AI: Why a startup strategy is an imperative

A large vendor is supposed to know your business well, send you nice marketing collateral and keep following up. Nothing wrong if you expect that as a matter of right. It will be disastrous to have the same expectations from a startup.

AI: Why a startup strategy is an imperative - ITNEXT

Artificial Intelligence is eating the world. AI is the driver of the much-hyped data-driven business models.

While the agenda for AI application is being driven right from the top—starting with the national governments—the technology direction is influenced a lot by the startups.

India has one of the largest AI startup base. While all top IT vendors offer AI solutions, for enterprise IT managers, it would be imprudent not to leverage this startups base—especially when they are looking for AI as a competitive differentiator.

Yet, awareness about the startups is really low among IT managers community. What is worse, many of them believe that those 4-5 startups that do all the song and dance are the universe.

In fact, that is dangerous. Not all startups are good at reaching out to you. A large vendor is supposed to know your business well, send you nice marketing collateral and keep following up. Nothing wrong if you expect that as a matter of right. It will be disastrous to have the same expectations from a startup.

Most startups are focused around one of the three—a specific business problem, a technology or a few new use cases in a specific vertical. They may not be smart marketers. It is in your interest that you should be proactive in probing what exactly are they doing, how robust and polished are their solutions. The better you do that, the better you build your competitive advantage.

Judging a startup by client reference too is tricky. Startups often get the first couple of reference through personal networks. While a successful implementation is a definite plus, the lack of them is not a sign of weakness. What matters is what business problem they solve, how robust is the technology and how is the support—not necessarily how big is the client name.

I guess there are more than 100 startups (those that are less than 10 years, by our definition) working in AI space. We have managed to study 60 of them and presented before you.

If you really want to build your competitive advantage leveraging AI, you cannot not have a startup strategy—and a proactive one at that.

Read the ITNEXT November 2018 Issue


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