Why 10 Top Tech CEOs See AI As One Of 2024's Biggest Opportunities

For CRN’s CEO Outlook 2024, we learn why AI is viewed as one of the largest opportunities by the chief executives of AMD, Intel, Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies, Google Cloud, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hitachi Vantara, IBM, Lenovo and Vertiv.

The chief executives of some of the channel’s largest tech vendors said AI is one of this year’s biggest opportunities, if not the single biggest, according to CRN’s CEO Outlook 2024.

The CEOs who said so include the leaders of AMD, Intel, Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies, Google Cloud, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hitachi Vantara, IBM, Lenovo and Vertiv.

[Related: The ChatGPT-Fueled AI Gold Rush: How Solution Providers Are Cashing In]

These top tech executives believe AI represents a substantial opportunity for their companies and channel partners, whether it’s providing the hardware and software to enable AI applications and services or using AI to enrich their own applications and services.

With AI, the CEOs see opportunities to not just improve productivity and innovation. They also believe AI can lower costs and reduce complexity.

Much of this around AI is the result of generative AI technologies like large language models and other content-generating models that started to gain popularity in 2022, thanks to OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot and text-to-image models like DALL-E.

“There is unprecedented potential for productivity and innovation ahead with AI. In 2024, GenAI will move from concept to reality. AI will continue to revolutionize the way enterprises operate and could be a huge revenue value creation opportunity for our partners,” Michael Dell, Dell’s CEO and chairman, said in his response for CEO Outlook.

While data centers and cloud infrastructure remain top focuses among several vendors, the PC market is quickly shaping up to become another area where some see AI creating immense disruption and, as a result, opportunities for the channel.

“AI will fundamentally transform, reshape, and restructure the PC experience—unleashing personal productivity and creativity through the power of the cloud and PC working together,” Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, said in his response.

What follows are explanations from these CEOs on why they see AI as such a massive opportunity this year. These are excerpts of responses from CRN’s CEO Outlook 2024 project.

Lisa Su

CEO and Chair, AMD

AI is the most important technology innovation of the past 50 years, and the biggest opportunity for AMD and our partners in 2024 will be around bringing new data center and PC solutions to market that can drive wide adoption of AI across enterprise and consumer applications.

For the data center, we are incredibly excited about the industry-leading memory footprint and bandwidth of our Instinct MI300 accelerators, which will bring new AI infrastructure capabilities to commercial customers both through cloud providers, including Microsoft and Oracle, and server vendors, including Dell, HPE, Lenovo and Supermicro.

In PCs, AI will enable a new and truly intelligent and personal computing experience. AMD was the first company to add a dedicated on-chip neural processing unit (NPU) for AI computing into an x86 processor with our Ryzen 7040 series CPUs we launched in 2023.

In early 2024, new notebooks are on-track to launch from every major PC OEM powered by our latest Ryzen 8040 series processors that further increase our leadership AI computing capabilities by 60% compared to the previous generation. And we plan to take AI to the next level later this year with our next-generation PC processors, codenamed "Strix," that will deliver more than 3x the AI compute capability of our Ryzen 7040 series.

Chuck Robbins

CEO and Chair, Cisco Systems

Luckily, AI is nothing new for Cisco. In fact, it's a space we've been in for nearly 20 years. I think what we're now seeing is customers trying to understand how AI fits their overall business strategy and objectives. According to Cisco's AI Readiness Index survey, while 95% of organizations have an AI strategy in place or under development, only 14% are ready to fully integrate AI into their businesses. This presents an incredible opportunity for Cisco and our partners to help customers not only understand the implications of AI on their business, but ensure they have the physical infrastructure in place to support these massive workloads.

At our Partner Summit this past November, we announced several Cisco Validated Designs for AI use cases in collaboration with leading ecosystem partners that will give partners simple, scalable solutions to help customers get their infrastructure AI-ready, without adding unnecessary risk or new operations silos.

Of course, all of this will be done while considering the ethical responsibilities associated with AI. Things like data privacy, security, confidentiality, IP rights, and bias will remain a top priority as we design and build technology that respects human rights, promotes inclusion, and embeds privacy, trust, and security at every turn.

Michael Dell

CEO and Chairman, Dell Technologies

As Dell approaches its 40th birthday, we've witnessed countless transformational technologies, but nothing compares to the AI and GenAI revolution unfolding right now.

