The impacts of generative AI on business research

Posted 5/5/2023 by Simon Burton

CB Resourcing recently held discussions with our Research Leadership Network to look at the potential impacts of new developments in generative AI on business research. Our Research Leadership Network is made up of leaders of research functions from top consulting, law, professional services, investment banks, and analyst firms. 


  • Just like Google didn’t replace the researcher this won’t either, but it does bring big opportunities and changes.
  • This isn’t just about research, all kinds of workflows can be augmented with this technology. Many firms are setting up cross-department communities of practice.
  • This is assisted intelligence, not artificial intelligence yet.
  • Open systems such as ChatGPT are limited in use and no client data can be fed into them. They are however useful to experiment as well as for ‘checking our homework’ type research questions to ask ‘what else’?
  • Most IP-intensive service firms such as consulting and law are looking at applying the technology to their own pool of curated IP. This is potentially a major new step in Knowledge Management and the productization of professional services. This also potentially offers the potential of recognising new insights from existing IP, as well as more confidence in not missing known knowns within a firm's corporate memory.
  • The low cost of entry for generating insights using existing information will place added value on unique insight. This is an opportunity to raise the bar and further professionalise the work of research teams.
  • Lessons can be learned from the offshoring/outsourcing of knowledge work over the last ten years. Particularly the impacts on talent pipelines and research workflows.
  • Data hygiene is not a current CEO discussion but we believe it will be coming up the exec agenda.
  • There are potentially large impacts on the cost models of vendors, data collection and aggregation tasks may be sped up. This could create opportunities for new challengers to legacy providers.

What does it mean for Researchers?

Information and research professionals are well-placed to be the enablers and guides for this technology. But they must get ahead of the conversation with their executive teams to educate them on the opportunities and risks.

  • Currently, this technology does not provide sources or a research methodology in it's outputs. It is essential information professionals educate their exec teams on why this cannot replace a researcher but rather augment what research professionals can do.
  • Locking it out will only leave firms behind, this technology is here to stay. Information teams can be the enablers in driving best practices in much the same way a comms team will train colleagues on social media use. It is equally important to educate organisations on how to employ this technology effectively rather than shutting it off.
  • Information professionals are well placed to inform their organisations on search, algorithmic and data literacy. 
  • There will be vendors engaging with exec teams and making big promises for this technology. Information teams need to be a part of the conversation, sense checking of solutions as well as enabling and driving vendor innovation.
  • Information professionals must create the right brand internally to ensure this doesn’t solely become the domain of IT departments (while they will have a role to play).
  • The cost of content production could reduce considerably. There will be a much more pressing need for rigour within the procurement of information and research to focus on quality insight.

This is not a replacement for researchers and there are great opportunities for the use of this technology.

This technology is moving fast and we know this conversation will develop quickly. It’s hard to capture all the impacts at this point, if you’d like to join the discussion please contact us.

At CB Resourcing we recruit business researchers and analysts for the world's top consulting firms, law firms, banks, private equity houses, and a wide range of other industries.

If we can help you recruit please get in touch.



















































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