Avoid Expensive False Starts With Your AI Business

By – Allister Richardson
(Alliance Director | Digitate)

Have you partnered with the right AI vendor yet?

AI has become so pervasive; it has evolved into a need rather than a luxury in present times. While product organizations are heavily focussing on AI-based technology, channel organizations, including VARs (Value Added Resellers), Solution Providers, Integrators and MSPs, are taking their first tentative steps towards building dedicated AI practices. Regardless of the actual CAGR numbers (MarketWatch predicts CAGR of 55.6% from 2016 to 2025; revenues are predicted to rise from $4B to $169B)1, the hype alone has prompted many to look intently at building dedicated practices for AI and some are already well on their way.

Microsoft offers some valuable advice for partners looking to build such a practice. The key steps in their view are:

  • Defining the Strategy – define markets, offer and identify resources
  • Hiring and Training – hire talent, train and certify them
  • Operationalizing – prepare for the launch
  • Going to Market – execute sales and marketing strategy
  • Optimizing and Growing – collect feedback, identify expansion, grow partnerships, refine offerings.

When defining the Strategy, the Ansoff Matrix (below) provides a neat way of channeling our efforts for strategic growth based on priority.

Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/artificial-intelligence-ai-market-2019-analysis-size-business-growth-trends-and-projections-by-2025-2019-10-28
Source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/us-partner-blog/2019/02/20/5-key-steps-to-building-your-ai-practice/

(Source: https://www.uwcped.org/news/20)

Many product VARs, Solution Providers, and MSPs are faltering at the first hurdle when they define their strategy.

Some of the biggest technology vendors are pushing channel providers towards Diversification (New product/New Customer) or Market Development strategies (Existing Product/New Customer) which increases the risk of failure. In these instances, plans generally fail or massively underperform on the level of growth that the analysts are suggesting.

Assuming AI is a new product/service offering for VAR, by leveraging the “Ansoff approach”, the VAR should be looking at de-risking the building of an AI practice. They would do this by employing a Product/Service development strategy and introducing the solution to current customers, in this case, the IT department.

From a client perspective, IT Operations is a good place to start proving value from AI. Use cases can be easily quantified (owing to the abundance of data) and IT teams can control the project, building on successes close to home before expanding outside their comfort zone and into other domains. IT providers can leverage their relationships with the CIO’s office, their IT domain expertise and knowledge of the client environment. This allows both parties to benefit from preexisting relationships, supply agreements, and knowledge to ensure a productive experience all-round.

This is where Digitate and our ignio product suite can help. ignio is an AI-driven software for autonomous IT operations. It provides VARs, Solution Providers and Integrators out-of-the-Box (OOTB) AI offerings in their specialized domain. ignio works in the Data Center, Cloud, Desktop, Application, and Batch environments and has a channel program that allows the partner to focus on the aspects of AI that suits their model from software resale to implementation, consulting and managed services.

If you’d like to learn more about Digitate, ignio, our partner program, and how we can help you build an AI practice that suits your business, reach out to us at digitate.alliances@digitate.com

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