Many software companies have AI know-how, we help them with the 'how now'

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Many Software Companies Have AI Know-How, We Help Them with the 'How Now'

Many software companies have AI know-how, we help them with the 'how now'

May. 29th, 2024

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) is so extensive that companies often don't know where to start or what to focus on. Investor Fortino Capital offers a helping hand. "Without proper guidance, there is a risk of disappointment."

"Software companies can no longer afford to bring software to the market without AI that enhances productivity," says Jeroen Van Godtsenhoven, partner at Fortino Capital. He describes this as a pivotal moment, comparable to the introduction of the graphical user interface, the rise of the internet, and the spread of software via the cloud.

Jeroen Van Godtsenhoven, Partner Fortino Capital

"It’s challenging to predict exactly what this AI revolution will mean," observes Jo Coutuer, founder of Data Merit, a consultancy specializing in extracting value from data and AI. "It has never been this exciting in the software business. After the computational power that enabled automation, we now have intelligence enhancement. But as with all major innovations, we tend to overestimate the short-term impact and underestimate the long-term impact."

Van Godtsenhoven shares this analysis. "The AI hype is so significant that soon the voices of disappointment will grow louder. The moment of truth is the translation of AI capabilities into applications used worldwide. We aim to help our software companies make the right choices in this. Software applications are the only vehicle to derive real value from artificial intelligence."

“Software applications are the only vehicle to derive real value from artificial intelligence.”

- Jeroen Van Godtsenhoven

Reinventing Drastically

Fortino Capital focuses on companies that deliver b2b software. With nearly 800 million euros in investments across about thirty companies, it has substantial expertise in technology, capable of improving sales and optimizing internal processes. "AI adds a new dimension," says Van Godtsenhoven. "Everyone knows something needs to be done with it, but the question is what exactly and in what order."

Fortino collaborates with Data Merit to guide companies through this process. "We always start with the crucial question of whether a company is in a business that AI can entirely disrupt," says Coutuer. "A provider of invoicing systems can add AI features to generate invoices, but if 90% of its customers disappear due to the AI revolution, that company needs to reinvent itself much more drastically than just adding a few new buttons."

"Some companies are disoriented and don’t know where to begin," he notes. "We help them by looking at various dimensions such as technology, legislation, skills, available data, and the risks of AI. Others have already started with AI, but typically from a purely technological perspective. At some point, they need to decide where exactly they want to apply that knowledge and how. Without proper guidance, there is a risk of disappointment. That’s why we help with a plan for the next three years. It’s not about know-how, but about how now."

With language models like ChatGPT, the monopoly of tech specialists is under pressure, Van Godtsenhoven observes. "You no longer need to be a programmer to interact with computer systems. You can state in plain language what you want, and get the response directly, instead of in tables and figures. This makes the interaction much richer and more powerful."


“Some companies are disoriented and don’t know where to begin.”

- Jo Coutuer


Barbecue Weather

This opens the door to better use of existing AI applications. Van Godtsenhoven gives the example of patterns in numbers and predictions. "A retail chain can model the expected sales of barbecue products if the weather is nice next Saturday, taking into account differences between the coast, inland, or city, and adjust deliveries accordingly. Language models make it possible to use that arsenal of quantitative AI in a human-friendly way. Truly phenomenal, a kind of automation of automation."

Translated article in De Tijd

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