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Cloud AI – the disruption combo – you want fries with that?

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As if cloud computing isn’t enough of a disruptor to ERP, the impact of AI is now on the menu. Cloud with AI will be a powerful force and is guaranteed to impact a life and workplace near you.

Cloud computing is still an infant concept but it’s evolving way quicker than a lot of people realise. In New Zealand the number of organisations who have embraced cloud fully is still few but almost all organisations will now have a foot, or toe, in the cloud camp while maintaining a strong link to legacy.

The case for cloud is strong and well understood, but it is still not strong enough to encourage more businesses to jump in boots and all.

This may be about to change.

It’s well known cloud’s value comes from the potential to lower computing costs and increase business flexibility by being able to upscale and downscale data quickly and efficiently.

In addition to this, there’s no need for up-front capital expenditure, it delivers better collaboration and document management, and it provides the ability to work wherever. It also supports competitiveness and is kind to the planet.

But there are also reasons why organisations are reticent to move to the cloud including existing financial commitment and investment in legacy platforms, fear of losing control, concerns about security, performance and being tied to one provider.

However, whatever side of the fence you sit on, or if you are perched on the top, the advent of AI brings a different perspective to this discussion and may tip the balance.

The potential for AI is enormous in providing virtual assistance to connect customers with company information, the ability to mine for and add value to data, and making existing technology better by learning and adapting.

It also presents a very real way to develop the capability of your team by managing many of the mundane and time consuming tasks formerly done by employees. AI will free them up to focus on more productive activities, and this leads to a better working environment, culture and ultimately customer service.

AI’s fast food is vast quantities of data – it is a hungry beast and will have a growing appetite as more and more AI functionality arrives.

So here’s the question – for businesses to take advantage of AI are legacy systems up for the job?

The issue with legacy, or even hybrid legacy where some systems are in the cloud and some not, is it is confined, inflexible and less able to adapt to change.

Cloud computing is an ideal fit for an AI world because of its ability to corral information, deliver intelligence and be flexible and adaptable.

And there are a lot of leading lights in the IT world seeing this as the next major step and a lot of what is being said is modelling our own thinking.

Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive of Google has said: “we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an AI-first world” and if he’s right businesses are going to need as much potential to scale as possible.

The Financial Times has opined that once data is moved to the cloud, companies will have much more access to varied data feeds and intelligent services and infusing this with their own operations will be possible thanks to “AI in the cloud”.

The message here is if companies are to take advantage of the next big change they should “get on the cloud and do so fast”, because if you don’t you are going to miss out on the opportunity it presents.

And if you need more endorsements about the importance of AI, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, says:

“It’s clear to me [AI] is going to be the foundation for the next layer of programming.”

This echoes the late Steve Jobs who called it the “one more thing” — the unexpected bonus that would outshine all other benefits of moving to the cloud.

With the weight of commentary about AI it’s hard to ignore the potential of it when it’s driven by the cloud.

Put simply, if companies are still based on legacy systems as this AI juggernaut comes down the road, there’s a strong possibility they will become just that, a legacy.

It’s unlikely to arrive overnight, but it will, and those who don’t have real intelligence about artificial intelligence now, will be left out. As Stephen Hawking suggests, the AI genie is out of the bottle and there’s no going back, meaning business leaders will have to think about it more and manage it so as to deliver benefits. Those who don’t will be left behind.

Companies who embrace AI will be able to grow faster, more efficiently and produce better results – two heads are better than one, especially if one of them is artificial and driven by computer science.

No-one knows what more technology changes are over the horizon, so being open to them in mind-set and infrastructure makes sense. AI in the cloud simply provides more scope to adapt – it is the perfect disruption combo.

If you would like to know more about the opportunities available by embracing the cloud contact us for a chat.