Artificial Intelligence

Deliver in months what used to take years

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Author: Jason Price, Vice President IBM Technology A/NZ

It’s easy to remember 2020 for what went wrong. But in many ways, the crises of last year are already creating hope and transformation opportunities, both for society and business. Over the last year, businesses have developed new partnerships, capabilities and ways of working. And from IBM’s perspective, we’ve seen years’ worth of digital transformation take place in months.

Although much of this work was done in response to immediate crises, it doesn’t mean that these changes won’t have long-term consequences. In fact, it’s possible that your technology choices today will dictate your organisation’s competitiveness for years to come. They’ll determine your resiliency, the pace of innovation, and the value you can drive from your data. Two technologies which we believe will be instrumental to this are hybrid cloud and AI.

Why hybrid cloud?

Every company is looking for more speed, flexibility and agility in their businesses. The pandemic made clear that your success depends on your ability to quickly respond to changes in the economy, buyer behaviour or supply chains.

It’s why so many companies are looking to transform and modernise their IT operations; so that they can maximise flexibility and drive innovation. Many previously thought that public cloud was the answer to this. However, 80% of workloads haven’t migrated to the cloud, because organisations can’t simply ‘lift and shift’ mission-critical workloads that run large businesses and institutions. These workloads are spread across extensive IT estates, including traditional data centres and multiple clouds, from private to the edge. In some cases, they also draw from hundreds of data sources.

Ultimately, the promise of cloud has not been fully realised. It’s causing frustration, because the same data silos and proprietary platforms which held back innovation for decades are simply being imported to the cloud.

IBM has a simpler solution. Sitting at the heart of our hybrid cloud approach is Red Hat Open Shift, serving as a connective tissue between the infrastructure our clients use on premise, in the cloud and out to the edge. It allows you to write applications once and run them anywhere, and standardises the approach to development, security and operations on any cloud from any vendor.

Hybrid cloud in action

Coca Cola European partners – the world’s largest producer of Coke – is making OpenShift the foundation of their digital transformation, bringing major mission critical applications to the IT cloud and optimising it for IT cloud environments.

Schlumberger, one of the world’s largest oil and gas services companies, is also using Red Hat to accelerate their digital transformation. By doing this, they’re opening their platform to customers all across the world, building a true digital ecosystem and a platform capable of ingesting information from multiple stakeholders.

That’s the promise of hybrid cloud, and its why we’re so excited about it at IBM. However, the best infrastructure in the world is worthless without the data and applications that live on it.

Where AI comes in

AI is key to transforming data into insight and action. With Watson, we’re defining what AI for business should look like; driving core capabilities around natural language processing, automation and trust. The benefits of this AI + hybrid cloud approach have never been more apparent than now.

In the midst of the pandemic, GlaxoSmithKline launched 16 virtual assistants which answered 83,000 questions from 7,000 unique users in a single 3-month time span.

GM Financial used Watson Assistant to manage 50-60% of their live chat requests when the pandemic hit, resolving approximately 90% of questions without human intervention.

IBM co-creates with trust and security

These are powerful technology success stories coming out of a difficult year, but their success doesn’t rely on technology alone. Instead, they are complex solutions, requiring deep industry expertise with an understanding of strategy, operations and workflow. And to do these well, you need a trusted partner and co-creator to guide you through the journey and set you up for long-term success.

That’s where IBM services comes in: a partner you can trust to introduce technology into both the world and your company, responsibly and securely.

To keep this commitment, security is integrated into all of our designs and solutions. For example, while we’re developing the world’s most powerful quantum computer, we’re also developing the standards for quantum-safe encryption.

You may have also seen that we recently open-sourced our internal AI ethics framework at the world economic forum. We’re making our best practices widely available, not just to the technology industry, but to our clients and governments, so everyone can assess the risks of their AI applications to ensure they don’t produce unintended consequences.

That’s part of our commitment to you and the world. We all have so much to gain from these advanced technologies, but only if we develop and deploy them with trust and transparency.

See more from Think Summit 2021

Visit the Think Summit 2021 highlights page to watch IBM’s President Jim Whitehurst’s full keynote and hear from other industry pioneers.

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