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Note: This post was originally published on Tesseract Academy‘s blog
AI (artificial intelligence) technologies and solutions can potentially transform your business. To make the most of the opportunities that AI offers, you need to choose the right vendor, both for your business and the solution you want to develop.
The following seven tips will help with the process of selecting the right AI vendor.
Get Senior Management Buy-In
The first tip begins before you start looking at potential AI vendors. It involves making sure you have 100% buy-in from the company’s senior management.
After all, to make the most of AI technologies, AI projects need to align with business objectives. This requires the direct involvement of those at the top.
With senior management onboard, you will have the support that you need, financial support, in particular.
Focus on Business Value
It is also important to choose the right AI project to implement. The potential of AI is significant and can be used in several different areas. Some of those areas are bigger headline-grabbers than others.
However, just because an AI project or solution is the sexiest doesn’t mean it will deliver value for your business. For long-term success, a focus on business value is the best approach.
Decide Whether You Need an Off-the-Shelf or Bespoke Solution
There are a lot of AI vendors who have developed off-the-shelf products that can be adapted to the specific needs of their customers. One of the first questions you should ask when looking into potential AI vendors is whether one of these off-the-shelf solutions will deliver on your requirements. After all, why go through a full-scale development process when others have already done it?
For more unique problems, a suitable AI product may not exist. In these situations, you will need an AI service provider who can develop a customized solution for you.
Filter Out Those Getting in On the Hype
AI is an exciting field that offers substantial opportunities, not just for your business but also for AI start-ups and established companies selling their products and services.
Therefore, a risk you face when selecting an AI vendor is choosing a company caught up in the hype of AI but that doesn’t have the capabilities to fully deliver on your needs.
Many of those companies have good intentions and ambition. However, great ideas and ambitions don’t deliver a great return on investment.
What’s the answer? The key is to find out if the company you are considering has sufficient AI expertise and knowledge.
One approach is to look into the leadership teams of the AI providers you are considering. Specifically, look for evidence of AI experience, as direct AI experience is more important than a savvy businessperson trying to get a slice of the AI pie.
In terms of AI experience, an academic background in AI or machine learning is ideal, as is experience working for other companies in the AI field, particularly those that have led the development of AI technologies over the past several years. Examples include Google, IBM, Tencent, Amazon, etc.
Past Experience with Projects Similar to Yours
As with other technology projects, experience with companies or projects similar to yours is also helpful. While getting this experience, the AI vendor will have learned from past mistakes and will know what works and what doesn’t.
This knowledge can be invaluable to the implementation of your AI project.
Look for a Proven Track Record
Whether the company has relevant past experience or not, a proven track record is essential. Many AI vendors communicate their track record through case studies. Start by making sure the vendor has case studies. It’s also important to look at the specifics of each case study, especially the details of the results achieved.
Testimonials are also useful, provided they are attributed to an individual rather than being anonymous.
Check the Technology Platforms the Vendor Uses
The AI solution you are developing needs to be versatile and scalable. The technology platforms used to develop the solution are crucial to achieving these goals. Check the platforms the vendor uses. It is usually best if the vendor uses major technology platforms and open-source solutions, as this maximizes flexibility and versatility and makes it easier for you to scale in the future.
Implementing AI Solutions in Your Business
When carefully going through the process of selecting an AI vendor, keeping in mind the seven points above is essential for your AI project to be successful. With the right vendor, the project will deliver the results your business is looking for, whether that is improved productivity, business processes, competitiveness, or anything else you want to achieve.
The Tesseract Academy can support you in the journey of AI adoption through our long-term support programs, as well as our workshops. Also make sure to check out some our other free tools, as well as our insights videos.