AI is one of the hottest trends in tech right now, and therefore it’s no surprise that there is literally an army of consulting companies out there right now who are ready willing and able to help clients pursue the dream of AI. However, with a saturated market comes the age old question of “do these guys really know what they are doing?” In a field like AI where the technology itself is often too complex to comprehend it can be very easy to partner with a company that says all the right things but doesn’t have the chops to back any of it up.
I recently read an article on Forbes that sought to help consumers weed out the charlatans by listing the top 5 questions to ask to ensure that an AI vendor can deliver results. Being an AI vendor myself I was curious to see where Tallan shaped up, here are the results.
1.) Why Did You Get Started In AI?
A good software consulting company is one that is constantly changing and evolving to stay relevant and successful. Unlike a typical software company who can remain on a certain technology stack for a prolonged period of time without a lot of risk, software consultants have to be able to be experts on a wide variety of technologies and strategies.
The way that we handle the job of keeping relevant is through the use of a practice model. At Tallan we have several technology practice areas, they are (Cloud, Integration, Data & Analytics, User Experience, Mobile, Web, and AI). Each of these areas represent an aspect of technology that Tallan is committed to delivering.
Tallan added their AI practice a few years back when the big four (Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Google) threw their hat into the ring to signal their commitment to AI. Once this occurred, the discipline of AI got instantly elevated from obscurity to prominence. With that elevation came the opportunity for Tallan to single itself out as an early adopter and pioneer in the discipline by creating a technology practice dedicated to only AI. A technology that we knew was going to grow to be the cornerstone of the digital transformation for all future business.
2.) How Much Do You Know About AI?
As part of our commitment to proving ourselves to be thought leaders in the field of AI, Tallan has dedicated a lot of time and effort into not only learning about but also teaching the AI discipline. Some examples of this can be seen in the events that we host around the country.
- Building Bots for Business – Learn about all of the advantages that a Chatbot can bring to your organization.
- Machine Learning in a Day – Get started on understanding how machines do their thinking with this intro workshop on ML.
- Cognitive Services in a Day – Discover all of the tools available from Microsoft that make AI as easy as calling a web service.
Being the leader of the AI practice, it is my responsibility to showcase my own personal knowledge of the subject matter as well. In addition to helping to host and run the workshops listed above, I am also a Pluralsight author and have created many courses on AI.
- Getting Started with Building Bots with Microsoft’s Bot Framework – This course is an introduction to the Microsoft Bot Framework – a new centralized framework that allows you to create, edit and deploy Chatbots quickly and easily.
- Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services: Speaker Recognition and Bing Speech API – Move forward with your overall understanding of the Microsoft Cognitive Services Suite with this foundational course on Speaker Recognition and Bing Speech API.
- Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services: Text Analytics API – In this course, you will gain a foundational knowledge of the Text Analytics API that will help you move forward with your overall understanding of the Microsoft Cognitive Services Suite.
3.) How Many Deployments Do You Have?
Being in the services industry, this is one of the first questions that we always get asked and rightly so. Because you never want to find yourself in a situation where the partner that you’re working with hasn’t ever done this sort of thing before. Luckily Tallan has a wide range of experience in developing enterprise scale instances of AI. Some of our more recent projects to name a few are:
- Revlon – The Revlon Chatbot was developed to capture customer data, including previous purchase and purchase patterns. Retailers can target and incentivize customers through electronic coupons and/or cashback offers.
- Coca-Cola – The Coca-Cola Chatbot allows customers to discover new products through the use of a conversational interface and find seller locations in their current area. Coca-Cola partnered with various influencers and blog enthusiasts to promoted specific products through the Chatbot as well.
- Harland Clarke – Being the top contender for providing integrated payment solutions and financial specialty services one must feel secure when rendering any services from Harland Clarke. A secure Chatbot solution was deployed for customers to be able to re-order financial necessities such as personal checks and locate where they are in the shipping process.
4.) What Is Your Delivery Model For Projects?
Our delivery model for projects has always been two-fold. First and foremost we have an extensive envisioning process where we focus on not only the “hows” of what is being built but also the “whys.” Part of Tallan’s value proposition is to help the client realize their goals by providing not only technical expertise but business expertise as well.
As consultants, we are in the unique position to acquire a wealth of business and technical knowledge across a wide range of disciplines. This experience allows us to be able to assess customer problems and propose technological solutions with ease. Often times, an outsiders perspective is the little push that a company needs to take their business in an exciting new direction.
Once we have gone through the envisioning process, Tallan then puts their considerable technological resources into play by starting to build the clients vision. This is accomplished with not only sweat equity, but with also a myriad of “accelerators” that allow us to rapidly build and deploy AI projects. These accelerators are a culmination of Tallans years of experience in the field. Having created so many of these same types of projects, Tallan has built up a library of various templates and components that they offer to their clients. These components are modular, extensible and tested, allowing them to be utilized across a wide range of scenarios.
Through the use of these methods, Tallan is able to rapidly build projects for their clients that are smart, reliable and extensible.
5.) Do You Have Domain Expertise In Our Field?
Tallan is a 30+ year old company that has extensive experience in many different verticals from retail to healthcare, government to the financial industry. Being a consulting company with expertise in so many different domain areas has given us the opportunity to work with a plethora of different clients on a variety of different projects.
We bring that expertise and knowledge to every engagement and utilize it to its fullest extent to make sure that our clients are getting the best possible results.
Having taken the time to go through each of these questions and really think about the answers has made me realize that I am truly proud to work at Tallan and that we are ready, willing and able to help our clients pursue the dream of AI into whatever venue they want.