The stampede to explore, understand and implement AI solutions is bewildering many technology customers, as providers rush to meet increasing demand with products and services that often overlap, reports.
“Since the ChatGPT excitement, I must have had at least 20 to 25 vendors in my portfolio reach out to me saying, ‘Hey, let us tell you about our generative AI co-pilot strategy,’” Milind Wagle, CIO at data-center landlord Equinix, told The Wall Street Journal. “I feel like there’s a co-pilot war that needs to sort of happen,” he said.
Co-pilots are an increasingly important feature of the AI landscape. Basically virtual assistants, they work with technology products to help users get things done in, hopefully, the most efficient and straightforward way. The problem is there’s a lot of them. Equinix is facing a flood of them, Wagle said, and he needs to understand them all in order to determine how – and if – they should work together.
That complicates life for users who want a single interface to accomplish different tasks, Wagle said. In addition, privacy concerns can lead to governance and compliance risks if the data used to train a co-pilot is somehow exposed to the public.
Fear of Missing Out
One driver of all this is that technology vendors risk falling behind if they don’t adopt generative AI. “A lot of it’s FOMO” or fear of missing out, Ellen Loeshelle, director of product management – intelligence platform at Qualtrics, told the HCM Technology Report. “Like you don’t want to be the one player who’s not saying something about it.”
This means some “half-baked features” are sure to be released without proper privacy and security guardrails in place, the Journal said. Gartner analyst Arun Chandrasekaran estimates about 20% of independent software vendors have waded into generative AI since ChatGPT launched in November. That, he said, is a huge amount of growth packed into a short time.
“Some of our customers, all they want to hear is that we’re thinking about AI,” said Loeshelle. “Like I could say that in one sentence and get off the phone and they’d be happy.”
See if It Sticks
Indeed, when it comes to AI, few parties seem to be all that discerning. Sometimes, Woodring said, co-pilots are added even though they’re not compelling additions to a platform or the best tool for a job. “Everyone’s trying to fit it in everywhere,” he explained. However, “It’s not a coat of paint you put on your product afterwards and say, now it’s AI.”
Tech executives are looking critically at new generative AI tools to isolate the valuable ones from the hype. And, they’re trying to gauge how well generative AI tools can integrate with other solutions. As NatureSweet CIO Noé Angel observed, fragmented tools end up creating more work.
Workday CTO Jim Stratton expects clear winners and consolidation to emerge in some areas of AI, which could make life easier for CIOs. But, he said, “There’s still a lot of noise at the moment.”