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Dell: Channel will need to provide AI reassurances

Dell research exposes levels of hesitancy among UK customers over artificial intelligence

Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is a phrase used constantly across the industry, but the channel is going to have to play an education role in helping customers to overcome their hesitancy around AI.

The sales pitch includes the promise of increased efficiency, greater automation and fresh insights generated from data analysis. But AI has also been shrouded in negative headlines around the potential impact on jobs.

Research from Dell Technologies has lifted the lid on user attitudes, revealing a mixed picture, with a significant number of those quizzed (75%) viewing AI as potentially having a transformative impact. However, just shy of 40% feel that they are not ready for the technology and are hesitant around adoption.

The reasons for those doubts include potentially negative impacts on employee morale, security concerns, worries over technical complexity, and the cost of implementation.

Rob Tomlin, vice-president of UK channel for Dell Technologies, said there was a clear role for partners to play in supporting more GenAI adoption.

“GenAI has the potential to provide immense value and sits alongside 5G, edge and security as the major opportunities for the channel. This survey shows a clear opportunity for the channel to step up and provide the guidance and expertise customers want and need,” he said.

“By developing long-term, trusted relationships with our partners and shared customers, we can help to ease concerns because collaboration is what will help turn hesitancy into excitement,” he added.

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement saw chancellor Jeremy Hunt add more funds to help support the ambition of establishing the UK as a leader in artificial intelligence. He announced a further £500m over the next two years to help establish two more compute innovation centres, bringing total investment outlay on the cause to more than £1.5bn.

“These investments will allow researchers and SMEs to develop new foundation models and maximise the UK’s potential in AI,” stated the Treasury Autumn Statement report.

That decision comes on the back of other activities by the government to promote AI and the opportunities it could deliver.

“At the recent Bletchley Park summit, government ministers and academics alike demonstrated a shared consensus on the opportunities and risks of AI. These results suggest a similar attitude within businesses across the UK – excitement about AI’s transformational potential tempered by hesitancy regarding employee morale, security, technology, and cost,” said Steve Young, senior vice-president and managing director for Dell Technologies in the UK.

“To realise the promise of AI, UK businesses of all sizes need to feel confident about incorporating advanced AI into their core business processes effectively and efficiently. This is where smart multicloud decisions can help. Combining on-premise, private and public cloud means businesses can make smart choices that balance and address security, technical complexity and cost,” he added.

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