Published April 9, 2024

Delivering AI-driven value for clients and investors

AI is arguably the most high-profile technology trend of the last two decades, and the one that has garnered the greatest attention from the media, politicians, and consumers. This comes as the applications of the technology and the use cases are still being developed and tested.

2023 was the year where most of the attention and investment was directed towards AI products such as LLMs (large language models), plug-ins, and chatbots. Every CTO has been challenged on how their organisation is leveraging these products and how they can adapt their technology to a more autonomous future. Even the AI sceptics cannot ignore the threat from more agile AI-led startups and will face challenge from their boards as to how the business defends its position.

So far, the strategy of legacy enterprise organisations appears to be one of incremental adoption and the extension of existing investments in data and automation. One key factor in unlocking more value from the AI tools is the role of agile and innovative technology services providers and consultants.

There is a parallel here with the early adoption of cloud technologies. Both technologies came with lots of excitement and were easy enough to “lift and shift”, but to get true value from the investment in the new technology we need a transformation of business processes and technology working together. AI arguably has even greater transformation potential than cloud adoption, but it also has more potential to disrupt the functioning of the entire business, the people working within it, and to deliver real value requires a business wide adoption, not just in the IT estate. However, a LLM or chatbot can’t deliver this kind of transformation, even if the tools are exciting and fun to use.

We believe that this is the year the consultants start to make AI work for their service offering. Even at this early stage of the cycle, there are enough disappointed customers and underwhelmed budget-holders wondering what they’ve bought and why it isn’t having the transformative effect on their business that they expected. This is where services providers can help clients navigate a rapidly changing landscape and one where the hype can too easily be a distraction or waste of money.

At GCP, we see the AI challenge as being an extension of the business problems our partnered tech services and consultancy businesses solve for enterprise clients. The big global systems integrators have invested huge sums in developing their AI practises, however there is unlikely to be a one size fits all model that delivers value for clients across sectors, geographies, and different stages of the technology journey.

This is where we believe smaller and more focused consultancies operating with a specific set of technologies in clearly defined sector verticals have an important role to play in enabling their clients to realise value. The best tech services firms will de-mystify the hype, demonstrate a quick route to RoI, and, above all, manage client expectations.

At GCP, we have a twenty-year track record of investing in technology services and consulting businesses and we are hugely excited about the potential of AI adoption on the companies we partner with, as well as the markets they serve.

Our portfolio businesses; Hippo, Bridewell, and Robiquity have already adopted AI tools to enhance security, threat detection, machine learning, and automation capabilities throughout their service offerings. This allows their clients to reduce cost, improve efficiency, and scale their platforms.

This is all very exciting, but it is also early days for a new technology. Services firms are already commercialising these tools, thinking about how they complement their existing go to market models and, above all, beginning to deliver value to clients. Businesses and leaders that can achieve this will be well placed to scale with greater awareness and adoption of the technology. The hype doesn’t hurt either…