In her opening address at the virtual IBM Cloud Forum 2020, Brenda Harvey, General Manager of IBM Asia Pacific highlighted the challenges which organisations are facing over the next few months after the COVID-19 pandemic. With remote working now the norm, the demand for technology like AI and hybrid cloud is redefining businesses and ecosystems around the world.
“Making supply chains more resilient towards global stocks, moving the right workloads to the public cloud to keep critical functions up and running while quickly deploying new services, automating the right IT task to have the workforce focus on higher-value priorities, securing IT infrastructure to enable remote working and using AI to handle the massive increase in calls and contacts in contact centres. These are the challenges that need to be addressed” said Brenda.
She added businesses needed to reassess strategies and recalibrate their cloud operating model to ensure security, flexibility and openness. A single open IT architecture that extends from the core data centre to the very edge where data and computing is taking place will enable speed and agility.
Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud and Data Platform echoed Brenda is his session by highlighting some successful use case examples whereby organisations have used open architecture and AI in their digital journey to tackle data growth. Watson AIOps synthesises data no matter where it resides to provide CISOs with real-time insights and recommendations. It helps them address complex IT issues quickly to minimise service disruptions and prevent outages.
With the growing importance of AI, Sriram Raghavan, Vice President, IBM Research and AI explained that while organisations are using AI, they are facing challenges. These include the scarcity of specific skills needed to work on AI, enterprise data not being AI-ready or easily accessible and operational challenges whereby having built an AI model, they require more tools to work.
“We are advancing AI with a strong focus on natural language processing and using advanced AI to help make sense of unstructured data. We are focusing on trustworthy AI that is robust and also bringing automation to help scale AI” explained Sriram.
As the hybrid cloud is becoming the go-to strategy for businesses now, Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Red Hat, Asia Pacific and Japan, said modern trends are demanding more computing power. While customers are seeing benefits of traditional cloud services, they need to be able to keep up, which is why there is an increase in the demand of Edge computing which reduces latency and ensures security.
“The demand for Edge computing in Asia is expected to grow over 21% a year and in five years is expected to reach US$ 5.8 billion. IoT and 5G will be crucial drivers for increasing adoption of edge computing services. A hybrid cloud strategy is key to fully leveraging the opportunities brought by 5G, Edge computing, AI and machine learning” commented Dirk.
In a fireside chat, Malaysia’s Haji Ambidi Ambak, Head of Customer and Markets, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) shared how the national electric company is working on its transformation journey with IBM. He shared how they had to get the right technology and hardware to ensure all their employees could understand the use of modern devices. This included the use of tablets for meter readings, allowing TNB employees to get accurate data readings for households.
Several IBM customers were sharing their success stories as well on the forum including Singapore’s DBS Bank, Korea’s SK Holdings C&C and LotteCard, Vodafone Idea Limited and Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya Public Company Limited.