There’s been a lot written recently about how artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation are going to displace millions of workers. However, these powerful new technologies already have spawned a surge in demand for a new wave of highly skilled consultants to help organizations capitalize on the added business opportunities resulting from the latest innovations.

Although the potential business benefits that can be derived from AI, ML and automation are obvious, attaining these benefits requires highly specialized skills that most organizations currently lack.

Salesforce sees the demand for this unique set of consulting skills rising and has launched a new US$50 million SI (system integrator) Trailblazer Fund and SI Trailblazer Alliance Initiative to fill the void.

“Growing customer demand for Salesforce has created a critical need for more Salesforce-trained consulting partners as part of the thriving ‘Salesforce Economy,'” said Tyler Prince, Salesforce’s EVP of worldwide alliances and go-to-market innovation.

“Consulting firms play a pivotal role in the Salesforce ecosystem,” noted the new fund’s administrator, John Somorjai, Salesforce’s EVP of corporate development and Salesforce ventures.

Meeting Demand

Their comments reminded me of the market forces that propelled International Network Services (INS) — a network consulting company I was a part of in the 1990s — to tremendous success. Cisco Systems at that time was riding a wave created by the rapidly growing demand for their routers among major service providers and enterprises seeking to build out new Internet Protocol networks.

Cisco’s executives recognized that the biggest impediment to continued growth was lack of sufficient manpower to properly plan, design, implement and manage their latest networking products….