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Business News/ Ai / PwC set to become OpenAI’s largest ChatGPT enterprise customer
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PwC set to become OpenAI’s largest ChatGPT enterprise customer

wsj

PricewaterhouseCoopers will become the largest customer and first reseller of OpenAI’s enterprise product, as part of a new deal the two companies announced Wednesday.

PwC said it would roll out ChatGPT Enterprise, the version of ChatGPT aimed at large companies, to its 75,000 U.S. employees and 26,000 U.K. employees, totaling over 100,000 licenses for the artificial intelligence product. (AP)Premium
PwC said it would roll out ChatGPT Enterprise, the version of ChatGPT aimed at large companies, to its 75,000 U.S. employees and 26,000 U.K. employees, totaling over 100,000 licenses for the artificial intelligence product. (AP)

PricewaterhouseCoopers will become the largest customer and first reseller of OpenAI’s enterprise product, as part of a new deal the two companies announced Wednesday.

PwC said it would roll out ChatGPT Enterprise, the version of ChatGPT aimed at large companies, to its 75,000 U.S. employees and 26,000 U.K. employees, totaling over 100,000 licenses for the artificial intelligence product.

Both companies declined to share financial terms of the deal.

The accounting and consulting giant last year announced plans to invest $1 billion in generative AI, the technology behind ChatGPT, in its U.S. operations over three years. Wednesday’s deal is an evolution of that, said Joe Atkinson, PwC U.S.’s vice chair and chief products and technology officer. A PwC spokesperson said the OpenAI agreement is part of the initial $1 billion investment.

Over the past year, PwC has focused on teaching its staff how to use AI, building its own AI tools and providing them to clients, and using AI to update its consulting technology platform and operations, Atkinson said.

Consulting firms are some of the early winners of the generative AI boom as companies seek help in using the new technology. Accenture, KPMG and Ernst & Young have also invested billions in generative AI to expand their work with clients through the technology.

“As this continues to evolve, I expect that billion dollars to grow across our network," Atkinson said.

But generative AI isn’t ubiquitous in business. Most enterprises are cautiously using it—tackling uses like automating customer service and summarizing emails with help from vendors or consultants before customizing their own models.

Businesses worldwide are expected to spend $1.52 trillion on information technology services this year, up 9.7% from 2023, driven by planning for generative AI, according to market research and consulting firm Gartner. With enterprises falling behind IT service firms in attracting talent in areas like AI, they have spent more IT dollars on consulting than internal staff for the first time, Gartner said.

PwC sees using ChatGPT Enterprise as a way to test and apply the technology internally before passing on firsthand learnings to clients.

So far, 95% of PwC’s U.S. workforce has spent over 360,000 hours on generative AI activities and learning, it said. “This is more of an assistant that’s available to you than it is a search bar," Atkinson said.

PwC also developed a chatbot called ChatPwC, built on OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, which more than 100,000 employees are using globally. Employees using tools like ChatPwC have reported a 20% to 40% increase in productivity, it said. Both ChatGPT Enterprise and ChatPwC will be available to employees, Atkinson said, though many will start using ChatGPT Enterprise as it rolls out.

For OpenAI, working with PwC represents one of its first efforts in selling its technologies to enterprises with a partner outside of Microsoft, its largest backer.

Since the public release of ChatGPT in 2022, OpenAI has ramped up its enterprise sales, which Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap described as “increasing focus on enterprise for us, given the demand that we see."

ChatGPT Enterprise and ChatGPT Team make up what OpenAI calls its “business products." ChatGPT Enterprise is aimed at companies with more than 100 employees and priced based on the number of users. ChatGPT Team is geared toward firms with fewer than 100 employees and costs $30 a month for each user, according to OpenAI.

In April, OpenAI said 600,000 individuals pay for its ChatGPT business products, and 92% of Fortune 500 companies are using ChatGPT in some form. The San Francisco-based company said it has a team of about 200 people including sales and technical staff to help directly sell its AI technology to companies.

“PwC, obviously, has much broader reach, been around longer, so there’s real partnership just in their ability to help us look at and go to market," Lightcap said.

In training GPT-4o, OpenAI’s newest model that can interact with people by voice and better digest images and video, Lightcap said the company responded to feedback from enterprises looking for models that can process images and video as well as text. OpenAI announced a safety and security committee Tuesday after becoming embroiled in a legal battle over its new voice assistant in GPT-4o.

OpenAI has also worked with consulting firms including Bain, though its partnership with PwC is the first of its kind, with a reseller component and dedicated investment, the company said. Lightcap said OpenAI will likely work with other partners, but is currently focused on tapping PwC’s experience with enterprises and working with it to develop AI solutions for specific industries.

So far, PwC has seen the greatest AI adoption among financial services and healthcare firms, plus sectors that rely heavily on customer service, Atkinson said. PwC said it is “actively engaged" in generative AI with 950 of its top 1,000 U.S. consulting clients.

PwC also works with other technology providers like Microsoft, Amazon and Google, which have their own generative AI platforms and tools. The firm will provide “objective advice" to clients on which AI solutions to use, Atkinson said.

By continuing to roll out ChatGPT internally, Atkinson said PwC’s goal is to save clients “from any of the challenges or scars that we might have."

Wall Street Journal owner News Corp has a content-licensing partnership with OpenAI.

Write to Belle Lin at belle.lin@wsj.com

 

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