Nearly every tech company seems to be working on AI tooling, and everyone is at least talking about using it. But how the heck are companies going to charge for it?
There’s little clarity on the business model front, which contrasts with the clear optimism on the part of corporate leaders and their customers about the potential impact of new AI technology on their products and markets.
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Regular readers of The Exchange will recall that we touched on this very question in May. At the time, we took a broader view, considering how consumer-focused AI services and AI-powered business services would charge.
This morning, we’re narrowing our focus to the enterprise software space, the target of an enormous number of startups. Let’s start by hearing what the CEOs of Salesforce, Box and CrowdStrike have to say on their AI-related work and customer interest. Then, we’ll go over their answers to industry analysts regarding how they intend to charge for new AI products.
We’ll wrap with a few thoughts on where startups might have an edge and where they probably won’t.
If you build it, they will come
Box, Salesforce and CrowdStrike are very different from one another. Box focuses on enterprise storage and productivity, Salesforce is a CRM giant and CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity company. However, they share a very interesting facet: They store or create lots of data for their customers.
Box, of course, started as an enterprise file storage and sync (EFSS) company, though its remit has expanded with time. Salesforce has oodles of its customer and sales data, in addition to a variety of other information. CrowdStrike has an enormous historical archive of cybersecurity-related data that it uses to help predict and interdict new cyber threats.