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Build Your AI Solution Selection Criteria

Get to the right questions with a look through the buyer’s lens.

The age of AI is here. You have been asked by the business to go shopping for AI capabilities that support key business goals, possibly including:

  • Platforms to fast-track the delivery of AI capabilities with canned AI models and data engineering capabilities available out-of-the-box.
  • Enterprise software with integrated AI capabilities.
  • Infrastructure to support AI capabilities in your organization.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

What buyers are looking for is evolving, and what's offered in the market is changing daily. Differentiation between AI platforms and solutions becomes most visible and stable when viewed through the lens of the well-prepared buyer.

Impact and Result

Use Info-Tech’s practical methodology to:

  • Ensure you have a view of expected value before you start to build selection criteria.
  • Evaluate your buyer profile and identify key influences on your buying decision.
  • Highlight the key capabilities that matter most to delivering on your high-value AI use cases.
  • Evaluate solutions in the market to identify key differentiated solution capabilities.

Build Your AI Solution Selection Criteria Research & Tools

1. Build Your AI Solution Selection Criteria Storyboard – Select an AI platform vendor for your organization.

A step-by-step document that walks you through how to select an AI platform vendor that best aligns with your organization.

2. AI Buyer Assessment Tool – A tool to explore and define the current attitudes and positions within your organization regarding AI adoption and vendor experience.

Use this tool to build your understanding of the current attitudes and positions within your organization regarding AI adoption and vendor experience. This will help focus and support your organization's efforts to select an AI vendor platform provider.

3. AI Reference Architecture – a starting point to help you conceptualize, document, communicate, and validate AI solution designs.

Use our AI Reference Architecture Template to identify key technical capabilities required to support high-value AI use cases.

4. AI Software Capability Comparison Tool – A tool to support your initial research into AI vendor and software capabilities.

Use this tool to structure your initial research into AI vendor and software capabilities. It is intended to be used as part of Info-Tech's methodology, Build Enterprise AI Selection Criteria.

5. AI Vendor Questionnaire – examples of open-ended questions to help structure conversations with prospective AI vendors.

Tailor the questions in this template to reflect your own high-value use cases and required capabilities. Use the questions support focused, high-value vendor interviews.

6. AI Vendor Selection Criteria Tool – a structure and example content to support an accelerated or formal selection processes.

Use this tool to document detailed selection criteria you can use in an accelerated or highly formal software selection process.


Build Your Enterprise AI Solution Selection Criteria

Get to the right questions with a look through the buyer's lens

Analyst Perspective

AI solutions are rapidly evolving. The buyer's lens will simplify your view

It is essential to cut through the hype and select the right AI solutions for your organization.

This research provides a guide to defining selection criteria for AI solutions. First, use our self-assessment to identify your buying persona, and identify the differentiating capabilities that matter most to delivering on your key AI use cases.

Once you've focused on the vendors that may be a good match, use our vendor evaluation tool to build targeted requirements and use cases for a short-list of vendors, ensuring that you make the best decision for your organization.

Don't get left behind in the race for AI innovation – let our structured methodology guide you to success.

Steve Willis, Practice Research Director

Steve Willis
Practice Research Director
Info-Tech Research Group

Andrew Sharp, Research Director

Andrew Sharp
Research Director
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your ChallengeCommon ObstaclesInfo-Tech's Approach
The age of AI is here. You have been asked by the business to go shopping for AI capabilities that support key business goals, possibly including:
  • Platforms to fast-track the delivery of AI capabilities with canned AI models and data engineering capabilities available out-of-the-box.
  • Enterprise software with integrated AI capabilities.
  • Infrastructure to support AI capabilities in your organization.
  • There's enormous pressure to act, but also tremendous information gaps, which leaves you feeling underprepared, rushed, uncertain, and at-risk of some serious buyer's remorse.
  • You're being pushed toward a decision on a poorly articulated business case without a clear path to value.
  • You already have investments with key vendors, and it's unclear if you should extend what you already have or look to new candidates.
Use Info-Tech's practical methodology to:
  • Ensure you have a view of expected value before you start to build selection criteria.
  • Evaluate your buyer profile and identify key influences on your buying decision.
  • Highlight the key capabilities that matter most to delivering on your high-value AI use cases.
  • Evaluate solutions in the market to identify key differentiated solution capabilities.

Info-Tech's Overarching Insight
What buyers are looking for is evolving, and what's offered in the market is changing daily. Differentiation between AI platforms and solutions becomes most visible and stable when viewed through the lens of the well-prepared buyer.