The internet took decades to reach 5 billion users and today, nearly all of them are using AI almost instantly, which is a staggering pace with profound global implications. When you activate the enormous amount of data that exists with AI and advanced computing power, it creates an unprecedented chance to reinvent everything. It is the number one topic on every partner's and customer's mind and a massive opportunity to tackle in 2024.

There is unprecedented potential for productivity and innovation ahead with AI. In 2024, GenAI will move from concept to reality. AI will continue to revolutionize the way enterprises operate and could be a huge revenue value creation opportunity for our partners.

Dell is uniquely positioned with the world's broadest set of AI solutions to help customers meet their performance, cost and security requirements. Our partners will be critical in helping their customers plan, procure, implement, integrate and optimize at every stage of their AI journey.

Thomas Kurian

CEO, Google Cloud

The biggest market opportunity we see is moving customers from AI pilots and proof-of-concepts towards larger implementations that solve real business problems. Our partners will be critical as this pivot takes place in 2024, because our partner-led approach to services delivery means that the majority of customers implementing Google Cloud AI will do so with the support of a partner.

To address this opportunity, it's important for partners to continue to develop deep product expertise and grow their AI services capacities. We've worked closely with our ecosystem for several years to equip them with the tools and programs they need to build their delivery and managed services expertise in critical areas like AI, data, and security.

In fact, we've increased our number of certified partners by 15X since 2018. Last year our largest consulting and systems integrator partners committed to train more than 150,000 people to deliver Google Cloud AI to customers.

Our partners have always played an incredibly important role in the growth of Google Cloud and in customer success, and we're committed to helping them address this significant opportunity with AI, as well as continually expanding opportunities in areas like cloud migrations, cybersecurity, and data management.

Enrique Lores

President and CEO, HP Inc.

2023 was a year of steady progress, and HP is well positioned to win in the PC and print markets in 2024. We see exciting opportunities across our portfolio, and there is none greater than the AI PC. We are about to redefine what a PC is and what it can do.

The ability to run large language models locally will bring several advantages versus the cloud – including lower latency, greater security and privacy, and reduced costs. We believe the AI PC can double the category growth rate over the next three years. We have a terrific pipeline of innovation set to launch in 2024. Just like the internet age unlocked big growth opportunities for HP and our partners, the age of AI will be equally transformational.

In addition to creating the AI PC category, we are implementing a company-wide AI strategy that's also focused on creating new digital services and driving internal productivity. This will enable us to serve customers better while making it easier for partners to do business with HP.

Antonio Neri

President and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

AI will be the most disruptive technology of our lifetimes, and our biggest opportunity in 2024 is to enable customers to become AI-powered businesses. Enterprises recognize that AI requires a fundamentally new approach to IT that is hybrid by design.

Going back to 2019, HPE became the pioneer in hybrid cloud and is now the leader through HPE GreenLake. 2024 is an opportunity for us and our channel partners to expand our reputation as our customers' trusted partner in edge networking, hybrid cloud and AI.

Most importantly for channel partners, the opportunities expanded by AI impact the entire HPE portfolio, creating value across storage, computing, edge networking, private cloud, data center networking, routing, security, and software. We are poised to take market share from the competition in AI and hybrid cloud, as well as storage, data center networking, telco solutions, compute and private cloud.

In AI, our multi-year investment plan targets three distinct areas to enhance our differentiated position in the market. These include software, high-performance networking and supercomputing infrastructure. Focusing on the software space, our machine learning development platform trains quickly, efficiently, and at-scale to create reliable and accurate models that make valuable predictions and reduce business risk.

Sheila Rohra

CEO, Hitachi Vantara

In 2024, there will be an increased focus on integrating domain expertise into applications using generative AI to develop data-led insights that can be applied to real-life situations. Companies must provide the necessary domain expertise and context to make the application more specific and significantly more accurate with error-free data, which will prove crucial as the technology matures.

As such, 2024 will usher in a new era of enterprise innovation: the emergence of unified data ecosystems that integrate into existing infrastructure and leverage AI to intelligently synthesize vast volumes of data across all distributed environments, granting more visibility and interoperability of your data to unlock deeper insights faster and respond to market needs quickly.

This ability to derive more complete insights from data, and at a pace significantly faster than ever before, will be the answer to ultimate business growth, removing barriers to innovation, and reducing complexity and costs in the process.

Arvind Krishna

CEO and Chairman, IBM

With AI projected to unlock an astounding $16 trillion in value by 2030, the business opportunity is enormous. Partners have shared with us the unprecedented interest in AI coming from clients. watsonx is specifically designed to help us collectively meet this demand and enable clients to capitalize on the enterprise AI opportunity.

