Here, Tim Britt, Director of Sales & Channel EMEA, outlines what’s needed for the channel to accelerate the AI opportunity both responsibly and strategically.
To say that AI has captured the imagination like no other technology would be to greatly understate its potential impact, believes Britt. He says the channel has entered into a new era and cited a survey by Dialpad in which nearly half of respondents had received enquiries from vendors about using AI in their business. “It’s no surprise when AI can supercharge the ability to manage complex multi-vendor ecosystems,” he stated. “AI gives us the ability to automate routine processes and find what we need faster.”
Britt also pointed to research by Economist Impact (sponsored by Dropbox) which found that of those who already use AI and automation tools in their work, 79 per cent are more productive. “Ultimately, AI adoption will become the dividing line between the companies that get ahead versus those that are left behind,” added Britt.
“However, businesses need to ensure that the models they’re investing in adhere to upcoming regulation, as well as their own business values. They need to make sure they’re deploying AI in the right areas of the business to drive the most impact. This is where channel partners can play an important role. Partners need to offer customers hands on support throughout this journey by acting as valuable consultants.”
Ultimately, AI adoption will become the dividing line between the companies that get ahead versus those that are left behind
To do this, Britt says partners should keep three vital steps in mind, Firstly, he says resellers would be well advised to encourage customers to plan ahead. “AI has captured everyone’s attention and companies are racing to integrate it into their offerings,” he stated. “But despite wanting to move fast, businesses must take a thoughtful approach. Here, resellers can support customers by building tailored plans that set up the technology for long-term success. AI has the potential to truly change how we work for the better, but only when it’s used in a purposeful and appropriate way.”
Britt also noted that AI is not a fix-all, and as companies look to the future they need to take a hard look at where AI will drive the most impact. “They need to think about how it will integrate with employees, their existing systems, the company’s security requirements and legislation,” he added. “Doing so will enable customers to deploy AI with a powerful and targeted approach that brings them closer to their objectives.”
The second key step advocated by Britt revolves around guiding customers to the right AI solutions. “A deep understanding of the customer and the AI-powered solutions on offer is essential,” he added. “Partners need to pinpoint where these solutions will be the most powerful as well as the challenges that their customers might need to navigate. Those that do this successfully will help customers navigate the increasingly crowded market. Those that leverage a more personalised use of AI can really make a difference.”
The third priority is to adopt AI responsibly, noted Britt. He referenced last month’s UK AI Safety Summit as a reminder to us all that AI must be used responsibly. “Because of this, companies must keep the use of AI in line with their core business values,” commented Britt. “In this new era of AI the commitment to values is more important than ever before.
“When we launched our latest AI-powered products we also published our own set of AI principles. As we develop our AI offerings these principles will serve as constant benchmarks for our teams to demonstrate our dedication to exploring AI responsibly. Businesses looking to embrace AI should do the same.”
Guidelines will vary depending on the organisation, and before creating their own, businesses should study best practices around the world and across their industry, believes Britt. “Then, through the lens of their company values, they should ask themselves why they are embracing AI and understand the positive impact that they hope it will have on their teams, customers, industry and larger communities,” he commented.
“Guiding customers to this point will put them in the best possible position to start their AI journey. And as trusted advisors along the way, channel partners can position themselves as educational experts when it comes to unlocking the exciting and positive benefits of AI.”