AI Hype? The Real Opportunity Lies in What Comes After

By Greg Tavarez February 12, 2024

AI solutions are generating headlines and excitement across industries. But for many businesses, the true value lies not just in the AI itself, but in the complementary solutions that unlock its full potential. This "goldmine" includes data management and preparation, infrastructure optimization, change management consulting and ongoing support and maintenance.

These services address the challenges businesses face when integrating AI into their existing systems and processes, and presents an opportunity for partners and resellers – they can provide businesses with the comprehensive support they need to unlock the true potential of AI. The point here is that offering a holistic approach can be a powerful differentiator and a key to success. This is a key message being echoed by industry insiders, including Bryan Nelson, solution engineer, Intelisys.

We had the chance to speak with Nelson ahead of ITEXPO 2024, taking place February 13-15 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Intelisys is a Diamond sponsor. Intelisys will be in Meeting Rooms 201A and 201B.

Nelson discusses how Intelisys assists partners to support their customers, strategies businesses can take to enhance their operational efficiency, the value of AI and what he is looking forward to at ITEXPO (News - Alert).

Here is what Nelson has to say:

What news or innovations in your products or services would you like to share?

AMP’d 2024: Intelisys’ national event series filled with high-impact, actionable education in CX, cybersecurity, cloud, IoT and more. View locations and dates here:

MyIntelisys enhancements:

Enhanced search functionality for the Supplier Portfolio in MyIntelisys, a customizable and interactive dashboard designed to support the Intelisys channel community. We have more than 250 supplier partners in our unique portfolio, adding to the complexity of quickly and easily identifying which suppliers offer specific solutions in specific circumstances. More than 350 unique keywords from SupplierScope have been added to the Portfolio Search. More than 800 unique keywords can be searched in SupplierScope and the Supplier Portfolio. These unique keywords are in addition to core terms like supplier name, technology and more.

New data center added to Compass (News - Alert), an interactive map detailing supplier compatibility, data centers, lit buildings, potential hazards and more. More than 700 new data center locations across the U.S. and expanded details for specific locations have been added.

Downloading supplier comparisons has gotten easier in MyIntelisys. Within the Supplier Portfolio, partners can filter and search using hundreds of keywords validated by our engineering team and then download associated SupplierScope deep dive information. By providing this option in a single spot, we can reduce the clicks it takes for Sales Partners to navigate to an intended destination.

Bryan Nelson
Solution Engineer 

What are the 2-3 most significant trends impacting business communications today and what opportunities do they present to businesses?

AI is affecting all technology categories that Intelisys works in through market disruption, AI solutions, and AI-enabled existing solutions.

There is a lot of buzz around AI solutions, but the real goldmine for our partners is in selling all the solutions that come along with AI. Buying an AI solution standalone is a lot like buying a boat without a trailer, a truck to pull it, a dock, an anchor, etc. Most customers don't realize the infrastructure requirements to make the AI solution work – we can help with that.

There is often a disconnect between operational technology practitioners and strategic technology leadership.

How are those trends impacting your business and/or product roadmap?

We are focusing on partner relationships to enable our partners for successful sales engagements through events, fellowships and regular cadences.

Opportunities are often accompanied by challenges. What challenges are businesses facing in today’s tech climate?

A slide by Gartner represents the real challenges faced by customers when trying to procure a new technology solution. I use this regularly to illustrate the many different ways a partner can support their customers through challenges.

How are you helping them overcome those challenges?

Training: We provide sales enablement training at our events to help a partner navigate objections, deliver a succinct value proposition to a customer, equip a customer with a success plan for their purchase, and present a technology solution to a customer’s senior leadership team. We also offer vendor agnostic technology trainings on the different categories of technology available through the Intelisys portfolio to equip the partner with the expertise they need to build trust with the customer and better understand the solutions they are offering to their customers

Engineering: Intelisys provides solution engineering, technology specialists (in the areas of cybersecurity, cloud compute and CX) and technology evangelists (in the areas of cybersecurity and CX) that work with the partner and the customer to discover opportunities, recommend solutions, and equip the customer for success.

Backoffice: Intelisys’s backoffice team streamlines engagements with suppliers by registering deals and setting up meetings for the partners, Intelisys engineers and customers. They also check in regularly with the partner for status updates on the opportunity to make sure that communications do not fall through the cracks. 

What strategies and technologies do you think are most effective for businesses looking to enhance their operational efficiency and customer experience simultaneously?

Strategies for operational efficiency in CX: Holistic approaches to CX, robust employee training and AI assistance.

Technologies for operational efficiency in CX: Single sign on, SCIM account provisioning, Screen Pops with AI-assisted knowledge base dips, AI-assisted engagement summaries and automated CSAT collection based on sentiment analysis.

Please share a success story or two about how your strategies/solutions have helped customers navigate challenges, turning them into opportunities.

