Motivation and Concept
In order to meet the customers’ need for effective solutions in the field of Artificial Intelligence, various approaches – and combinations of them – are possible
- Consulting: the complete development takes place on site at the customer, who also receives all rights
- Software Development (“Software”): the customer aquires licences of a product and operates it on his own infrastructure
- Software as a Service (SaaS): the customer aquires licences of a product that is operated on the remote infrastructure of the SaaS provider
For the customers, each of these approaches has specific advantages and disadvantages.
Today’s technological possibilities make a further prototypical approach – AI as a Module (AIaaM) – possible
- the client acquires a pre-trained model (such as neural network) for specific tasks (such as translation of texts), which he operates independently
- the model is not a software in the narrow sense, but requires e.g. a Python environment. The procedures and data for the training remain with the supplier
As shown below, this approach combines several advantages of consulting, software development, and SaaS for customers.
Advantages and Disadvantages from the Customer Point of View
For the customers, each of the mentioned service types has specific pros and cons
- Very high flexibility: Consulting projects are extremely tailored to customer needs
- Know-how build-up: Customers can acquire knowledge from the consultants and use it for further tasks
- Contact persons: There are contacts available for every requirement at least throughout the project
- Time comsumption: Consulting projects are often extremely time-demanding and can take up to years
- Expensiveness: Correspondingly, the costs are also very high – and can even continue to rise
- Low price: In general, software is relatively cheap – in some cases even free
- Standardization: Software for specific tasks is often standardized and allows the customer to use best practice approaches
- “Black box“: Often, customers have no possibility to examine how the used procedures in the software really work. (This is not the case for Open Source software, of course.)
- Lengthy approval processes: Companies in regulated industries – like banks – have often lengthy approval processes in place. The effort can even reach proportions of projects.
- Security risks: Complex software may have unknown security vulnerabilities, and open e.g. the door for hackers
- Low price: In general, SaaS is relatively cheap
- Resource saving: Customers need only very limited resources for operating the service
- “Black box“: As with software, customers often have no possibility to examine how the used procedures of the service really work
- Supplier dependency: Customers depend on the service of third parties and are directly affected, e.g. in the case of an insolvency
- Hurdles due to outsourcing: SaaS is often seen as a form of outsourcing. Depending on industry and legislation, legal hurdles can arise
- High flexibility: Pre-trained models can be used extremely flexible inside an organization’s processes. E.g., a translator module can easily be a connected upstream of a classification routine
- Build-up of relevant know-how: Customers can learn how to apply the modules with own, customized procedures
- Lower regulatory hurdles: Since AIaaM is no full software in the narrow sense, hurdles should be significantly lower
- Transparent tools: Customers can integrate the modules into their own and maintain an overall transparency
- Low price: The price of a module is generally even lower than that of a commercial software since there is no there is no superstructure.
- Efficiency: Customers are not forced to purchase unnecessary features that are already covered by other tools
- No access to training procedures: Customers just acquire the trained model and not the training data or the training procedures. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, however, if only limited resources are available and the core business is a different one
- Medium implementation effort: The installation needs some minimum programming, e.g. in Python. The knowledge for that should be available in each medium or large organization, however
In summary, AaaM combines several advantages of consulting, software, and SaaS – and avoids most disadvantages.
We are happy to support our customers with related issues.
Dr. Dimitrios Geromichalos
Founder / CEO
Nördliche Münchner Straße 47, 82031 Grünwald