Big decisions, not much time

AI has gone from a backburner project to the main focus of many organizations

  • Your business has big expectations for AI.
  • 59% of companies view AI as critical or highly critical to their business in the next year, and 69% in the next three years.1 The increasing capabilities and availability of generative AI will accelerate AI adoption.
  • You're the one in the hot seat to select the enterprise AI solution to deliver on high-value AI use cases.
  • This might include pre-built AI models, data science and development toolkits, data engineering capabilities, infrastructure, and more.
  • The benefits of big AI investments typically take a year or more to outweigh the costs. 2

1. Scale, 2023.

2. AIIA, 2022.

How long did it take for the benefits from AI/ML to outweigh costs of infrastructure, implementation, and personnel? 2

Chart showing benefits vs costs

Manage the risk of buyer's remorse

  • AI is an innovative and rapidly changing space. Technologies are emerging and maturing and becoming obsolete, even as you try to assess them.
  • In most organizations, accountability for AI defaults to IT – if anyone's accountable at all.1
  • Major vendors are investing heavily to keep pace with the latest technology advancements. It's challenging to differentiate between products based solely on features and functionality.
  • Demand is evolving. Many GenAI use cases are notional and untested. The vision for these technologies – both inside and outside your organization – has barely been imagined. It's impossible to make a future-proofed decision.
  • The pressure to act combined with the above information gaps leaves you feeling underprepared, rushed, uncertain, and at-risk of some serious buyer's remorse.

Almost 20% of AI Adopters report that no-one is accountable for AI.1

Another one-third of respondents say that the CIO is accountable. 1

At the same time, AI is seen as a driver of organizational change with 58% of company leaders expecting some change in staffing due to AI in the next three years. 2

Info-Tech Insight
You can't eliminate the risk of buyer's remorse entirely, particularly in such a rapidly changing market and with so much pressure to move quickly. Understand your needs and qualify your vendors to make a grounded and informed decision. Use our toolset to help you move fast.

1. Info-Tech 2024 Trends Survey.

2. McKinsey, 2023.

Build your Enterprise AI Solution Selection Criteria

Info-Tech's methodology to build your enterprise AI solution selection criteria

StepsStep 1:
Conduct your buyer-side self-assessment
Step 2:
Unpack your conceptual solution
Step 3:
Conduct vendor and product research
Step 4:
Develop investigative interview questions
Step 5:
Document your selection criteria
Evaluate your buyer profile and preparedness.Align your conceptual solution with our AI reference architecture.Research relevant solutions in the market, supported by our vendor-agnostic reports.Develop open-ended exploratory questions to ask potential vendors.Create detailed requirements that are usable for a rapid or more robust selection process.
OutcomesIdentify gaps and inform your end-to-end buying process.Identify key missing technical capabilities you'll need to buy.Identify the differentiated vendor capabilities that matter most to you.Validate your research and deepen your understanding.Build core requirements for RASF or a traditional RFP.
ToolsAI Buyer AssessmentAI Reference ArchitectureAI Software Capability Comparison ToolAI Vendor QuestionnaireAI Vendor Selection Criteria Tool
SupportDiscuss your high-value use cases, and review the self-assessment tool.Review your conceptual use case and our reference architecture.Discuss relevant vendor and product insights.Review your vendor questions.Review your detailed requirements.

Use this methodology for key steps in Info-Tech's Rapid Application Selection Framework (RASF)

Table for the Rapid Application Selection Framework

The bolded steps in the above RASF framework are supported by the activities in this methodology.

Blueprint deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

AI Buyer Assessment
Use this self-assessment to better understand your buyer profile and inform your selection criteria.

AI Reference Architecture
Use our AI Reference Architecture to help you outline, communicate, refine, and identify the key elements of your design.

AI Software Capabilities Comparison Tool
Use this tool to track differentiated capabilities from vendors in the selection process and highlight those that best align to your needs.

AI Vendor Questionnaire
Use this as a starting point to develop probing questions to direct interviews toward what's important to you.

Key deliverable:

AI Vendor Selection Criteria Tool

Use this tool to document detailed selection criteria you can use in an accelerated or highly formal software selection process.

Key Insights

Info-Tech's Overarching Insight
What buyers are looking for is evolving, and what's offered in the market is changing daily. Differentiation between AI platforms and solutions becomes most visible and stable when viewed through the lens of the well-prepared buyer.

  • Buyers struggle with differentiation: It's challenging to compare and contrast the biggest vendors based on features and functions alone.
  • Align to value: You don't need a fully defined solution to go to market, but a conceptual understanding of your high-value use case(s) is essential and non-negotiable. Start to qualify vendors not by looking for the "best" models, but by finding the solutions that offer differentiated capabilities that can advance your key use cases today.
  • Validate your likely approach: Sometimes existing vendors in your environment are the likely choice. If that's the case, highlight the gaps in their solution you'll have to mitigate and the differentiation from other vendors you're giving up to inform your buying choice.
  • Manage the risk of buyer's remorse: You can't eliminate the risk of regret entirely, particularly in such a rapidly changing market and with so much pressure to move quickly. Understand your needs and qualify your vendors so you can arm yourself with the information required to make a grounded and informed decision.
  • Manage vendor risk: Confirm how your vendors will help you responsibly govern your purchased AI solution. At the end of the day, you are accountable to your customers, staff, and communities for the failures of the system.

Get to the right questions with a look through the buyer’s lens.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Authors

Andrew Sharp

Vince Mirabelli

Steve Willis

Ibrahim Abdel-Kader

Barry Cousins

Irina Sedenko

Bill Wong

Ari Glaizel

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