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Winning with AI

By Rob Thomas, IBM

September 13, 2018

Since the year 2000, 52% of the companies that make up the Fortune 500 have disappeared. They have been acquired, succumbed to performance atrophy, or declared bankruptcy. In this hyper-competitive marketplace, winners and losers are being declared every day. And while artificial intelligence (AI) can be the valve to these pressures, for many, drafting a playbook for actually winning with AI remains daunting.

Also, consider a recent IDC Cloud and AI Adoption Survey[1] in which more than 80% of respondents said they plan to move, or repatriate, data and workloads from public cloud environments to private clouds or on-premises locations over the next year, as the initial expectations of a single public cloud provider were not realized. These dynamics add to the confusion that every CEO, CIO, CTO, and CDO faces on a daily basis.

So, what precisely is dragging down projects and preventing companies from delivering measurable business value? I see three recurring patterns:

  • Companies have been accumulating data at an amazing pace for years, but are still challenged with how to store, manage, and control access. They need a new, modern approach;
  • The pressure to innovate is mounting. Companies create a chief data office or a data science center of excellence, but do not always have the right model for organizational success;
  • Small successes only scale when models are put into production and companies adapt their business processes, but unfortunately, this doesn’t occur very often. Scale requires platform thinking and technology.

Companies are at a critical juncture. They must be able to find and scale insights on demand if they want to climb the Ladder to AI.

Enter the Data Platform

This summer IBM launched an innovative approach and solution to this conundrum. Our new IBM Cloud Private for Data (ICP for Data) is a modern data platform designed to integrate data science, data engineering and application building into an environment that companies can use to uncover previously hidden insights from their data. Built on IBM Cloud Private, ICP for Data includes an enterprise meta-data catalog as the centerpiece along with services for data federation/virtualization, data warehousing, data integration, data science / machine learning and embedded dash-boarding.

It is designed to connect all data across an enterprise seamlessly, starting with enterprise data, and offers all its capabilities as data micro services. Consider it the highway system for the data revolution.

But enduring platforms require meaningful, consistent innovation and refinement, as well as an ecosystem. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since our May 29 launch of ICP for Data. Since announcing, we’ve added functionality like data management support for MongoDB and EDS Postgres for the enterprise, as well as the integration of IBM Data Risk Manager for holistic views of all data.

And in July we released an edition targeted at medium-sized enterprises, delivering the same functionality at a lower price point.

Advancing AI

This week, we’re advancing the platform even further, announcing that ICP for Data is working with Red Hat to certify the platform to run on Red Hat OpenShift, the company’s open source container application platform. The move builds on news we made with Red Hat this summer to enable the easy integration of IBM’s extensive middleware and data management with OpenShift. Now with ICP for Data certified for OpenShift, clients will be able to run their cloud-native workloads across OpenShift’s vast landscape and stretching across on premises, public and private clouds.

Simultaneously, IBM partner and maker of the leading Hadoop distribution, HortonWorks is also certifying for OpenShift, opening an even wider opportunity for our clients to exploit the Kubernetes-based platform. The three of us made an announcement on the moves just days ago.

In addition, we are releasing a new edition of ICP for Data, called ICP for Data Experiences – a no cost trial version – that gives new clients an easy and intuitive introduction to the platform. Through the solution, developers and data engineers alike can move quickly through the steps it takes to do things like collect and prepare the right data for machine learning models, create predictive analytics models to understand future outcomes, and how to go about deploying and managing these models.

Another innovative feature we’re adding to ICP for Data today is a first-of-a-kind technology that is designed to enable people to write analytics queries that can access data anywhere across the enterprise, be it from servers, desktops, mobile devices, a car, etc., as if you were searching a single database. It’s like we’re giving people the ability to SQL the world. And because it’s on ICP for Data, this new feature can help you find the data you’re looking for whether it’s on premises, or on private or public clouds.

In a related, but just as exciting move, we’re also announcing this week that IBM is sponsoring the StackExchange AI, a new community on the Stack Overflow Network. Stack Overflow facilitates conversations and sharing among more than 50 million developers a month. Through this relationship, IBM will lead the conversation around AI, machine learning, and data science as well as data governance and hybrid data management – all critical rungs on the ladder to AI. Together, the community will drive and advance the use of AI through discussions around the latest innovations and practices to help people extract more out of their data.

Which brings us full circle on the issue at hand – helping empower people and organizations with the easiest, most intuitive yet sophisticated tools and platforms to begin managing and analyzing their mounting data – all with an eye on AI. Because be forewarned, no enterprise will scale the AI ladder without having its data prepped, managed, available and accessible. We think we’ve built the most powerful system yet to help you accomplish this.

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