Deloitte’s State of AI Report Should Thank the Search Market

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Towards the end of 2018, the second edition of Deloitte’s “State of AI in the Enterprise” was released.  The full report is well worth the time to read, but after we closed out 2018, I couldn’t get one section of the report out of my mind. Specifically, the first of their three core findings that “Early Adopters are ramping up their AI investments, launching more initiative, and getting positive returns.”

When I first read the report, a lot of what was covered in this part of the report was what I expected, almost to the point of being obvious. I started this blog a few different times but couldn’t quite settle on a point of view that I felt added value. That was right up until having some time off over the holidays. In this yearly time of reflection, I finally realized what needed to be said, and it’s that the Enterprise Search market deserves a lot of credit in Deloitte’s first summary point. Here’s why:

Deloitte calls out the “early adopters’ enthusiasm for cognitive technologies”

As everyone knows, the search market lives and breathes on finding information. All the leaders in our industry, on both sides of the vendor/vendee relationship, have embraced cognitive technologies and looked for multiple opportunities to integrate and invest in this area. A high percentage of AI offerings from Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have the potential to directly impact search projects.  For more details on this, check out the three-part blog I posted last year, “Are we in an AI revolution?

Deloitte found high penetration rates in:

  • Machine Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Computer Vision

This builds on the previous point but brings in some specifics. The search market has ready and proven integrations with each of these. Machine learning is being used to drive recommended content based on search usage patterns and user behavior, as well as building metadata taxonomies in a fraction of the time previously possible. Natural language processing is effectively being used to allow users to interact with search systems in natural language, as well as unlock key information from documents through analyzing them via natural language. Computer vision technology is unlocking image and video content for analysis and inspection that wasn’t previously possible.

Deloitte identifies Enterprise Software as the most popular, and easiest, path to AI

I feel like I have this exact conversation on a weekly basis. Too many organizations are slowing themselves down with a build vs. buy discussion related to AI technologies. At BA Insight, we steadfastly stick by the integrate, integrate, integrate mantra, as any attempt to build in this area will rapidly expose internal projects to the raw speed that the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are innovating at. Through vendors like us, handling the delivery of AI capabilities built directly inside of enterprise software, companies can deliver AI-driven results without the related IT costs CIOs faced even a year back.

I found no better examples of all these points than the innovation that is happening right here in the Enterprise Search market. Are those of us in this market really early adopters?  My view is that we’re past the early adoption phase, as trying to solve the access to the information problem has been around since pen was first put to paper. We’re out in front of the AI revolution because, compared to any other market I have worked in, the search market simply must be. User expectation progresses as rapidly as AI innovation does, so to not lead the revolution is to simply be surpassed by it.

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