Enabling "Maximum Enterprise Utilization" with AI
If you spend enough time reading AI papers and articles, you might have run into the acronym "MFU": Maximum FLOPS Utilization. Each GPU has a theoretical FLOPs capacity, but we often only get 20-40% MFU due to issues like sub-optimal scheduling, memory bottlenecks, etc. (See our podcast episode with Quentin Anthony of Eleuther AI (opens in a new tab) for a deeper technical breakdown)
You can calculate it with:
With the rise of AI copilots and agents in the enterprise, more and more tech leaders should be using a similar framework: what is the "Maximum Enterprise Utilization" (MEU) of my company, and how can I adopt AI to improve it?
The "All Available Work" for an enterprise is pretty self explanatory, it's all work tasks that need to be done in your company.
"Total Productivity" is the sum of all work throughput from all "Workers", which includes employees, contractors, and now AI agents:
AI is the first technology in decades that can increase Total Productivity without requiring more work hours by humans. I'm guessing the average MEU for a software company isn't much higher than 20-40%; if you lead an engineering team, a rough way to calculate it is your quarterly tickets throughput as a percentage of your whole backlog.
It's been really hard to improve on the MEU number historically:
- Adding more employees and contracts can lower productivity due to the communication complexity (see Metcalfe's Law (opens in a new tab)), and it's also very expensive making it unfeasible for many
- Work hours and productivity rate are inversely correlated after a certain point, especially for jobs like software engineering.
60-80% of enterprise productivity in the future will likely be delivered by AI:
- For a similar work rate, productivity rate will increase by 10x by leveraging synchronous products. This includes things like ChatGPT, Github Copilot, Harvey, etc, which allow each worker to do their job more quickly and accurately. The downside of synchronous products is that they have work hours as a limiter of productivity: if the user isn't working, you're not delivering value.
- As the cost of intelligence trends to zero (sama's thread (opens in a new tab)), the amount of total productivity in the enterprise will become very elastic, as you'll be able to add AI agents to your Workers pool to achieve specific tasks. These agents will be fully asynchronous and will work in parallel to humans with "human-on-the-loop" checkpoints. My partner Dan called this "Services-as-Software" (opens in a new tab) . Companies in this space include Dropzone AI (opens in a new tab), Sweep AI (opens in a new tab), AutoGPT (opens in a new tab), etc.
If you're a founder looking to build a company in the AI space selling to enterprises, you should ask yourself some of these questions:
- How is my product increasing productivity rate and how is it measured? (And how should I price it? (opens in a new tab))
- How much of my product should be synchronous vs asynchronous?
- What's the tradeoff between user feedback for accuracy vs autonomous actions for maximum productivity gains?
- Am I making existing people more productive, or am I bringing net new abilities to the enterprise? (i.e. a security agent to a company that had no security team before)
- Would the company's Available Work increase if they had higher productivity, and will that lead to more enterprise value for them? (i.e. a sales copilot which helps with higher quota achievement vs a sales agent who can create almost unlimited opportunities)
Looking forward to reviewing this post at the end of 2024, which many are calling the year of "AI in production".© Alessio Fanelli.RSS