Everyone's talking about AI but industry reps say few are ready to implement

Finding a reason to do it might be the hardest part

Canalys APAC Forum Businesses are clamoring to adopt AI, without really knowing what to do with it, according to speakers on a panel at last week's Canalys APAC Forum in Bangkok.

Disties, solutions providers, and reps of Big Tech counterparts all volunteered that practitioners have plenty of information to digest about AI – but they're overwhelmed and cannot yet understand how to put the tech to work.

The result resembles a micro-Gartner hype cycle within the closed loop of the organization itself. AI enthusiasm eventually becomes tempered by a lack of clarity on how to apply it.

"We saw the lack of people moving from new growth into being more optimistic over the last five years," observed Sunil Golani, a director at distributor TD Synnex.

"There are customers who are starting to look at productivity centric use cases, but then when we go across our channel and speak to those customers, we realize that they are perhaps not ready in their own environments," Golani added.

The director said that once the conversations start occurring, customers begin to realize "it's not as easy as flipping a switch," and that a product engineering course or other quick fix will not solve deeper problems.

New Zealand IT services provider Tribe's director of strategy and delivery Craig Musker said his customers' interest in AI spans a wide range – from desire to create custom large language models, to being happy using cloudy services, even to not understanding the technology at all.

For some, AI needs are "quite simple" – meaning they use it for photo and email management.

Musker mused that AI's potential is limitless, but customers are focussed on trying to solve business problems.

With the availability of actual AI applications relatively new on the scene and things evolving so rapidly, how could businesses be expected to know what they want? Microsoft Copilot landed only in September and ChatGPT is just over a year old.

"What you learned today may not even be relevant in one quarter," argued Dell presales channel director Sidharth Joshi.

"You will pretty much be able to write a large language model in English in about six to nine months' time. You can just say, 'hey, I want to do this, here's my data set' and you would not need any coding," he furthered. "These models will keep evolving at a very rapid pace."

His advice was to focus on ROI and what incremental value changes add, rather than getting caught up in excitement. ®

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