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How to Train Generative AI Using Your Company’s Data

In a piece published by the Harvard Business Review, Maryam Alavi and co-author Thomas Davenport examine how large language and generative AI models can increase knowledge management initiatives in companies to improve company performance, learning, and innovation capabilities.
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Maryam Alavi, Elizabeth D. & Thomas M. Holder Chair & Professor of IT Management

Many companies are experimenting with ChatGPT and other large language or image models. They have generally found them to be astounding in terms of their ability to express complex ideas in articulate language. However, most users realize that these systems are primarily trained on internet-based information and can’t respond to prompts or questions regarding proprietary content or knowledge.

Leveraging a company’s propriety knowledge is critical to its ability to compete and innovate, especially in today’s volatile environment. Organizational Innovation is fueled through effective and agile creation, management, application, recombination, and deployment of knowledge assets and know-how. However, knowledge within organizations is typically generated and captured across various sources and forms, including individual minds, processes, policies, reports, operational transactions, discussion boards, and online chats and meetings. As such, a company’s comprehensive knowledge is often unaccounted for and difficult to organize and deploy where needed in an effective or efficient way.

Emerging technologies in the form of large language and image generative AI models offer new opportunities for knowledge management, thereby enhancing company performance, learning, and innovation capabilities. For example, in a study conducted in a Fortune 500 provider of business process software, a generative AI-based system for customer support led to increased productivity of customer support agents and improved retention, while leading to higher positive feedback on the part of customers. The system also expedited the learning and skill development of novice agents.

Continue reading: How to Train Generative AI Using Your Company’s Data.


Reprinted from the Harvard Business Review, July 6, 2023, authored by:

  • Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of IT and Management at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, and a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Analytics. He is author of the new book Big Data at Work and the best-selling Competing on Analytics.
  • Maryam Alavi is the Elizabeth D. & Thomas M. Holder Chair & Professor of IT Management, Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology.
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Maryam Alavi
Elizabeth D. and Thomas M. Holder Chair

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