Generative AI (GenAI) caused a momentous shift in the enterprise AI platform market in early 2023. During the spring of 2023, all major cloud-based enterprise AI platform providers scrambled to launch their own large language models and services and offer tools to support the deployment of GenAI on their platforms. Almost overnight, AI platform providers pivoted their priorities from offering tools that facilitate data management, query data across repositories, streamline collaboration and version control, and assist with model management and monitoring to supplying tools that help customers incorporate genAI into their applications, according to GlobalData.

“Enterprises should plan for future use of GenAI while selecting an AI platform provider,” said Rena Bhattacharyya, chief analyst and practice lead, enterprise technology and services at GlobalData. “Buyers should consider an AI platform’s capacity to incorporate large language models and customize foundational models from multiple vendors since it is still early days, and it is yet to be seen whether some models will perform better for certain workloads than others.”  

GlobalData’s latest report, “Cloud-based Enterprise AI Platforms: Competitive Landscape Assessment,” points out that building, training, tuning, and managing an AI model is a complex undertaking, and enterprises interested in expanding their use of AI can select from many potential partners. However, though several competitors provide AI platforms, capabilities vary greatly, and differentiation often comes from the complementary services that a vendor provides.

“Each organization will have its own unique requirements for deploying and scaling AI projects,” Bhattacharyya said. “Platform buying criteria include the availability of APIs, machine learning platform tools, generative AI capabilities, horizontal and industry-specific solutions, explainable and responsible AI considerations, and professional services for complex implementations.”

The report finds that IBM is a leader in the AI platform market, followed closely by Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Salesforce is a niche player, offering numerous operationalized solutions designed to help enterprises glean actionable insights from data to improve the customer experience and sales process.  

“Microsoft differentiated itself as a thought leader among the hyperscale cloud providers by being first to market with access to GenAI,” Bhattacharyya said. “However, IBM stands out as a leader in cloud-based enterprise AI platforms, offering a full suite of model development and management tools, access to internally developed and third-party large language models, industry-specific solutions, and strong professional services to help customers identify and implement use cases. Salesforce has been fast to market with CRM solutions that leverage generative AI, and as a result, has had to educate the enterprise community on best practices for responsible AI."