Organizations are looking for practical ways to execute an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, said VMware‘s country manager, Canada, Claude Reeves in an interview during the company’s customer and partner conference, Explore, last week.
“It’s like, it’s great to say, ‘hey, generative AI, the world’s going to change, everything’s going to be different,’” he observed. “But then real companies are like, ‘OK, how does that work for us? How does that work for our customers? How does that help us be more competitive, gain market share, deliver better services?’”
National director of technology Peter Near agreed. “I think that definitely AI, and how to do AI in a private way, was on our customers’ minds.
“The other topic that we were talking to a lot of customers in Canada about recently is ransomware. And so some of the ransomware recovery enhancements that were announced this morning, I think, will be interesting topics as well for our Canadian customers, because it’s top of mind for pretty much everyone in Canada right now.”
VMware’s newly-announced Private AI was another topic that excites Reeves.
“It’s going to give people a little bit of hope that companies are not just talking about all the great things you can do with AI, but actually, some companies are getting into the weeds of, ‘okay, what does that look like? How do you secure it? What are the legal repercussions? If you go and build a large language model, do I have to go into the public cloud? Can I do it privately properly?’,” he said. “So I think that, together with Nvidia, the whole Private AI side is a big one.”
Near also thinks Private AI is top of mind for Canadian companies. “I was at an IT World Canada event a month or two ago, and the conversation topic of everyone amongst the executives who were there was about AI, and how Canadian organizations are going to make AI a reality for their organizations quickly. A lot of conversations with our customers are about bringing AI into the business a bit more,” he observed.
“And then the interesting thing about Private AI, and the concept there is, if you’re going to be building a business model around AI, you want to make sure that you’re doing that leveraging your data, not necessarily data that came from the U.S., for example, if you’re making decisions around financials, and those sorts of things. And I think Private AI is going to be really interesting for our Canadian customers.”
Reeves added that VMware is committing to the technology, not to the promises of what generative AI can do. The company’s vision is looking at where companies want to go, and looking at the best way to help them build out their AI infrastructure.
“There’s a lot of snake oil out there about what AI can do,” he said. “Well, our job at VMware is we’re going to enable you to do what is good for your business, and each business, each organization needs to figure out where AI fits in their business. And we will be very good at helping them execute once they figure out how that looks for them.”
On a different front, he noted that the Broadcom acquisition of VMware is no longer a worry among customers, it’s an unknown.
“I think they’re curious to see how everything will come out,” he said. “But because the process has been fairly long, since last May, the CEO of Broadcom has shared a lot of blogs, he’s spoken a lot about his commitment to VMware, to our customers, to our channel, to our R&D. He’s actually made huge commitments to the R&D side. So I think a lot of that (concern) has faded right now. I think customers, like VMware, like Broadcom, probably just want to get through this process and move on. So no, we’re not getting any big concerns, but like any transaction, people will be glad when we move forward.”