Is AI-as-a-Service Right for You?

February 20, 2023 - Emily Newton

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed how companies do business. However, the technology remains out of reach for some enterprises. They need more resources to adequately invest in the necessary products. In such cases, AI-as-a-service (AIaaS) can make technology upgrades more manageable. 

What Is AI-as-a-Service? 

AI-as-a-service allows people to use artificial intelligence by letting a third-party provider do all or most of the implementation and management of the technology. Clients often agree to a subscription fee in exchange, but some pay just one time. 

AIaaS works similarly to other as-a-service offerings, such as robotics and software, in that it aims to make implementation as easy as possible for clients. Service providers handle all or most of the upfront costs, allowing people to pay only once the AI technology begins proving its worth. 

The AI-as-a-service market is still relatively new. However, it’s growing fast, and the trend will likely continue. 

A Vantage Market Research report revealed the AIaaS market worth was at $5.9 billion in 2021. However, analysts forecasted it would reach $52.8 billion by 2028. The report noted how AIaaS allows companies to explore various ways of using the technology with minimal costs. The high demand for AI-powered services was another factor influencing the anticipated growth. 

What Are the Main Benefits of AI-as-a-Service Solutions?

As people consider whether to learn more about AI-as-a-service, they understandably want to know what’s in it for them. Here are some of the primary benefits that typically come with this option.

Providing a Workaround for AI Skills Shortages

Developing an AI solution from the ground up usually requires specialized skills from internal team members. The problem is that AI skills are in incredibly short supply. A 2022 study found 63% of decision-makers in the United States said their biggest skills shortages were in AI and machine learning. 

Selecting an AI-as-a-service option doesn’t necessarily remove the need for a company to have artificial intelligence experts on the team. However, service providers usually provide low or no-code products that people can customize without prior tech knowledge. It’s then easier for companies to start using AI without hiring people first. 

Then, with the groundwork in place, they can look for other options. One possibility might be to hire AI specialists on a consulting or freelance basis. 

Enabling Risk Reduction

Even when a company’s leaders feel confident about the benefits they’ll see from an AI implementation, many still perceive significant risks associated with such changes. Consider the results of Deloitte’s October 2022 study of global decision-makers using artificial intelligence. One of its telling takeaways was that 50% of respondents mentioned risk reduction, post-launch support and maintenance among their top challenges.

What customers get with AI-as-a-service packages varies by provider. However, many companies provide ongoing assistance and handle some maintenance needs through cloud-based, over-the-air updates. 

People must have clear ideas of what they want to achieve with artificial intelligence and the steps they’ll take to get there. However, the benefits associated with AIaaS providers can promote risk management. If a software update automatically occurs overnight after a company pushes it to the client, there’s no possibility of that customer letting the software get too outdated. 

Allowing Better Cost Management and Scalability

It’s not easy to set an AI budget. That’s no surprise, considering how many different ways a company could deploy it. Applications range from chatbots that field customer requests to advanced algorithms that can detect cancer. 

Another challenge is that AI projects can quickly grow in size and scope, increasing the likelihood of those initiatives going over budget. The beauty of as-a-service options is the ability to only pay for what a company needs at the time. 

In one example, a manufacturing company relied on robotics-as-a-service to obtain a machine-tending robot. The business only began paying once the robot met performance expectations. The machine makes 750 components per 10 hours, representing a significant productivity boost. 

AIaaS providers can help prospective customers learn about the solutions that would best fit their needs. They can also inform them about additional features that a person might choose to add later. The scalability option is ideal for companies using AI to seize growth opportunities. 

Unlocking Better Competitiveness

Artificial intelligence is becoming so commonly used in business that companies may need to catch up to peers by not using it. How society often views AI as a buzzworthy technology has interesting effects, too. 

A 2022 Accenture survey found that when the world’s biggest companies discussed AI on earnings calls, they were 40% more likely to see profits rise.  Another discovery from the research was that only 12% of companies use AI at a level that will increase competitive advantage. However, reaching mature adoption translated to 50% higher profits than peers that used AI less effectively. 

Company representatives can also become more competitive by using AI-as-a-service offerings to cause process improvements. Imagine a scenario where employees say they waste hours per week sorting through their inboxes. That time spent could reduce company competitiveness by taking workers’ attention away from more important things. However, an AI inbox manager could increase productivity and bring other positive outcomes. 

When Might AIaaS Not Work for You? 

AI-as-a-service products are like most others in that they have some downsides. Some people mention that the offerings and results may be too generic to meet a company’s needs. If a company leader has a highly specific use case in mind, a custom-built solution is likely a better choice. 

AIaaS products are also not ideal for companies considering AI among their core competencies. In those instances, enterprises almost always rely on proprietary products that let them meet niches for specific customer segments. 

When company representatives need to train algorithms on sensitive or highly confidential data, that’s a potential reason to look beyond AI-as-a-service products, too. Alternatively, they should thoroughly vet service providers to determine how seriously they take security. Service providers must also follow tight security measures when a company bases part of its business on keeping information private.

Will You Try AI-as-a-Service? 

Deploying any technology at the enterprise level requires careful consideration of the pros and cons. Many people see AIaaS as an option that makes it significantly easier for people to try artificial intelligence. It often provides that advantage, but a handy service package is no substitute for a well-thought-out technology integration plan. 

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.


Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technology and industrial journalist and the Editor in Chief of Revolutionized. She enjoys reading and writing about how technology is changing the world around us.

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