Strategy Analytics defines path to AI vendor and buyer success in new report

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Research firm Strategy Analytics has argued in a new report that both vendors of AI products and their users can succeed with a ‘thorough understanding’ of customer journeys.

The report, ‘Defining the AI Buyer Journey’, aims to take a comprehensive view of the ‘who, what, why and how long’ issues in the buyer journey, from paths to selection, paths to adoption, and implementation.

The goal is to avoid all ‘AI-washing’ where possible. This can occur on both the vendor side – misleadingly slapping the term AI or ML on an offering – and for users, misunderstanding the business capabilities required. “It is critical to look beneath the label at the nature of the activity that is involved,” Strategy puts it.

As a result, the report explores three questions:

  • Who is the interested party or prospect – such as line of business, or a functional group within an organisation, or IT?
  • What is being purchased – a specific application or an AI platform?
  • Why is the capability or application software being purchased?

All obvious lines of enquiry when doing due diligence, one may have thought – but organisations at different stages of the buyer journey may have conflicting priorities.

Strategy Analytics’ analysis indicates that just under a third (30%) of companies actively exploring AI solutions fall into the ‘early adopter’ category, with another 30% defined as ‘committed AI prospects’ a little further back. Of the early adopters, two thirds are adopting an applications development platform, compared to a third looking for application-specific software.

The initial journey usually progresses in a similar fashion. Naturally, addressing a practical problem and identifying a business case is ‘frequently the first milestone’ in the buyer journey, with initial interest turning to introductory exposure after around six months. Following this – eschewing budget for now – around 30% of adopters begin the decision process for both a potential application and an approach to development.

While this is an average position with early adopters, it has to be noted that other companies will not be as steadfast in their strategies. The report also notes that drivers for adoption and the journey for a specific company varies significantly.

Yet the report can be seen as a way to provide directional insights on buyer journeys and adoption paths, also covering drivers for AI application adoption, and business development.

“While AI is not exactly a nascent market, it is now realising more of its potential than ever before, which in turn is contributing to its significant growth,” said Harvey Cohen, president of Strategy Analytics and author of the report. “Establishing goals and a framework to achieve them is paramount to success, based on extensive project work and research performed by Strategy Analytics.”

You can read a report overview here (free, account required).

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

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