When a start-up can raise $118 million without a single product and only a name—Mistral AI—it’s a clear sign artificial intelligence is a very real investment today, and it’s here to stay. And as a recent report from Bain Capital Partners (BCV) reveals, the tech trends of more powerful processors and improved user interfaces that have made “abundant intelligence” easier to use combined with ChatGPT have created new opportunities for entrepreneurs as AI dominates the coming age.
$140 billion: The current worth of the application software industry
17 million contact center agents now work in the customer support industry
1 billion knowledge workers
Key to finding and taking advantage of these opportunities is the understanding that AI is a foundational technology, like a microprocessor, and not a distribution channel such as mobile and cloud. The most promising companies are the ones quickly building AI into their current platforms, including Firefly for Adobe and Copilot for Microsoft, write the authors of the BCV report.
AI will, they add, expand the application universe, and change the way workers interact with technology. Without context and requiring continual input from their users, apps can often increase the very workloads they were designed to decrease. It’s a $140 billion industry in need of a massive tune-up, and AI could possibly provide the jump start for apps designed for everything from hospitals to retail.
For the one billion-plus knowledge workers who perform calculations, take notes, and write documents, AI has the potential to skyrocket their productivity in such functions as marketing, sales, HR, finance, engineering and IT service management. The 17 million people who work as contact service agents will be able to do their jobs better for better customer service and, presumably, better brand loyalty.
App entrepreneurs, meanwhile, will benefit from outpacing companies retrofitting their businesses with generative AI, with three fields looking particularly promising:
Creating more software revenue by replacing repetitive but human tasks with the next generation of AI
Improving customer experience by integrating AI into immutable workflows, such as government procurement and medical billing
Building apps in an AI-native way
The real takeaway on artificial intelligence right now is long-term innovation to unlock hidden value, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group. For CEOs, this means identifying the right use cases and planning investments; preparing workforces by redefining roles and responsibilities and adjusting operating models; and finally preparing for risk while ensuring quality and security.
“Leaders who are prepared to reimagine their business models—identifying the right opportunities, organizing their workforce and operating models to support generative AI innovation, and ensuring that experimentation doesn’t come at the expense of security and ethics—can create long-term competitive advantage,” write the authors.
Up next: Part 2 of the Best Bests For Artificial Intelligence: Restructuring Data