For years, the cloud has been considered as the most powerful and disruptive force ever.
The cloud delivers the necessary tool set to support the digital evolution on a very technological level to purchase, build and run an infrastructure, platform and software as service. Thus, the cloud must be considered as the foundation, the non-discussable requirement!
For IT as well as business decision makers, however, the voluntary exercise now is artificial intelligence (AI). Only if they can collect, aggregate, process and make use of the companies’ knowledge as well as the knowledge of the surrounding environments in an automated way, they will be competitive in the future.
Indeed, last year the hype around AI has reached its climax. The analyst company Tractica forecasts that the “annual worldwide AI revenue will grow from $643.7 million in 2016 to $38.8 billion by 2025.” The revenue for “enterprise AI applications will increase from $358 million in 2016 to $31.2 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64.3%.”
Cloud is here to stay, period! Let’s move on
The cloud marks a milestone in information technology. More and more enterprises world-wide are considering dynamic infrastructure and platforms for their IT strategy. In his recent report, Forrester Analyst Paul Miller just stated one important evidence that the cloud demand is growing. He identified that “Cloud providers like IBM and Interoute have pursued a strategy of placing smaller data centers in more countries for a while, and now their bigger rivals are joining them in the rush to add countries to the cloud data center map.” They are typically doing this, to support the demand but also to supply local market requirements like fulfilling local laws. According to Miller, “[…] various cloud providers are also targeting other European countries: Sweden, Finland, Italy and more all feature in recent announcements.”
Bottom line, the cloud has arrived and is the foundation for a digital enterprise delivering the necessary infrastructure and platforms respectively services. This is important since companies world-wide are still in the middle of their digital transformation process. During that course, they depend on solutions supporting the technological implementation of their individual digital strategy to build a foundation for novel business models and agile business processes.
However, if you still think the cloud is the most disruptive force, start considering the potential of AI. The cloud is just a means to an end for the modern, digital enterprise that must be enabled by AI from now on.
Welcome to an AI-defined world
Starting from an infrastructure perspective, today already every IT management system should be able to fully automated make use of the existing knowledge that exists in the entire IT environment. For example, the IT management system should know when the storage back-end of an email server is running out of space. It does it by predicting how much space is needed based on the average email income per day. Reaching a certain threshold, the system automatically respectively autonomously adds new storage space from a storage pool (software-defined storage) or from a connected cloud storage provider.
However, this so-called AI-defined Infrastructure (AiDI) is just a single piece of the AI cake. And even if infrastructure is taken for granted, for companies of the old economy it is the best advice to start their AI journey on the infrastructure level and enable their AI-defined enterprise from them bottom up using autonomous automation. Four real-world use cases show this bottom up approach and how an AI drives IT and business processes:
- CompuCom Systems uses artificial intelligence to leverage its cloud, data center and infrastructure solutions.
- UBS sets on artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and effectiveness while retaining knowledge.
- VirtusaPolaris integrates artificial intelligence into its Kore Managed IT Solutions Platform.
- Kloeckner & Co implements artificial intelligence supporting its digital strategy.
Tractica has identified around 200 more real-world enterprise AI use cases within 25 industry sectors.
Unlike the cloud, artificial intelligence has a big impact on the entire enterprise stack by potentially disrupting every area of any business. Potential areas of impact are:
- Replacement of repetitive and manual tasks
- Medical diagnostics in healthcare
- Automated customer services
- Real time language translator via voice recognition
- Identifying abnormal occurrences
- Purchase prediction
- Fraud detection
- Recommendation service
- Analysis of market data
- Automated trading
These are just some potential areas for an AI. However, the modern enterprise stack must be entirely defined by artificial intelligence leading to the AI-enabled enterprise. Only if a company makes use of its entire knowledge, combining this with its surrounding environments and filling its own AI, it will be competitive in the future.