Finding the right AI vendor must be tough!

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Artificial Intelligence is here. It works. Since it has many uses that impact all parts of your business, choosing an AI vendor is tough. There are so many!

We broadly see 3 types that help. One is who develops an "AI platform" to build and manage Machine Learning (ML) models that power applications. The second is one who builds "applications" that use such ML models. The third is who offers expert "services" by using various platforms and applications. Be clear about what you are dealing with as there is also the fourth type that tricks you in confusing an application for a platform. These employ data scientists that work in the back. Or worse, a fifth type that just masquerades legacy software as AI. This is surprisingly common!

So how do you go about separating fiction from reality? Here are the 4 questions to ask.

#1. Can I see?

Ask a vendor to not use a PowerPoint to talk about AI but rather show the real thing.

#2. Can it do?

Ask the vendor to show the same results using your own data. Know the time and effort it took, and how it was done.

#3. Can I do?

AI is no more what you “buy” but rather what gives you the ability to “continuously build on”. Check if you can repeat the vendor’s work so that you can do it yourself.

#4. What's the future?

Any technology made a few years back is old today. Does the vendor’s roadmap support your future? Be specific. Ask what and when.

Hiring an AI vendor is one thing. But getting an AI partner is another.

Is the vendor committed to your success? Does it share a similar vision? It is easy to check that by the effort they are putting into your project and in developing similar businesses in your niche. It is a good sign if key people are available to meet you and work on your problems. We find that cooperation with your provider shouldn’t be just a seller-buyer kind of relationship, but you have to share the common goal of making both successful.

Interested in discussing this? Let’s have coffee.

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