn generate
exponential growth for its sector. AI has the potential to serve a variety of industries and purposes if explored and understood sufficiently. The President of the Federal Association of German Management Consultants, Herr Ralf Strehlau, thought positively of the introduction of
AI to the consultancy industry.
“A number of activities and processes with the use of AI can be much faster and more efficient which gives us the protentional of stronger growth for our whole industry.”~ Ralf Strehlau, Managing Director of ANXO Management Consulting and President of the BDU
He further explained that AI has been a leading topic for the past 12 months, where he has appointed internal working groups on AI and referred to two different aspects. The first aspect is how AI will impact consulting services in relation to how they are delivered. The second aspect is the significant opportunities available for their services. According to Herr Ralf Strehlau, they have taken a positive approach, where he highlighted the importance of being opportunity-driven.
The IMCN conference provided undeniable evidence of the consultancy industry’s growing fascination with AI and its integration into work processes. Simultaneously, it also sheds light on potential challenges that these technologies may encounter as they strive to become widely adopted as standard working tools. As AI can change how we work and how companies in all industries would work in the future, both employees and leadership will need support to implement, adapt and create results in a new way. At Simplifai, we firmly believe in the importance of sharing knowledge through conferences and workshops to empower organizations with the resources necessary to fully comprehend the power of AI technologies, as they will be an ever-increasing presence in the future work landscape. We consider it a great honor to have had the opportunity to contribute our expertise at the IMCN conference this year and look forward to continuing to share our knowledge.
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