Industry Perspective: Making AI Portable Across Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud Environments

IBM Watson Cloud Portability

Enterprises across industries are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools to analyze and glean valuable business insights from data stored in the cloud. The technology promises to boost the efficiency and accuracy of processes to better meet business goals and streamline routine data analytics.

However, in her recent TechRepublic article, Alison DeNisco Raymone points out that while 83% of organizations agree that driving AI across the enterprise is an opportunity, 81% say they do not understand what data is required for AI or how to access it. Furthermore, Raymone cites that two-thirds of technology leaders still do not have plans to implement the technology.

So, why the disparity? Enterprises have so far been forced to work with AI in siloes, due to limitations caused by cloud provider lock-in of data, causing some enterprise IT teams to shy away from the innovation. Now, major tech players are jumping in to help make the implementation of AI seamless for enterprises, opening up the opportunity for hybrid cloud in ways never seen before.

Tech Giants Paving the Way

In the same article, Raymone reports on IBM’s recent announcement that its Watson artificial intelligence (AI) platform is now portable across any cloud environment, including private, public or hybrid. The move means enterprises using other cloud service providers can apply IBM Watson AI capabilities, decreasing the complexity of implementing AI across multiple clouds. Thomas Rob, IBM’s general manager of data and AI said:

“With most large organizations storing data across hybrid cloud environments, they need the freedom and choice to apply AI to their data wherever it is stored. By breaking open that siloed infrastructure we can help businesses accelerate their transformation through AI.”

What Does It All Mean?

Industry experts are feverishly discussing why IBM made the decision to make its Watson AI service compatible with any cloud environment. According to ISG principal analyst Blair Hanley Frank, the move illustrates IBM’s willingness to meet the customer anywhere and “…shows that IBM sees its future providing services across different cloud environments, not just its own.” The new feature represents IBM’s recognition of enterprise IT leaning toward hybrid cloud in favor of reduced IT spending and increased flexibility.

Leading researchers like Michael Warrilow, VP analyst at Gartner claim that hybrid cloud is set to grow even more in 2019, and as enterprises increasingly look to develop these hybrid cloud strategies, enterprise IT will need to leverage AI tools seamlessly, across platforms. IBM’s innovative reaction to the growing trend has potential to set the stage for other AI providers to follow suit.

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