In the technology industry, it’s not unusual for vendors to latch on to the latest trend and claim to have a product or service that fits the category. Artificial intelligence is no exception, which means customers need to be vigilant about querying vendors to ensure their technology is AI, if not intelligent process automation (IPA) specifically.
The London-based venture capital firm MMC found that of 2,830 startups in Europe classified as AI companies, only 1,580 – about 56% – offered AI technology.
“We looked at every company, their materials, their product, the website, and product documents,” David Kelnar, head of research for MMC, told Forbes. “In 40% of cases, we could find no mention of evidence of AI.” In such cases, he added, “companies that people assume and think are AI companies are probably not.”
The Forbes article explains that these companies didn’t necessarily classify themselves as AI firms; they ranked them by third-party analytics websites. But companies weren’t quick to correct the classification either.
That makes the customer’s job more difficult as they search for intelligent automation technologies to solve real business problems. So, to do our part to help you separate the AI wheat from the chaff, here are three questions to ask prospective AI and IPA solution vendors to determine whether the technology they’re hawking is real.
1. What’s your algorithm strategy?
Some AI vendors have homegrown algorithms that they’ve trained over time. Others use open source algorithms such as TensorFlow, which are open to the general public and constantly improved. Either way, the vendor should explain what its algorithm does and where it came from. If not, run away.
2. What’s your data strategy?
Here the answers may vary. For Indico, the answer lies in our generalized model that is the baseline for all of our intelligent process automation tools. Our base model consists of more than 500 million data points, which is enough to understand human language and context. Users can then customize the model to take on whatever task they’re trying to tackle, but using 100x to 1000x less data than would typically be required. Here again, if a prospective vendor can’t articulate its own database story, perhaps they’re part of the 40% that aren’t selling AI.
3. What’s your application strategy?
For AI to be beneficial, it has to come with some application that makes it accessible to those who want to employ it, whether data scientists, IT, or business people. Indico has a point-and-click user interface that makes it simple for anyone – including business people – to build effective process automation solutions and models without the need for data science expertise. Without some application to make the AI technology useful, you’re not going to get much value out of it.
AI startups are targeting process automation
As with most technology categories, there is much noise, making it challenging to figure out which vendors can add real value and help you address the challenges you face. Hopefully, these questions will help you find AI vendors that can solve real business problems.
To learn more about how IPA helps automate processes that include unstructured content, download this free analyst report from the Everest Group, Intelligent Document Processing for Unstructured Documents.