A customer wanted to enable their contact center with AI for better operational efficiency. We discovered their CC was on prem and consulted with them to move to the cloud. While discovering requirements for a CCaaS solution, we uncovered 10-plus integrations. We were able to assist in consolidating that number down to about five that we were able to bring to a single vendor instead of having a variety of point solutions within their CX Practice. We provided a project manager to walk through the opportunity with the partner and the customer. We collected discovery information and did a knowledge transfer with potential suitors to save the customer time and improve efficiency. 

Whether you see MSFT as a competitor or an ally, there’s no denying MSFT has a massive presence in the business communications landscape. What does that presence mean to you, and how are you leveraging technology to either compete with or leverage Microsoft’s presence in the tech landscape

Microsoft is a great partner to ScanSource (News - Alert), enabling our customers to capitalize on the massive opportunities in cloud.

Businesses continue to invest in AI-driven solutions.  What do you see as the value of AI to your business and/or your customers?

AI can bring value to an organization in the following ways: Predictive AI models to solve an operational issue, LLMs layered on private data for more efficient search, LLMs layered on email and word processing applications to increase employee efficiency, LLMs assisting dev teams with code generation, AI-enabled authentication services to determine high-risk authentication requests and what to do with them and AI-enabled SIEM solutions to more accurately generate security alerts.

Is there a bigger challenge than cyber security facing businesses today? How is the ongoing evolution and growth of cyber threats impacting your product(s) and your customers?

Cyber continues to be compliance, certification and insurance driven. This has led to disjointed cyber strategies and tools or point-based solutions that are not integrated. Customers should prioritize, especially in the small business and mid-market. 

One of the biggest buzzwords over the past year is Generative AI. To what extent have you integrated or considered integrating GenAI into your business model and/or product portfolio?

We utilize GenAI in various teams throughout the business.

What changes do you see in the business technology/communications landscape in the coming year?  What impact will those changes have?

Increase in cybersecurity threats, continued consolidation of channel partner business, marketing receiving more budget than IT for technology and the year of DaaS.

What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO 2024?

This is my first time sitting on a panel at ITEXPO, and I am very excited.

What is your session and why is it a must-attend at ITEXPO 2024?

Heather Kurzenski, solo speaking breakout session, “Building a Better AI Story for Your CX Customer,” 1:30-1:55 p.m. Tuesday, February 13. Break through the hype, the myths and the urban legends. There are a few ways to tackle AI – try to be the facts and figures expert, go over the top imagining a world of bots doing it all while we lay in bed, or simply build a compelling story. Kurzenski will bust through the hype and provide attendees with practical messaging strategies to address AI in a way that compels and builds trust between them and their CX customer.  

Nelson will be a panelist, “Agility and Innovation with CPaaS and AI,” 9-9:45 a.m. Wednesday, February 14. CPaaS has created a game-changing paradigm for providers who understand how to leverage it to redefine their communications strategies and build more robust offerings for their customers. This session looks at how CPaaS is re-inventing the traditional telecom model and the opportunities it presents for service providers to become more agile in responding to market needs, create more value for their customers, and generate additional revenue streams. Topics will include: How does CPaaS complement and/or enhance existing solutions? What new use cases does CPaaS enable? How does the rapid growth of AI impact CPaaS? How does CPaaS help providers be more competitive in today’s market? And much more.

Nelson will also be a panelist for “Maximizing the Value of Your Microsoft (News - Alert) Teams Investment,” 11-11:45 a.m. Wednesday, February 14. In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital collaboration, seamless communication is the backbone of operational efficiency, and Microsoft Teams stands out as a powerhouse for businesses. This session delves into strategies to maximize the return on your Teams investment, delivering actionable insights on leveraging advanced features, integrating third-party tools, and fostering user adoption to drive organizational productivity. Discussion will also include best practices for governance, security and compliance, ensuring a seamless and secure collaboration environment. Whether you're new to Teams or looking to enhance its current usage in your organization, this session provides a comprehensive guide to unlocking its full potential for transformative business outcomes. 

Kurzenski will be a panelist for "How UC and AI are Revolutionizing Communications,” 11-11:45 a.m. Wednesday, February 14. As UC and AI converge to redefine the communications landscape, this session looks at the groundbreaking potential of merging UC with AI-driven tools to offer service providers a glimpse into the future of intelligent communication. Attendees will learn how AI can enhance UC capabilities, streamline processes and create value-added experiences for users, while driving revenue opportunities for providers. As businesses strive for enhanced efficiency and real-time collaboration, understanding the synergy between UC and AI becomes crucial and presents an unprecedented opportunity for service providers to capitalize on this communication revolution.

Why are you participating at ITEXPO 2024 and what are you highlighting at your booth?

Catch up with your business development manager, our solutions engineers and subject matter experts in the Intelisys Innovation Lounge. You can discover what’s coming in 2024 and have the opportunity for one-on-one networking and planning time with resources who can help accelerate your business opportunity this year. Our area will have a coffee bar with made-to-order drinks, SWAG and dedicated space to meet with our suppliers and the Intelisys team.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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