"Cheer AI, don't fear AI," says Ingram Micro's Sanjib Sahoo.

Channel Futures Staff

March 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Ingram Micro Sanjib Sahoo CP Expo 2024
Ingram Micro's Sanjib Sahoo on stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 13, 2024.Steve Hall Photography

Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence (AI). But how many are taking action and integrating AI into their business model?

That was one of many decision points Ingram Micro chief digital officer Sanjib Sahoo posed to the audience during his keynote at last week's Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.

Sahoo, a top thinker on business and digital transformation, is known for encouraging channel partners to “cheer AI, not fear AI.” He asked the audience of MSPs, technology advisors and vendors alike not to merely market the hype of AI but work to incorporate “AI into your story."

“AI is not new,” said Sahoo. “The first chatbot (Lisa) was created in the '60s. Many years later, we are still here. AI does not take away jobs. It has not disrupted completely what we do. Everybody thinks AI is about automation, efficiency and keeping costs down. But the world has changed. [AI] is all about experience.”

From daily encounters such as customer support to more strategic engagements including digitally transforming businesses, today’s AI can help organizations thrive. It can also help them build and achieve “human intelligence at scale," Sahoo noted.

In order to do AI "right," Sahoo observed that channel partners and the companies they serve must learn how to operate with data — creating the means to both accept the data and learn from the data.

Related:Images: Biggest and Best from the 2024 Channel Partners Expo Hall

“Most companies do not know how to create and capture value with AI,” said Sahoo. Going the route of 'technology first and adoption second’ does not work. It has to be continuous. You have to learn to operate with AI. Make it manageable; make it mainstream.”

A 2023 McKinsey study showed the potential trillion-dollar annual impact AI could have on corporate profits; yet, despite the potential, a very small amount of data collected by businesses is being used for what Sahoo calls “meaningful insights.”

“To get the value of AI you need data — it’s the foundation of AI,” said Sahoo, who also signaled caution, using the age-old adage, “garbage in, garbage out.”

“You do not need the best scientists. What you need is to create your digital BMI,” comprised of the best people, mindset and innovation, he said.

Today’s AI has shifted into “high gear” and is becoming “a true value creator” for channel partners and their customers, said Sahoo. The next question of course is, “How are you creating value with AI?”

Sahoo advised that the channel must operate at the “speed of need” and use AI to connect the ecosystem and create more intelligence every day. Where data goes, AI follows, which is why, according to Sahoo, “the true power of AI is human and the future is humans and machines working in concert to create new customer experiences, iterate faster and reduce the legacy footprint — and use the power of AI to solve problems.”

Related:Channel Partners 2024 Day 3 Keynotes: AT&T, TSDs, More

How we heard it: Don’t define your value by the hyped technology of the times. Be distinctive with your value and use AI to amplify it and achieve real business outcomes.

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