Sundar Pichai says “AI is the future of Google”. Gartner, the global Think Tank says “AI technologies will be in almost every new software products by 2020”.
Machine Learning is the medium through which AI becomes commonplace is poised for market dominance. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are becoming key components in the digital strategy of enterprises belonging to every scale and business model. Gartner estimates that at least 30% of the CIOs will have AI as a high priority investment priority.
A whole lot has been happening in the AI and ML space in the recent years. Google has made steadfast developments with its DeepMind algorithm. Amazon is offering a suite of ML models that businesses can use for data classification. Pinterest has already ML to render personalized pins for its users. Netflix, the world’s most popular video streaming service is also leaning on AI and ML to suggest personalized video recommendations for its subscribers.
This is great news for companies that are already treading the digital transformation path. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, they can turbo boost their business productivity and streamline routine processes for quick goal completions.
But, all depends on picking the right machine learning consulting company. A well-chosen machine learning consultant partner can make a world of a difference to the long-term digital transformation.
Unlike Machine Learning based product or services company, consultants have a slightly different range of roles and responsibilities to enact. Their role is more of an advisory nature than of executor.
But, how to find the right machine learning consulting partner? Being an emerging topic of interest and giants like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and the likes already occupying the front seats, it is not an easy choice.
This is exactly the challenge that we are trying to address on this blog. Here is how you can spot machine learning consulting companies that you can afford to engage and also achieve your digital goals with machine learning at its center.
#1. They Regularly Publish Thought Leadership Content
Consultants are seen as intelligent people who have deep insights into the domain they work on. That makes them Thought Leaders who can publish content that will educate and enlighten their followers with knowledge about a specific topic – in this case, Machine Learning.
Think of this scenario. A consulting firm of an individual who publishes a thought-provoking log, white paper, case study or proof of concept of Machine Learning is de default is considered an expert in that field. Their expertise can be measured easily with the kind of content they publish and how it resonates in the online world. Evaluating the content that machine learning consulting companies publish will help you identify the right company you can partner with.
#2 They Are Active In Virtual Communities
Virtual events like webinars, Q&A sessions, live video broadcasts, etc. are excellent ways to grasp viewership and attention. When the topic being discussed is something novel like Machine Learning, the viewership is bound to increase quickly.
But, how can be participating in virtual communities help Machine Learning consulting firms in winning ML consulting gigs?
The biggest benefit of these virtual communities is that there is zero cost of participation. It is also convenient and helps distribute content to a massive chunk of the audience in a single shot. With interactive chat and professional networking, there is a fat chance that consulting firms would be able to spot opportunities where their knowledge in machine learning can be put to use.
Marketo – the marketing automation software was able to garner 20,000 attendees from 20 of its sessions through its Marketers First Virtual Event. The event helped position Marketo as a preferred option for marketing automation software.
#3 They Are Machine Influencers
Sometimes it is easier to learn about a new topic or technology when you follow people (influencers) who are making things happen in that space. The influencer marketing route is one that promises great returns on any topic, including Machine Learning.
To give a background idea, influencers are individuals who learn more about a topic and describe how it can be put to use in business and daily life. Machine learning influencers are more influential than influencers in another field.
Why? They are talking about a topic that is highly technical, involves sophisticated processes and involves a lot of data science application. Not everybody can do that.
So, one can be certain that machine learning influencers are either ideal consultants or can connect you with such companies whom they rely on for intel gathering and references.
Long ago, in February 2017, IBM published a list of must-follow AI Twitter influencers. It is a good starting point if you are yet to know anyone in this emerging space.
#4 They Have Experience Building an ML-based Product
Punit Soni, Flipkart’s Former CPO recently tweeted that “90% of companies doing AI/ML are doing nothing even remotely related. The number is probably 99% for startups.”
Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for machine learning consulting companies. This opportunity can be used to portray themselves as real-world problem-solvers than just another startup that is passing ordinary if-then loop codes as AI programs.
The best way to do that will be building ML-based products that can be quickly scaled. And, when it comes to scalability SaaS is the best option available right now.
There are tons of ideas floating around for a SaaS-based ML product, including Natural Language Processing based Chatbots, Product recommendation engines, Predictive analytics solutions for IoT, etc. Proof of concepts or demonstrations can help see if a machine learning consulting company is really worth its salt.
If not proof of concepts, they can be tested with case studies. Case studies are up close examination of how a problem was addressed with the help of a technology. They are typically used to showcase how a client challenge was resolved by the company with the help of technologies, specifically machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Machine Learning has been around since the early 90s. But, it is in the recent years that it has gained so much attention as a business transforming technology. Machine Learning is inherently complex which puts it beyond the reach of businesses that are just getting into the Digital Transformation scene.
For such businesses, help comes in the form of machine learning consulting companies who can suggest the right machine learning strategy that can optimize operations, slash redundant processes and improve the overall efficiency of the business.
There are several challenges involved in finding the right machine learning consulting company. To begin with, they are fewer in number. Second, their expertise is difficult to measure. Third, their experience should be explicitly demonstrated.
This blog rounds up how you can overcome these challenges to find a perfect ally for your machine learning journey.