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IBM Watson aims to move AI beyond experiment

IBM says it is making its AI system Watson capable of being deployed anywhere in a move to break through user resistance. It will be portable “across any cloud and empowered businesses to prevent vendor lock-in and start deploying AI wherever their data resides”, it says.            

"Businesses have largely been limited to experimenting with AI in siloes due to the limitations caused by cloud provider lock-in of their data," said Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data and AI. "With most large organizations storing data across hybrid cloud environments, they need the freedom and choice to apply AI to their data wherever it is stored. By breaking open that siloed infrastructure we can help businesses accelerate their transformation through AI."

Though the use of AI continues to gain attention in business, many organizations are still challenged to move projects forward. According to an MIT Sloan report, 81% of enterprises do not understand what data is required for AI, or how to access it. And a recent Gartner study found that, "data and analytics leaders continue to struggle with the complexity, time to integration and cost implications of their data integration projects, thereby inflating their schedules and delivery costs with multiple cycles of revised project scope."

Businesses will hopefully find it a simpler, faster way to build, deploy and run AI models and applications across any cloud. With these tools in place, organizations can:

•             Run IBM Watson services, including Watson Assistant and Watson OpenScale, on any cloud. Through their integration with IBM Cloud Private for Data (ICP for Data), Watson and Watson OpenScale can now be run any environment – on premises, or on any private, public or hybrid-multicloud – enabling businesses to apply AI to data wherever it is hosted.

•             Deploy AI software that automates business processes for improved efficiencies and performance. New AI digital automation software is designed to enable clients to discover patterns in their business processes and then create AI-embedded programs to automate certain workflows.

At the heart of today's announcements is a series of new Watson microservices built for ICP for Data that are based on open source technologies and easily scalable across cloud environments. Based on the open-source Kubernetes technology, these new Watson microservices can be run on IBM Cloud, and other public, hybrid or multi-cloud environments.

In addition to the release of these solutions, IBM announced a forthcoming software capability, called IBM Business Automation Intelligence with Watson. With this new software, business leaders will be able to apply AI directly to applications, and the software will measure the level of impact and effectiveness of AI on business outcomes.