Louis Têtu, chairman and chief executive officer of Coveo, took to the stage at “ALL IN,” a two-day showcase of Canadian AI technology in Montreal on September 27 and 28, to highlight his company’s AI achievements and to deliver both an inspiring and firm message: Canadian businesses must intensify their AI adoption and utilization.
Coveo remains one of Canada’s best kept secrets in the world of AI. Global giants like Salesforce, Amazon and numerous online retail giants use its AI solutions. Its clientele reads like a global “who’s who” of retail. It is potentially the largest user of Azure services for AI in a production environment. Still, few Canadians are aware of this AI powerhouse, and fewer still know about its Canadian roots.
Originally established as a search entity, Coveo continues to be a top-tier provider of enterprise search solutions. But today, its reputation for AI solutions is driving its growth and dominance in world of online retail.
Têtu takes pride in Coveo’s global recognition, but he’s disappointed by the lack of awareness among Canadians about this this homegrown AI success story. He is passionate about what it takes to succeed in Canada and on the world stage, and emphasized how demanding the online customer can be. He said, in his inimitable style, “’Digital patience’ is like ‘Jumbo Shrimp’. It’s an oxymoron.”
While the rewards of getting it right are astonishing, Têtu noted that you can’t afford to get it wrong. The financial outlay is significant; he pointed out, “An AI interaction can cost up to a thousand times more than a basic query.” Failing to outperform what you can do with a simple query could result in substantial losses, given the cost of AI, but getting it right can lead to huge growth in sales and profits.
Getting it right is not easy, and it takes a fully developed AI system. There’s no room for some of the most common errors we see in generative solutions; at the corporate scale, precision is paramount, Têtu asserted. “Coveo’s solutions cannot afford to misinterpret.”
And that precision has to occur with blazing speed. “We have 10 milliseconds to make our mark,” he said. The goal? Engage digital customers in valuable, constructive dialogues that keep them on the site and potentially buying one more item. As anyone who has been in retail knows, whether it’s in a store on online, the real profits in retail come from selling that “one more thing.” On a global scale that is worth hundreds of millions in sales.
Such standards pose immense challenges. Coveo’s AI journey spans years, having worked with generative AI since ChatGPT version 3, well before its evolution into the captivating interactive chat model known today.
The rewards of mastering AI are lucrative, he said, posing a thought-provoking scenario to attendees: envision a business doubling its operations while maintaining its current customer service staff. The profitability surge and competitive edge would be unparalleled.
He then proceeded to showcase Coveo’s latest interactive chat iteration, emphasizing its user-centric and authentic interaction capabilities.
But Têtu, while always a champion of his company’s accomplishments, wasn’t there to brag. He was there to deliver a message to Canadian businesses, again with his classic bluntness.
“Wake up!” he said. “You don’t have to worry about AI hurting your business. It’s competitors harnessing AI that you should be worried about.”
The “ALL IN” showcase of AI continues in Montreal on the 27th and 28th of September. If you missed the show, IT World Canada will be covering highlights.