Greater than the sum of their parts: How hybrid cloud and AI work together

New research from Oxford Economics and IBM shows that cloud and AI strategies are increasingly intertwined and already contributing to meaningful payoffs at some organizations

December 1, 2020 (New York, NY)

New research from Oxford Economics and IBM shows data strategies, AI, and cloud are increasingly effective and intertwined. Organizations that are further along in their adoption of cloud and AI tend to outperform their competitors against a variety of important business metrics, with many believing their use of cloud accelerates return on investment.

The research includes a global survey of 6,000 senior IT executives around the world. Industries covered include financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications. Among the key findings:

  • Complex business needs demand a tailored approach to cloud.
    Executives are increasingly focused on building diverse cloud portfolios by using multiple types of hosting environments to support different needs and opportunities. This momentum is expected to accelerate in the next two years, and many are shifting to hybrid multicloud environments.
  • Cloud and data have become foundational technologies for the emerging AI era.
    The joint development of cloud and AI-enabled applications is a priority for executives, and nearly three-quarters agree that cloud is critical to the successful development of AI applications. For 77% of respondents, a unified platform for cloud, data, and AI is seen as critical to long-term success.
  • The combined use of cloud and AI is already paying off for some, with those furthest ahead in technology adoption more likely to see results in some important areas.
    Many respondents report value from their combined cloud and AI projects, with ROI coming most often in business operations, IT operations, and customer service. Two groups of respondents further ahead in their adoption of cloud and AI—we call them Cloud Strategists and Cloud and AI Unifiers—are more likely to report effectiveness across a range of technology and business areas.

“A unified approach to cloud and AI adoption may improve the effectiveness and value of both technologies,” says Edward Cone, Editorial Director and Technology Practice Lead for the Thought Leadership group at Oxford Economics, who oversaw this research program. “Choosing the optimal cloud environment for your specific needs makes a difference.”

Click here to read the executive summary and access other research materials, including findings by industry.

About Oxford Economics We are a world leader in economic analysis for business and government. Founded in 1981 as a joint venture with Oxford University’s business college, we specialize in evidence-based thought leadership, forecasting, and economic impact analysis. Headquartered in Oxford, with offices around the world, we employ more than 250 people, including over 150 economists, industry experts, and business editors. Oxford Economics has a worldwide client base of over 1,000 corporations, financial institutions, government organizations, professional firms, and universities.

Topics: Technology and the internet, Return on investment