The integration of enterprise-ready AI tools and solutions is accelerating, creating opportunities and headaches for senior technology executives facing a staggering array of offerings from thousands of vendors.

From my perspective, the rise of AI has spawned a new round of hyper-competition between vendors looking to capitalize on the growing need for next-generation analytics and automation technologies. Soon, every company will have some degree of AI capabilities, and smart vendors are jostling to position themselves as strategic partners in what promises to be a marathon race for market dominance.

For CIOs, CTOs, CISOs and other senior tech executives, the battle among vendors for AI supremacy offers numerous opportunities for negotiating great deals and reducing capital expenses. The chaotic environment also poses a danger to executives who might be prone to leap before they look. 

Buying AI is just like buying any other service: You need to understand precisely what you’re buying, do your due diligence and read the fine print carefully to make sure you’re getting a deal with no hidden surprises.

I strongly recommend taking the long-range view and partnering with vendors who will stand alongside you throughout the implementation and adoption process. AI user interfaces are still evolving, which means that training is absolutely essential to achieve acceptable rates of adoption. If an AI vendor can’t or won’t commit to training your team, keep looking.

It’s also important to remember that in most situations, AI won’t actually replace workers. The idea that AI will eliminate your workforce overnight is a fundamental misconception. Most AI tools are designed to augment human workers, improve their efficiency and free up their time for tasks requiring creativity, imagination and critical thinking skills.

When you have a moment, download a copy of Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson. Both authors are executives at Accenture, and their perspective on practical AI in the modern enterprise is extremely useful. Here’s a brief snippet from the book:

“It’s a new era in which the fundamental rules by which we run our organizations are being rewritten daily. AI systems are not just automating many processes, making them more efficient; they are now enabling people and machines to work collaboratively in novel ways. In doing do, they are changing the very nature of work, requiring us to manage our operations and employees in dramatically different ways.” 

I agree with their observations. As technology leaders, we’re entering a new era of artificial intelligence and automation. It’s our responsibility for making sure we make the best choices and offer the proper guidance. Our organizations, and the people we lead, are depending on us.

We’re honored and gratified by the awesome support of our unmatched and unparalleled global network of professional peers and colleagues. Unquestionably, HMG Strategy has become the trusted provider of essential knowledge, networking opportunities and career ascent for 21st century technology leaders who are committed to lead, innovate, disrupt and invent.