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Why knowledge is power for AI-focused partners

Hafizah Osman | June 12, 2017
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart things promise a new future for the channel, but how can partners capitalise?

Stemmed from increased end-user appetite, organisations are adopting new technology faster than ever before, buying new products or services quicker than previously, triggering the rise of AI, the Internet of Thing and augmented reality.

Irrespective of technology however, success forever hinges on its ability to meet the changing demands of a customer, a customer that is becoming better informed, less patient and fickler by the day.

With enterprise AI adoption still maturing, partners must now focus on providing relevant information at relevant times to build trust across the industry.

"It's more about building a trusting human/ machine partnership where users and machines work in tandem with each other to amplify business possibilities," Oracle vice-president of product and data science for the Adaptive Intelligence Program, Jack Berkowitz, said.

Depending on the business function, Berkowitz outlined the different applications capable of meeting different customer needs:

- Finance professionals can negotiate best supplier terms, while optimising cash flow needs and balancing costs

- Human resources recruiters can automatically identify best-fit candidates in the shortest time, while HR managers can create job descriptions to find well-suited positions

- Marketing and commerce managers can drive higher conversion rates, lift, repeat purchases, and ultimately, revenue, with smart, contextual offers and recommended actions for individual consumers

- Supply chain managers can automatically find the best options to distribute goods around the world, while optimising costs and price for both the buyers and the transporters.

Channelling intelligence

Despite an increased appetite to innovate, businesses remain challenged by a lack of knowledge within the field of artificial intelligence, creating opportunities for partners to capitalise on advisory and consultancy roles.

"Customers are not seeking products at this point," Arrow ECS A/NZ managing director, Nick Verykios, said. "They are seeking good council as to how AI will solve their problems, particularly those they have not even thought of.

"You can demonstrate this through the current array of products but do be courageous enough to also present these as very early solutions.

"They key is to show that the vendors representing them have legs and will get traction, but based on your expertise and ability to articulate the AI journey for your customer."

With opportunities seemingly aplenty for the Australian, when it comes to AI, Verykios believes it's time for the channel to get educated.

"Enrol in a course through a tertiary institution - not a vendor delivered one," he advised. "Heuristics and AI are mature sciences and have progressed well, so a good grounding applied to business is what your skill sets need to represent."


Route to market

From a distribution perspective, Verykios believes the best route to market for forward-thinking partners will be through security, widely regarded as a crucial piece of the AI puzzle, alongside productive analytics.


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