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When caught in the whirlwind of hype, it's easy to dream of AI propelling us to Mars, yet in reality, we might just find ourselves struggling to navigate beyond our subdivision. It is time to recalibrate our expectations. We need to look past the buzz and examine what your business or government entity needs out of AI to effectively pull out of the proverbial garage and get onto that AI freeway of real-world application. 

There are no signs for black ice on the AI highways but that's okay 

When navigating AI, how can you tell when you're about to encounter black ice or a brick wall? We don't know what we don't know. We have gaps in our knowledge, a significant hurdle in the journey. But we can still succeed. Your success, your progress, will lie not in speeding up, but rather in your self-control to slow down and invest in experimentation and right-sizing. Remember, AI is not one-and-done; it demands continuous iteration to refine your approach until it aligns as closely as possible with your business goals, values, and risk tolerance. 

Being pragmatic in your planning and preparation is key to success. The evolution of technology follows a distinct path from specialization—a stage where access is limited and resources are heavily invested in solving complex problems (reminiscent of the early days of breakthroughs like ChatGPT)—to commoditization and democratization, where technology becomes accessible and user-friendly for all. 

At any point in this cycle, there are opportunities to engage, but success depends upon your thoughtful strategy with the best road crew. Whether you're entering the fray early or joining as technology matures, planning is non-negotiable. You need to develop a comprehensive roadmap that covers technological readiness, skill sets, use case identification and performance metrics—evaluating both successes and failures through measures such as return on investment (ROI) or return on capital (ROC). This holistic approach ensures that your journey across the AI terrain is deliberate and fruitful, steering clear of unseen hazards and barriers. 

WWT & HPE are trusted partners in AI

Some companies are building their AI highways as they travel down them at high speed. Establishing safeguards along this rapidly constructed highway is critical to prevent veering off course or grazing the boundaries too closely. Partners such as WWT and HPE play a critical role in this dynamic landscape, acting as the road crew who mark the lanes and guide the traffic—be it through education, skill-building, or the application of AI at the intelligent edge. Our expertise ensures a smoother journey, enabling organizations to maintain momentum while safely navigating the twists and turns of technological innovation. 

Understanding that adaptability and strategic planning are foundational to AI objectives, it's essential to navigate these elements with precision and foresight. As we shift gears towards defining the optimal entry point for responsible, sustainable, and repeatable AI, the journey ahead unfolds in several critical stages. 

Each stage—from pinpointing your purpose and ensuring responsibility, to committing to sustainability and guaranteeing repeatability—serves as a vital checkpoint. Together, they form a comprehensive roadmap, guiding us through the intricacies of aligning AI initiatives with our core values and objectives. Let's examine how these elements converge to chart a course to innovation and integrity.

Pit crew checklist

Before you get on the highway, here are some important issues to address: 

  • Understand the issues and priorities within your organization. Determine the realism of your AI aspirations, identify an executive sponsor, assess the financial backing, and evaluate the value (cost-benefit, ROI) to establish a purpose-fit use case.
  • Involve an experienced partner from the beginning who can get you where you need to go. A partner can install the guardrails, lay the striping, and direct traffic flow to avoid delays, providing insights into the realm of possibilities.
  • Assess your readiness. Plan your course by using a maturity model such as our WWT AI Maturity Model.
    • Level 1: Incubate—Defining your AI appetite. Start building your AI maturity curve, align on an AI growth strategy, and initiate a pilot to demonstrate immediate value.
    • Level 2: Optimize—Making internal efforts more efficient. Tackle the low-hanging fruit to enhance efficiency across various functions through Generative AI (GenAI).
    • Level 3: Accelerate—Enhancing existing products or services. Focus on using high-performance architecture to rapidly improve product design and customer experiences.
    • Level 4: Transform—Creating fully integrated AI-driven product lines. Achieve significant transformation by leveraging GenAI for customer engagement and content creation.
  • Choose your use cases. Focus on well-defined cases aligned with your needs, starting internally to mitigate risks. Utilize support records and product literature to identify issues, ensuring employee involvement and responsibility.
  • Make sure you have covered all your bases around your use cases. Consider data availability and quality, operational management, cost efficiency, executive sponsorship, scalability, and the guidance of experienced partners like WWT and HPE to ensure a responsible, sustainable, and repeatable approach. And then, start your engine!

Navigating the AI fast lane 

Once you're on the highway, picking the right model—both in terms of business and technology—is critical. Consider leveraging AI models that have been pre-trained and are optimized for specific accelerator hardware. There's a variety of tooling available to address certain use cases that these models can benefit from. A proficient partner can guide you in selecting the most appropriate models and the supporting tooling, as well as the hardware necessary to run those models efficiently. This collaboration can significantly boost your agility, enabling you to merge onto the AI highway sooner and more safely. Additionally, a good partner can assist in sizing your needs accurately, utilizing estimators and sizers to tailor solutions that fit your specific requirements. 

Fine-tuning for excellence  

Embarking on the AI journey involves a strategic approach to validation and adaptation. Here are the top three priorities: 

Validate initial assumptions with findings and preliminary results. 

Begin testing with the hardware you already have. WWT's ATC (Advanced Technology Center) can help. 

Finetune by iterating over multiple choices of technology to figure out what will drive the best results for your organization. 

This is not something you get right; you just continue to get it "more right." 

Train it to think and talk like your organization and consider using a framework such as the HPE RAG.  

Visit WWT's AI Proving Ground, a testing environment where you can compare, test, and train AI solutions with a growing list of composable labs featuring the latest reference architectures, hardware, and software from the leading AI innovators. It's time to buckle up and go. 

Learn more about AI and HPE Connect with a WWT Expert

About the Authors 

Earl J. Dodd, HPC + HPDA + AI Architect and Alchemist, WWT 

Earl Dodd - Profile - WWT 

Steven McCall, Data Center Solutions Architect, WWT 

Steven McCall - Profile - WWT 

Kurt Lacy, AI Solutions Business Manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise