Join the Conversation: Harness Generative AI for B2B Services Success
Transforming B2B Services with Cutting-Edge AI: Exploring the Opportunities, and Risks, of Generative AI
First things first - we’re convening an intimate group of B2B Services leaders for a 90-minute, intensive discussion on AI in B2B Services the week of August 7th. With a focus on generative AI, such as ChatGPT, we’ll discuss how we’re approaching the technology as both opportunity and risk. The roundtable discussion is sponsored by Christoffer Ellehuus, President of Korn Ferry Digital. To request an invitation, please click the link below and let us know if you would like to join. We’ll confirm the exact date and time with the participants soon.
Right now, it seems like everyone is talking about AI. Some technology leaders want to warn us about the risk AI poses to human extinction, others want us to believe that AI will save the world. These strong claims create a temptation to either ignore it or jump on the bandwagon without a clear plan. However, both of these approaches would be a mistake. The reality is, AI is here to stay and is already transforming the way humans interact with technology, but is not a panacea and comes with real risks.
In preparation for the roundtable, I would like to share some of my own perspectives. As a product management coach, I urge leaders of B2B services organizations to approach AI productization strategically to avoid common pitfalls that can hinder success.
Don’t ignore the Generative AI trend:
Recent advancements in AI, particularly Generative AI, have created a tipping point in the field. The impact on businesses is already evident, as seen in the shifting landscape of companies like Chegg, who already saw revenue declines because customers are moving to free AI tools. Ignoring AI could mean missing out on customer shifts, and opportunities for growth and innovation.
Don’t jump straight to the tech solution:
Organizations often make the mistake of diving into new technologies without proper planning, research, or context, leading to 50% to 70% failure rates for product launches. AI products are no exception. In fact, since the beginning of this year, I have worked with three different customers who had AI-powered products that failed to gain the initial market traction they had hoped for. In each case, these organizations led with the technology solution and lacked a clear understanding of the urgent and expensive problem they were solving for a specific market segment. We are now working with them to revisit these fundamentals of productization.
AI is a powerful tool that enables new possibilities for productization at an unprecedented pace and scale. However, AI does not change the core principles of productization or the challenges that organizations face in achieving it. It remains essential to align the organization, foster a product mindset, and execute the right solutions. To successfully productize a B2B services organization while leveraging AI, it is crucial to follow Vecteris's three core principles:
1. Think big and start small:
Your corporate vision and strategy should guide your AI initiatives. Think big about the customer problems you want to solve, but start with small experiments. The AI landscape is still evolving, and iterating on your approaches will be necessary. Your roadmap should communicate the problems you aim to solve for customers, allowing flexibility to adapt to rapid changes in solving those problems.
2. Focus on solving urgent and expensive customer problems:
No matter how advanced or cutting-edge your AI technology may be, if you're not addressing urgent and expensive customer problems, it will not gain traction. As a recent Harvard Business Review article stated, prompt engineering isn't the future, problem formulation is a more enduring and adaptable skill. So to succeed in adopting AI, you need to continuously engage with your customers to reassess what problems they consider urgent and expensive. Then you will be primed to identify new innovations in AI as one of the many possible technologies to solve that problem. Because AI amplifies the value of good data and unique methods, understanding your unique data, methods, and intellectual property enables you to best solve customer problems with the tools at your disposal. If you try and go the other direction and start with the technology, it is like the tail trying to wag the dog and you’ll likely miss ways that you are uniquely positioned to solve customers problems.
3. Be fearless:
Remember that AI is still relatively new. Embrace experimentation and be willing to try new things. Fearlessly question your old business models and explore what is possible with an abundance mindset. While ensuring security, privacy, and ethical practices, don't let naysayers distract you from the incredible possibilities that AI offers.
The topic is so big and changing so fast, this single blog post couldn’t do it justice. We are excited about the upcoming roundtable with B2B service leaders where we anticipate a lively conversation.
Following the event, I will share the key learnings in a follow-up post. And because I am constantly learning something new from our own experimentation, from working with clients who are implementing AI, and through reading, I will continue to regularly post stories, resources, and learnings each week. I’ll focus on how it is relevant to B2B services organizations and productization. Follow me on LinkedIn if you’d like to keep up with these learnings.
And yes, I did have Chat GPT help write this blog. Here’s the prompt I started with: Please write a blog post in the voice of a Product Management Coach speaking to leaders of B2B services organizations that is based on the following outline: … [I had a fairly detailed outline that I edited a few times and asked ChatGPT to rewrite based on the new outline].