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IBM seeks to address the challenges of adopting business AI with changes to AutoSQL and partner programs

When it comes to adopting global AI, it is a matter of good news and bad news, according to IBM, which hosted its annual think conference this week.

Packed with dozens of sessions dedicated to AI business case studies and services running on Red Hat OpenShift, Think featured a number of Canadian customers and partners, and there was a definite sense that Red Hat's $ 34 billion takeover was followed by Rubber Was meeting on the road.

IBM President Jim Whitehurst.
But similar to its 2020 findings, IBM's latest Global AI Adoption Report - which did not include Canada, sadly - suggests that despite a growing sense of awareness of AI, global business leaders are at odds with AI adoption Importance is concerned about the lack of skills and expertise. The wealth of data explosion from smartphones, PCs and chatting IoT devices makes it extremely difficult for any organization to adopt meaningful AI.

IBM president Jim Whitehurst told reporters during a virtual press conference this week, "Most large enterprises came of age, when we knew to separate data from application logic, so data is everywhere and scattered." "We've worked very hard to overcome that complexity with AutoSQL."

Cloud Pak for Data, Meet AutoSQL
IBM Cloud Pak for Data, one of IBM's fully managed Database-as-a-Service (DBAS) offerings, is fully containerized and runs on Red Hat OpenShift, a family of containerization software products developed by Red Hat - which now owns IBM. IBM Cloud Pak for Data lets businesses run their applications and workloads on any cloud, wherever they want.


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Since its release three years ago, IBM says that DBAAS offerings have garnered huge interest from customers in many industries. This week on THINK, it also received several updates.

One of those updates was in the form of AutoSQL, a high-performing universal query engine. The platform introduces virtualization capabilities and allows users to search for data in hybrid, multi-cloud and multi-vendor environments. For example, a business with an online portal provides answers to customer queries that, for example, would benefit from that type of capabilities.

"It's available today and I argue the most important customer pain point," Whitehurst said.

Anand Persaud, senior director of data and analytics at Morneau Shapel, attended a long session about the latest innovations in IBM's hybrid cloud and AI solutions. Persaud said the Canadian HR services and technology firm is looking to use Cloud Pak for data to move its services to the cloud and automate some of those capabilities.

"We operate in 162 countries around the world. We are a multinational organization with multinational problems," he said, citing the need to streamline internal functions and simplify customers' access to online services.

IBM's Global AI Adoption Report states that 75 percent of large companies draw from more than 20 different data sources to inform their AI, BI, and analytics systems. Nearly half of the global IT professionals surveyed said they evaluate AI providers based on their ability to automate processes.

According to IBM's internal benchmarking, the AutoSQL system answers distributed queries "8 times faster than before and at about half the cost of other comparable data warehouses." Take it with a grain of salt, but anything that speeds up business is worth considering adopting AI.

IBM also unveiled a preview release of a new Watson service called Watson Orchestrate. The new service is an AI that helps professional knowledge workers automate mundane tasks and provide suggestions for further steps in a productive workflow through a natural language interface. It is not entirely clear how widely Watson Orchestrate will be integrated with other software.

During the session featuring Persaud, Shelley Tester, the operational risk manager of insurance company Aviva - which has offices in Canada - praised IBM's recent engagement with customers and partners, noting that this has been evident for the past three years Where IBM is focused. Participation in IBM's User Experience program has helped shape Aviva's back and front-end services, and Tester said it looks like partners and customers are finally being heard because an IBM legacy is associated with the business The old school partner moves beyond the program strategy.

"We've been IBM customers for 10 to 12 years and you took each [product] release with a breath like 'Oh now what are we going to get?' Whereas in the last three years, we have been involved and we have a say. It has made the product so much better, "she said.

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