Distribution giant Avnet has unveiled Ask Avnet in hopes of changing the way that it connects customers with information and resources across all its web sites. In addition to saving procurement and supply chain professionals, engineers, and professional makers time and effort, the platform has the potential to reduce the cost of serving customers while increasing levels of service.
Avnet claims that it has created “the industry’s first digital platform that integrates artificial intelligence (AI) and industry expertise on demand to help customers find the insights and information they need to bring their technology solutions to market.” When a user enters a query, Ask Avnet points users to the most relevant answer or, for very sophisticated questions, the right human help.
“When we came up idea of Ask Avnet, the goal was to create a system that crossed web sites across the ecosystem so that it wouldn’t matter where the customer was as long as they could articulate the need they have,” Nishant Nishant, head of digital strategy, Avnet, told EBN in an interview. “We wanted to really map the customer need with the value proposition of the ecosystem.”
Using AI the distributor hopes to give users an easier way to find what they need on any Avnet site. The always on nature of the system allows customers to get intelligent help any time. “We didn’t want to consolidate all the unique web sites into one monolithic site,” said Nishant. “We have loyalty across those sites, and we wanted to maintain that. Now, if someone hasn’t been a user on a particular Avnet site, Ask Avnet can subtly introduce it.
Further, because users are logged in to the site, the system can proactively apply customer specific information, such as negotiated pricing, to the query. “The openness of the Avnet customer base to adapt to and to adopt this technology has been very encouraging,” Nishant said. “The feedback we received so far has been exceptionally positive. Both the younger generation and even the more seasoned professionals are open to it.”
The distributor is one of a lot of companies looking for ways to apply artificial intelligence to streamline business in new ways. In fact, the global artificial intelligence (AI) market is expected grow to a total value of $16.06 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62.9% from 2016 to 2022, according to recent research from MarketsandMarkets.
The Ask Avnet system, which is currently in beta, will be broadly available in the fall. “We are co-creating the system with customers by increasing the number of interactions that it has with customers,” Nishant said. “It will ensure that This testing period will help increase the intelligence of the system through real interactions, he added. Kevin Yapp, senior vice president, digital transformation, Avnet, said:
As consumers, we are all very accustomed to accessing information on demand. Ask Avnet will bring that same dynamic to the electronics supply chain. Initial feedback from select customers and industry partners has been positive, and we invite engineers, makers and procurement specialists to test drive Ask Avnet to take advantage of its benefits and help improve this sophisticated tool.
Currently, the tool covers several Avnet Web properties including Avnet.com, element14.com, and Hackster.io. Ask Avnet will expand to include others Avnet sites, including MakerSource.io later this this month and PremierFarnell.com later this year.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN