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Through 2024, there is a 1 in 3 chance of a new “AI winter.” Big AI hides but survives, eventually thrives. When the “Innovators Dilemma” strikes again, who wins?


    • Major new enterprise application categories exploiting AI have yet to appear.
    • Fearmongering – pressing executives to “digitally transform” to avoid economic extinction – creates confusion and does more harm than good.
    • Executives are gun shy after seeing big AI projects fail to deliver significant business-altering results. Copying the Digital Giants offers no solace.

Negative consequences

    • Big AI-centered enterprise project spending will fall through at least 2021. New project starts won’t entirely cease, but people will stop talking about them. Many will hide them under different terms.

 Positive consequences

    • The use of products exploiting less visible, ingrained AI techs will grow dramatically. Over 90% of enterprise AI use will be via embedded AI. Embedded techs are ingrained, integral to the products they’re woven into, part of the products’ fabric. They boost the value the products deliver and don’t require buyers to commit to significant development projects. 
    • AI technologies embedded in the latest versions of business application suites and enterprise search are the best examples. Their embedding makes users smarter, more productive. 
    • Major new enterprise application categories exploiting AI will appeal to early adopters by 2025, beginning a new cycle of FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt), innovation and investment.

More predictions

Fearmongering fails
  • Enterprise managers know the “digital giants,” such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, are outstanding performers. Copying the giants resolves nothing. 
  • Firms facing existential threats do not need a Digital Strategy or a “5G-IoT-AI-Cloud-BigData” strategy. They need to be business-strategy-agile and willing to take on the related risks. 
  • Tech’s rarely the answer. It may, however, be a prerequisite for successfully executing a new business strategy.
The great debate: When the Innovator’s Dilemma strikes again, who wins?

When strategic, transformative enterprise application suites built on AI appear, who will they come from?

  • Existing market-leading suite suppliers?
  • The Digital Giants such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft?
  • Rebellious startups, perhaps unicorns?

Will existing suite suppliers retain their lead? Or be locked into a long term losing position by their current customers?  

Disclosure: This article is entirely my own opinion.