Out of the thousands of hands-on client engagements with watsonx, three major AI use cases have emerged so far:

  1. Code modernization – to generate code much faster thereby dramatically increasing the productivity of developers. An IBM pilot used watsonx Code Assistant for Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed to generate 6 percent of Ansible Playbook Content. Result: developers have far more time to contribute to transformational initiatives.
  2. Customer service – clients can offer better services and give customers the ability to get answers in seconds. NatWest Bank created "Marge," an AI digital mortgage tool. Result: 20% increase in customer loyalty.
  3. Digital labor – clients can automate various business processes like IT, HR, procurement, etc. Silver Egg Technology, a cloud services provider in Japan, built a proof-of-concept with watsonx.ai's large language models to evaluate resumes and flag high-potential applicants quickly and fairly for its clients. Result: expected 75 percent reduction in recruiting time.

Pat Gelsinger

CEO, Intel

AI will fundamentally transform, reshape, and restructure the PC experience – unleashing personal productivity and creativity through the power of the cloud and PC working together.

The digital economy alone contributes to more than 15 percent of GDP today. By the end of the decade, it will be 25 percent. AI innovation is poised to raise the digital economy's impact up to as much as one-third of GDP. We see the AI workload as a key driver of the $1 trillion semiconductor total addressable market by 2030. With partners and a broad ecosystem, Intel is unlocking new growth opportunities fueled by AI.

By infusing AI into our entire portfolio, building trustworthy solutions based on open standards, and working with partners to drive the future of responsible AI, Intel is bringing AI everywhere - and ensuring that AI remains a force for good that benefits all people. Imagine your next video call with an international audience, where you're getting real time transcription, translation, body and nuance, contextual information, all because of the AI accelerator inside of the PC.

We are ushering in a new age of AI PC that involves personal assistants and small language models running on our personal devices – offering personal, private, more secure AI capabilities. AI is augmenting the capacity of our devices to suit our situations and needs.

Yuanqing Yang

CEO and Chairman, Lenovo

AI brings huge opportunities not just in AI generated content and large language models but also in pocket-to-cloud offerings that we deliver to customers together with our channel partners.

AI also helps us drive intelligent transformation in every aspect of our lives and in every industry – with purpose-built AI-ready, AI-enabled and AI-optimized devices, infrastructure, solutions, and services that empower industries, enterprises, and individuals around the world. This means partners will need trusted suppliers like Lenovo, with a comprehensive and secure portfolio of AI solutions.

The evolving landscape of AI presents both opportunities and challenges. AI will shift and accelerate the way businesses think about IT in terms of outcomes, like faster business response times, improved efficiency, and time-to-market for new offerings. This expands IT relevance to non-technical managers and expands the buying groups within a customer for the channel partner. To navigate this transformation, channel partners must leverage vendor relationships to create joint value propositions for customers, while avoiding over-commitment on capabilities.

The shift in focus toward outcomes also introduces shared risk opportunities, with customers seeking collaborative risk-sharing with channel partners. Our Lenovo TruScale XaaS offering emerges as a pivotal, channel-centric XaaS solution that creates the ability for Lenovo channel partners to engage in these shared risk discussions and partners should explore how and when to best bring these solutions to their customers.

Giordano (Gio) Albertazzi

CEO, Vertiv

Surging demand for AI across applications is pressuring organizations to make significant changes to their operations. The industry is gearing up to deploy the data center infrastructure needed to meet the compute capacity that AI is demanding. AI is revolutionizing every verticalized use-case – many businesses are investigating how they can benefit from the adoption of AI and edge computing.

With these technologies, there will be increased needs for high-density power and cooling along with innovations in more environmentally efficient solutions, and our partners will be able to leverage our world-class products and unmatched service capabilities in this high-growth area. Our systems and solutions enable the data center industry's AI ambitions.

Vertiv enables its partners to address with confidence the needs of AI, display AI infrastructure credible (and well-supported) expertise, and fully benefit from the AI market expansion.

Vertiv is among the companies focused on answering this challenge and leading by example, particularly where technology and sustainability intersect. This includes enabling our customers to expand the use of alternative energy, smart grids, hybrid grids, battery energy storage systems (BESS) and innovative data center designs to deliver reliable solutions for customers, while lessening the negative impacts on our planet in the process.