(This is a business case study. It will be used to guide discussions during the session: “AI and the evolution of analytics” at the Vendo Partner Conference in Barcelona on Wednesday, September 6th.)


“For a solution this really comes with a lot of problems,” thought Erwin as he felt acid building in his stomach. He pulled up Evernote and started listing the problems…

AI is…

  • New
  • Requires Trust
  • Big Investment

The newness. Very few companies know how to deal with AI. This can be a competitive advantage but it also leaves you outside of large, active communities that surround established technology. The big four Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are all about AI. But for smaller companies it is an unknown.

Trust needed for AI is more than Erwin is used to with other tech solutions. He can run 5,000 tours. Each is chosen by the AI based on its ability to convert a particular user. That user is a bundle of variables (browser, time, etc.). The AI is using an intelligence that is non-human. Erwin trusts the results because he compares it with a normal tour. It improves conversion. That’s clear. What is unclear is how it does it. That’s where the trust comes in. It’s a leap.

Big investments are hard to make for smaller companies. For Erwin, investing in AI came from his vision and his situation. He wants his company to stay small. Investing in tech instead of people is a no-brainer for him. He also has a relatively new platform so he doesn’t have to deal with legacy issues that most companies his age (8 years) struggle with. “What’s the cost of not doing it?” Erwin asked his partner Tim when they were debating the investment in AI. “We determined the cost would be losing competitive advantage to someone who was using AI to beat us. That cost was too high. So we decided to invest,” Erwin recalled.

Erwin thought about advice he would give to others considering getting into AI. “We’re glad that we really looked deeply at the problem, created a vision and then started to build the solution. It is still in progress. A big piece is hosting. For us it was a decision to stay competitive or fall by the wayside. We are stoked to be where we are at. Each day is full of new challenges and new opportunities to win. Go for it!”

He continued, “If you are not doing this now at least start storing all your data. So you can act on it once you have a solution. Store everything. You might be late to the party but you will need it and eventually you will use it with an intelligent platform.”

Questions for discussion:

Artificial Intelligence is the next step for analytics.

  1. What does that mean for your business today? What will it mean tomorrow?
  2. What are you currently using to collect data? What do you expect from your data?
  3. What are you doing different compared to 5 years ago?