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How a strong cloud foundation can help you accelerate AI-led innovation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one technology today, which has incredible potential, with some analysts going as far as saying that future business battles for market supremacy might turn into virtual AI wars among companies.

As per Forrester, businesses that use AI, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to unearth new business insights could leave their less-informed peers far behind in this competitive world. This business shift can start with extremely simple and basic things such as transforming customer service from reactive to proactive. Until recently, most enterprises were known to take a piecemeal approach to technology adoption. Owing to this reactive, tech-first approach, which is not strategic, as many as 13 percent of all businesses have failed to realize the benefits expected from deploying various disruptive technologies.

Just like any emerging technology that is introduced, the use of AI needs to be targeted, and it most certainly needs a solid foundation, which can only be through cloud. Indeed, cloud is the foundation where digital transformation begins, which is why it has now come to be accepted as the bedrock of all innovation. As a catalyst, cloud empowers enterprises to experiment with new technologies rapidly – be it AI, IoT, blockchain, etc. Provided it is used strategically, cloud can also free up resources to fund innovation – moving your IT infrastructure to cloud offers you massive cost benefits while enabling you to redeploy the funding (which would have otherwise been tied up in IT CapEx) for future innovation.

Another key focus area is to get your data strategy right – data is the new currency, with pretty much all emerging technologies relying on data, but AI, more so than any other. More the data that can be fed into AI algorithms, more accurate and effective will be the results. But the question today is: why are organizations still unable to unlock maximum business value from their data? There is a twin challenge to this: first most companies today are sitting on huge amounts of data, which they are not using or sharing properly. And second, even this huge amount of data is not enough to feed the voracious appetites of AI.

One other key aspect for your AI innovations to bear fruit is to realize that you cannot just do AI for the sake of it, and building bespoke AI in most cases may not necessarily be the best option. Instead, success of AI in business should focus on how to do a task much better – enhancing customer service, engaging quality talent, motivating employees on an ongoing basis, fraud detection, or ushering in more operational efficiencies in the supply chain.

But where should one begin? Organizations can take advantage of a range of bleeding-edge, purpose-built, ready-to-go applications that can enable them to integrate transformational technologies such as AI seamlessly into their everyday functioning – in finance, HR, marketing, sales, etc. The cloud allows these different business functions to connect across a platform that can learn, adjust, self-correct as well as pull insight from across the business, resulting in a very connected experience, and at the same time yielding better insights.

A number of organizations today, making long-term future bets, are embracing cloud as a strong foundation for AI-led innovation, with a clear data strategy in place. These organizations have already started achieving quick wins for themselves. Organizations that do not embrace cloud as an innovation catalyst will certainly fall behind in trying to accelerate AI-led innovation, in turn risking the future of their business.

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