Ingram Micro is a Business Reporter client.
Adapt and thrive or risk becoming irrelevant? That’s the pivotal choice presented to many business leaders today when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). But what if we defined AI as agile intelligence, and freed our teams to embrace the spirit of digitization and “cheer AI” not “fear AI”?
With a new outlook on AI, teams could use the advancing technology not only to gain a competitive edge but also unlock a future of possibilities and new experiences where agility, efficiency and strategic insights become signatures of their success. The time to advance your efforts and enable your team to understand what AI is and what it isn’t is now.
First, AI is not new. The term was coined in 1956 and by 1964, MIT had developed the first chatbot. In 1997, IBM’s Watson supercomputer won Jeopardy and in 1999, Sony introduced aibo, a robotic puppy whose personality and skills developed over time depending on its living environment and relationships with people. By 2011, everyone was saying, “Hey Siri” and in 2022, ChatGPT became available for public use.
Business Reporter: Ingram Micro
AI has evolved from natural language processing and speech and image recognition to machine learning, neural networks and deep learning. And it continues to develop with the emergence of generative AI, which is here to stay.
AI mimics human intelligence and depends on human input and design to function well. Gen AI resembles the process the human brain uses to create new data and useful content at a speed and scope far beyond a person’s capabilities. As such, businesses must approach AI with humans top of mind. You simply cannot improve AI without human involvement.
Data is crucial for AI. We can’t talk about AI without talking about data—clean, accurate, meaningful data. The effectiveness of AI’s output and results is intricately tied to the quality of the information it derives from various data points. So, businesses intent on deploying a successful AI strategy must make the quality and scope of their data lake the highest priority. Where data goes, AI will follow.
AI presents huge opportunities. According to McKinsey, venture capital investment in AI has grown by a factor of 13 over the past 10 years. Further, analyst firms such as Constellation Research are saying businesses that adopt Gen AI early will see exponential growth and more meaningful customer experiences. The key is to use AI to create value at scale and to identify use-cases that are relevant for industries. An example shared recently was a leading apparel retailer that is leveraging AI to automate responses to 65% of its customer inquiries, freeing skilled CSRs to handle higher-value interactions.
Another example is the use of AI by distributors, such as Ingram Micro, for initiatives ranging from speeding new customer and vendor onboarding and optimizing their supply chain to managing discounts and rebates and improving marketing programs. One high-value use of AI by distributors is supporting push portals that learn from the data they take in to improve the recommendations provided and to offer better solutions to their customers.
Of course, the key question for these use cases is, is the use of AI helping? Yes, the evidence is clear. Studies show that the use of AI results in bigger deals and greater results. In fact, according to 6sense, deal sizes are doubled with AI, and the use of AI results in thousands of dollars of more revenue for every opportunity worked. Additionally, the use of AI has been shown to deliver a 91.3% faster deal velocity.
The future is bright. As AI continues to develop, savvy businesses will focus on using AI to create and capture value at scale. We have moved beyond using AI simply for automation and are finding exciting new ways to use it to improve experiences for all of a business’s constituents.
The takeaway: AI was then, it’s now, and it will continue to be what is next.
Humans are not being replaced by robots at scale. Yes, the jobs we do will be different. But what’s really important is to know that our mindset when it comes to AI will drive our future skillsets and abilities. We must continue to move forward together. Getting better and stronger each and every day and using AI to build advantages for us and for those we serve.
Together, working in concert with technology, we will continue to solve big challenges, drive new opportunities, spur new innovations and create exciting new experiences.
Sanjib Sahoo is an award-winning global technology and business executive and the EVP, Global Technology and chief digital officer of Ingram Micro, a worldwide leader in technology distribution and the brand behind today’s established and emerging technology brands.
Sahoo has been involved in leading digital transformation in two different industries: the financial services industry and the transportation industry. He has won dozens of awards for his leadership, humanity and technology innovation including the prestigious 2023 Bharat Samman Award at the House of Lords for being a global technology and business icon, as well as being named to Fortune India’s 2023 “Unstoppables,” where Sahoo was named one of the World’s Most Influential Personalities and Business Minds.
Sahoo joined Ingram Micro in 2021. He leads the global technology strategy and digitization of Ingram Micro, which includes the company’s digital twin, Ingram Micro Xvantage™. He has responsibilities for global technology, digital platforms and digital operations, as well as the company’s product, data, engineering and digital marketing groups.