Cloud increasingly influential in delivering AI and machine learning projects

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New research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has found that while 62 per cent of organisations are still in the process of migrating applications to the cloud, 14 per cent have now completed this process and are using cloud to help develop their AI strategy.

This provides evidence that cloud is now helping businesses break new ground in technology projects, pushing beyond its traditionally recognised benefits such as agility and scalability, and helping companies continue to innovate in the face of a challenging economic climate.

The data, taken from CIF’s latest research white paper, ‘Breaking new ground with cloud‘, also examined the importance of ESG and sustainability credentials when organisations choose a cloud provider.

Among the key findings from the research was the fact that 90 per cent of survey respondents consider machine learning either very important or critical to their business, while 86 per cent say the same about AI. Additionally, 82 per cent consider ESG and sustainability credentials as important when choosing a cloud provider, and 85 per cent would reject a provider if these credentials were not in good order.

“Cloud technology is now a fixture in many organisations, with the main advantages very clear to the overwhelming majority of businesses using it,” said David Terrar, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum.

“This year’s CIF research shows that companies are starting to explore and experience the many things that cloud can help them achieve next. The rise of AI and machine learning – with tools such as ChatGPT a major case in point – seems inexorable, and cloud has a major role in helping organisations build the streamlined, efficient IT ecosystem they need to ensure ambitious AI and machine learning projects are a success. At the same time, organisations are facing a range of economic difficulties, so the technologies they adopt need to deliver the added resilience to help them through this period.

“It is also interesting to see how ESG and sustainability are increasingly important to businesses when they look at their options for cloud partners. It is no longer acceptable for cloud providers to neglect this area when building and promoting their offerings, so every company operating in the space should take note.

“Despite the enduring promise of cloud and its role in the AI/ML revolution, there are still hurdles in place that need to be overcome. Current macroeconomic challenges are impacting the majority of businesses in some way, so cloud providers have a role to play in helping their customers remain agile and resilient from a technological standpoint.

“Perhaps even more pertinent for cloud providers are the customer challenges that are more within their control, such as budget constraints (cited by 41 per cent of respondents) complex migrations (38 per cent), skills shortages (34 per cent) and poor legacy integration (34 per cent). Organisations are ready and willing to leverage cloud to help them fulfil their most aspirational technological goals, so cloud providers must continue to up their game to keep pace with their customers.”

Terrar concluded: “It’s a challenging time for businesses, but we believe this is also the start of an exciting period of evolution for the cloud. Technologies including AI and machine learning – alongside others such as IoT, edge computing and blockchain – are now hugely prominent in the minds of IT and business leaders. Cloud computing is the enabler for all of these, showing its ability to evolve with the times, while at the same time staying true to what made it so successful in the first place. The most agile cloud providers are the ones that will prosper in this period.”

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