Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
AI's role in helping London’s businesses adapt to the new normal
6 August 2020
Professional services are critical to the health of the British economy, employing 1 in 14UK workers, and the importance of this sector in getting London’s businesses back to growth post-Covid cannot be underestimated. Equipping these enterprises with advanced technologies will be key in enabling them to continue competing on an international level, and maintain their lead in the globalised professional services industry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has simultaneously pushed the UK economy into recession and expedited the adoption of technology across enterprises as businesses adapt to dramatically altered working conditions. Indeed, as the fallout from the global health crisis begins in earnest, with belt-tightening measures and employee lay-offs, technology is being recognised as the means by which British businesses can promote efficiency and boost profit-margins. Integrating technology is nothing new to the professional services industry, however the early and successful adoption of these technologies has demonstrated itself to be more important than ever for business resilience.
In fact, the importance of cutting-edge technologies such as AI to the British economy has been recognised by the British government for years now, most recently demonstrated by a restated commitment to making Britain a “Science Superpower,” support of STEM higher education and the creation of tech start-up ecosystems, such as we see in London. In the UK, we have so far excelled at translating academic research into commercial opportunities that have huge impacts. Now, more than ever, it is vital we capitalise on our deep tech heritage, and equipping London’s professional services industry with the right AI solutions is essential in enabling them to tackle modern business challenges, from fending off cyber threats to sifting through otherwise unmanageable quantities of data.
The legal industry is a case in point. It’s estimated that every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. With the amount of corporate legal data increasing by the second, lawyers are struggling with the vast number of documents they are expected to review, be this for property lease reviews, insurance claims, Mergers and Acquisitions due diligence or regulatory compliance reviews. In the face of such vast datasets, firms and their clients have traditionally faced two options: review only a sample of the documents – this is cheaper for clients but is also inherently risky, or hire scores of paralegals and junior lawyers to review potentially thousands of documents, providing greater clarity but with higher associated costs.
Covid-19: a tipping point for AI?
The City has long been recognised as a global centre for finance and trade, and even the Coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to shake London’s lead in this area. However, as the effects of the economic downturn are felt, organisations will be demanding the same high quality of service on drastically reduced budgets. Technologies capable of dramatically enhancing efficiencies in a scalable manner are the only solution to this corporate “squeezing.” In the legal industry, clients require swift legal advice as they face tough business decisions in changeable economic conditions. This advice is frequently required within very tight deadlines, whilst decisions must be guided by a comprehensive understanding of all available data: without advanced technologies, this is an impossible feat.
Indeed, today’s advanced systems can be deployed instantly via the cloud and require no training or pre-configuration so that, in the face of sudden and unexpected situations like the pandemic, firms are able to pivot quickly and decisively. Already in the legal industry, AI is fundamentally changing how lawyers read and understand their often vast sets of documents, ensuring that they can deliver rapid legal advice tailored to their clients’ needs, from any location.
AI is augmenting our capabilities, equipping employees to tackle information and data overload by helping them make sense of vast data sets and make better-informed business decisions. AI solutions will only become more necessary as businesses attempt to make sense of the increase in digital activity and resultant growth in data. In order to maintain their competitive edge by understanding what is in datasets and not overlooking risks, professional services will need to look to increasingly AI technologies. And, at least within the legal industry, there’s no doubt that AI is now firms’ key to survival; those that fail to adapt will be left behind.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.