By O’Ryan Johnson
‘If you have a lot of data and you’re not using AI, you’re doing it wrong,’ Dell Technologies CEO and founder Michael Dell tells CRN.
Just as many tech-savvy caregivers tasked with bed time these days, Michael Dell reached for a novel way to help his grandson drift off to sleep: he used AI to write a bedtime story, he told CRN.
And those same AI servers that spun Dell’s request into a tale worth telling are also consuming the most compute inside Dell’s Infrastructure Solution Group (ISG) unit that sells hardware to data centers, he said.
“The fastest-growing workloads in our ISG business are AI- and machine intelligence-driven,” Dell told CRN. “That’s been true for some time. And this kind of generative AI, large language models just accelerates that.”
Dell said the potential for AI to improve Dell’s business extends to how the company can handle customer problems, employee questions, and it gives business leaders the ability to scale knowledge to workers across an enterprise.
“If you think about a business like ours. Let’s say you sell hundreds of millions of things out there in the world. Customers use them. They have questions. Something happens. When they contact us or they contact our partners, they’re basically repeating answers to questions that have already occurred in the past,” Dell said. “So if you have tools like this, and you can more accurately get the best answer to that person, think about that in the context of any activity that goes on in any company. It’s an enormous unlock of power and productivity.”
Solution providers such as Simnet, an Ontario-based MSP and public cloud provider said it leverages an intelligent ticketing and helpdesk system to help its technicians find answers for its customers more quickly.
“We leverage it for more intuitive support,” said Ted de Vos, CEO of Simnet, an Ontario-based Dell partner. “We can do voice recognition on the way in, and AI will translate that into some sort of text that we can respond to better and then our first level team is able to take it deeper. It’s able to go through our knowledge base and then predictively share the right KBs so people aren’t searching and wasting time.”
Dell said to expect to hear more about how Dell Technologies is using AI at the upcoming Dell Technologies World show in May.
“I think it’s incredibly exciting and interesting technology,” Dell said “It’s unlocking the power of data and it’s a wonderful thing for all of us to reimagine how our organization and world will work as the cost of cognitive power goes to zero. How can we make all of our teams more productive?”
For what this looks like to solution providers, companies such as Australia-based Pia and Syosett, N.Y.-based CrushBank have been trumpeting the benefit of AI to the MSP’s labor loaded gross margins for years.
“For the MSP, it improves service quality and increases customer satisfaction by reducing response times, reducing time to resolution, increasing consistency, and quality of responses,” said Aron Hardy-Bardsley, CTO of Pia. “For the end customer, it increases productivity through a reduction in downtime caused by faults and failures, training, and knowledge gaps.”
Pia takes those hundreds of questions the MSP’s help desk has received over the years and uses them to triage inbound requests and automate technical tasks inside the MSPs ticketing platform. Meanwhile, CrushBank built a machine learning model that understands tickets, the requests for help that MSPs receive on their help desks.
The company’s CTO, David Tan, used it to streamline the help desk at his own MSP, CHIPS Technology Group, by as much as 70 percent. CHIPS, a Syosset, N.Y.-based MSP was acquired last year by IT Solutions.
“There is nothing more important than getting people the right answers the first time, quickly and easily,” Tan said. “It keeps them focused on important tasks. It gives them confidence in the organization which helps everything from job performance to job satisfaction. You simply can’t run a well-behaved, profitable, growing organization if people are constantly searching for information and lack complete confidence in the value of what they find.”
Dell said the open-source large language models that are advancing rapidly, are running on Dell infrastructure. The company, he said, just introduced PowerEdge servers that support eight of the Tensor Core H100 NVIDIA GPUs, which are used in processing AI models.
“We were the first in the industry to provide that and customers are spinning those up right now to create that kind of capability,” Dell said. “Now if you are a company like a bank, you don’t need this thing to write poems, or to tell you who won the Super Bowl. You want it to do things for your bank. So it’s actually an easier problem. So you train it with all this information and your people are going to become more productive. They’re going to be more successful and you’re going to be a better organization at whatever it is you are trying to do. So that’s kind of the plot. We’re seeing that. That’s why these AI workloads are the fastest-growing part of our ISG business.”