As firms begin their cloud journey, they are met with the exciting prospects proffered by new technological advances, such as AI, blockchain and IoT. Rajaraman highlighted the ability of these services to further refine a business’ processes: “If you look at the healthcare or financial services industries, for example, these technologies complement their existing capabilities; they can change the user experience while also allowing more insights to be gleaned from various parts of the operation. Again, integration plays an important role.
“If you look at the continuum of cloud, it’s a lot more about how you change your business, how you change your processes and how you exploit your data, rather than just pure infrastructure or the choices of infrastructure. Infrastructure becomes a means to an end.”
It’s a case of taking an enterprise’s existing business processes and infusing higher-level services – and doing so securely. “You also need to ensure the insights and algorithms that you build belong to you as an enterprise, and that they are not shared with everybody else, including your competitors,” Rajaraman added. “All these elements of security, integration, connection and performance come together in terms of how we deliver solutions in this space.”
To this end, IBM has recently formed a series of key partnerships. In January 2018, for example, the firm revealed that it had started working with shipping giant Maersk to improve its business processes through the use of blockchain technology. In March, IBM established a joint venture with Mastercard: known as Truata, this Europe-based data trust allows firms to analyse their financial client information within the constructs of the General Data Protection Regulation.
“In this situation, we set up an independent trust, had it listed on the IBM Cloud and applied our research elements to help anonymise and pseudo-anonymise the data, so that we could quickly mask all the personal information associated with it,” Robinson told The New Economy. “Then, we brought in our data tools to allow you to continue to derive correlations as well.”
IBM is making headway in other markets, too: Watson, for example, has been integrated into Salesforce systems to deliver improved CRM solutions using the power of AI.
Meanwhile, the Weather Company, which runs on IBM Cloud and handles billions of data feeds, is having a profound impact on a variety of industries. Following recent hurricane activity in the US, the service received a record number of queries. And it’s not just individuals checking for rain, either: enterprises are now using this service against their insurance models. Elsewhere, it’s impacting aeroplane activity on runways and being used to create predictive models.