PwC Ireland is launching a new GenAI Business Centre as it expands its strategic AI collaboration with Microsoft into Ireland.
Enabled by Microsoft technology, the new centre will help boost GenAI adoption, driving the necessary investment returns in a safe and secure way.
Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is a type of machine learning that uses algorithms to create new data from existing information.
PwC said its new investment comes at a time of “huge opportunity” for businesses but also at a time when technology needs to be applied with great responsibility.
Earlier this year it also invested, through its relationship with Microsoft, over €1 billion globally to expand and scale artificial intelligence (AI) and drive human-led, tech-powered transformation.
PwC Ireland has also invested significantly over the last number of years in the digital upskilling of all of their people and the ongoing investment will be extended to cover AI and GenAI skills for all staff.
Enda McDonagh, Managing Partner at PwC Ireland, said this marks a very important investment which the company believes will deliver a “generational leap forward” in the way it delivers its work and aligns with its strategy to be at the forefront of technology-enabled change.
“This strategic collaboration with Microsoft will allow us to harness the power of Generative AI in a secure and responsible way to build trust and drive sustained outcomes for clients,” he said.
“As part of PwC Ireland’s commitment to this leading edge technology and ensuing opportunities, we have recently created a dedicated Head of GenAI role, to which Martin Duffy has been appointed,” he added.
Anne Sheehan, General Manager of Microsoft Ireland, said it welcomed the significant investment PwC is making in AI in the Irish market to drive transformation for its mutual customers, across both the private and public sector.
“As we embark on the era of AI, we are already starting to amplify human ingenuity by accelerating productivity and innovation using technology that is designed to be a copilot in our everyday working lives,” Ms Sheehan added.
Meanwhile, PwC Ireland also today published its GenAI Business Leaders Survey, which aims to obtain a snapshot of how AI and GenAI are impacting Irish businesses and where the priorities lie.
The survey found that few Irish organisations have adopted AI widely with just 7% of respondents admitted that they have rolled out AI on a large scale in their organisations compared to 26% in a previous PwC survey carried out amongst US business executives.
But a further 61% of Irish business leaders said that they are either considering adopting AI or are using it to a limited extent.
Today’s survey also found that very few businesses actually have AI governance structures in place with just 6% of Irish business leaders confirmed that they have an AI governance structure in place while a further 72% have not even started to implement such a plan or are not sure.
PwC noted that EU AI Act is expected to be passed into law in the coming months and will drive the importance of good AI governance.
Meanwhile, 55% of Irish respondents are not confident in their organisation’s ability to assess the return on investment on current AI initiatives.
Where investments were made, 92% said that their organisation did not realise value from AI initiatives in the last 12 months or the value was small. Given that GenAI will have a very significant impact on their businesses, measuring and realising the impact of these technologies will become very important, PwC said.
But on a positive note, the survey also revealed that 74% of respondents are of the view that GenAI will have an overall positive impact on the Irish economy in five years time, with 82% saying that GenAI will either increase or will have no net impact on jobs.
76% of Irish executives believe that GenAI will have a significant impact on their businesses in the next five years, but 70% do not have a plan to use GenAI to solve labour shortages or increase automation in the workplace, PwC said.