Huawei and Oracle today announced separate plans for infusing artificial intelligence (AI) into their cloud-based platforms and applications. The advancements follow a widespread market trend that looks to incorporate more intelligence and capabilities in the cloud for enterprises. It also emboldens the position of cloud providers that are eager to find new ways to compete.
“AI and machine learning work best when you have lots of data … and of course a good place to store all of your data is in the cloud,” said Blair Hanley Frank, analyst at ISG. “When you think about customers with large amounts of data in the cloud, one of the best ways to add value to that is to add an intelligent layer over top that can reason over that significant volume of data.”
Most cloud providers have also reached a level of maturity that requires competitive gains to be earned on features that go beyond basic services, Frank added. “By developing different and more advanced AI capabilities, that’s how these major cloud platforms can really differentiate from one another,” he said. “Everybody is looking to try and show how they are better than their competition through the creation of new services that add intelligence over top of that existing commodity layer.”
Vendors Differentiate Cloud With AI
The breadth and capability of AI solutions depends on the vendor and technical acumen of the enterprise, Frank explained. As vendors continue to search for ways to offer distinct value in their cloud platforms, different personalities are emerging, he said.
Huawei Cloud will include “full stack, full scenario AI solutions” later this month, including 48 services that can enable businesses to extract more intelligence from their data, the company announced. Services include Huawei’s AI developer platform ModelArts, optical character recognition, natural language processing, and video analysis.
More than 200 AI-related projects have been initiated on Huawei Cloud to date, the company said. Among Fortune 500 companies, 221 have used Huawei Cloud to extend new capabilities for smart cities, factories, transportation, and urban parking, according to Huawei. The company also announced the launch of its AI Partners Club, which is initially comprised of 10 startups, to develop more specialties in deep learning, voice recognition, data analytics, and data labeling.
Meanwhile, Oracle is integrating the cloud-based AI data engine DataFox, which it acquired less than five months ago. Oracle DataFox has expanded its pool of AI-sourced and managed data by almost 30 percent during that time, according to Oracle.
New integrations with Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud, Oracle CX Cloud, and Oracle Marketing Cloud have enabled enterprises to gain more AI-driven insights in procurement, finance, sales, and marketing, according to Oracle. The company said Oracle DataFox has data on millions of organizations, including details on headcount, funding, revenue, growth opportunities, and awards. The algorithms that power Oracle DataFox continuously source and analyze data from more than 49 million customer records every week.
Enterprises Strive for Benefits
In the near term, enterprises are primarily using AI in the cloud to increase revenue and free up employees’ time to do tasks that are more valuable to the company, Frank said. “Another key overall benefit is figuring out what’s actually inside all the information that companies already have.”
The early movers are seeing benefits, but it’s critical that enterprises work toward realizing the outcomes that they expect to achieve through AI in the cloud. “We’re still very early in terms of the overall journey that we’re on with implementing AI in a robust way into cloud computing,” Frank said. “Most enterprises just aren’t there yet.”
As such, it’s too early to make grand, sweeping statements about what AI does in the cloud and some vendors have oversold the actual capabilities of what they can effectively bring to market for their customers, Frank added.
“We’re writing the textbooks as we’re living this, and so what that means is that the path forward is not necessarily clear for everyone,” he said. “Data has gravity … and so when cloud providers are thinking about how are they going to make their services more sticky for customers, using AI makes a ton of sense to enable that stickiness because it means that customers are bringing more data to the platform.”