WWT Reveals $500M Spend Planned For Helping Customers Adopt AI

Customers will have the ability to experiment and develop custom AI products and services before spending time, money and resources on an AI app.


WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh

World Wide Technology is putting a dollar figure on its investment in generative artificial intelligence: $500 million over three years for efforts including an AI lab environment for testing and validating applications that use the cutting-edge technology.

St. Louis-based WWT – No. 9 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500 – will open the lab as part of its 15-year-old physical and virtual data center environment, the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Customers will have the ability to experiment and develop custom AI products and services before spending time, money and resources on an AI app, according to the statement. Users will have the capability to test large language models (LLMs), discover and classify data, test threat potential and more.

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WWT Invests In AI

CRN has reached out to WWT for comment.

In September, WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh told CRN about the provider’s new composable AI lab offering and how it will help customers figure out the storage needed, how many vendor platforms to use, how much open source technology they can use and other variables in adopting AI.

“There’s a lot going on there and we’re just excited to be right in the middle of it,” he said at the time. “We’re spending a lot of time, not just having those relationships, but really the deep expertise around the hardware, the software, the infrastructure, and the data scientists and software developers that have been collaborating with our collective teams in our labs and working with our customers and our OEMs on these efforts.”

Kavanaugh also told CRN in September that WWT’s hiring spree of about 700 employees is in part to keep up with GenAI demands.

At the 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company in October, Kavanaugh said demand for GenAI will accelerate and push forward digital transformation for customers.

“We’re in the really, really early stages of AI and what that’s going to mean,” he said. “But I don’t think AI is a fad. I think there’s real substance. But it’s going to take time to navigate through – what does that really mean to your business?”

The ATC – which has more than 500 racks of equipment from Cisco, Intel, Nvidia, NetApp and hundreds of other vendors – houses the composable AI labs for customers.

Early use cases for AI apps built in the WWT lab could include computer vision for a hospital, an AI-powered data analytics platform for a human resources (HR), or retail recommendations for ecommerce websites, according to WWT.

At Best of Breed, Kavanaugh said that even though WWT is “not driving a lot of revenue from” startups working with the ATC, “There’s a lot of value that we provide to our customers to help them get better insight into these new technologies that are coming out.”