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UK and Ireland CIOs Prioritize Cloud Investment

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The latest survey conducted by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), titled “Connected Future: How Cloud Drives Business Innovation,” reveals that 60% of major corporations in the UK and Ireland consider cloud as a long-term investment priority. This is a significant finding considering the current macroeconomic challenges and the recent slowdown in global cloud providers’ growth. The survey, which included 972 senior executives globally, provides valuable insights into the cloud adoption trends and the factors driving cloud investment decisions.

Cloud Investment as a Catalyst for Innovation:

Among the UK and Irish respondents, 63% of senior executives emphasize that cloud plays a crucial role as a catalyst for innovation in their organizations’ future. This percentage is slightly higher than the global average of 59%. These findings highlight the importance of cloud technology in driving innovation, enabling businesses to leverage its capabilities for transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

AI and Machine Learning Investments:

The survey indicates that 74% of UK and Irish respondents have invested in AI and machine learning capabilities over the past two years. Additionally, an even higher percentage, 78%, plan to make further investments in these technologies in the next 12 to 24 months. The adoption of AI and machine learning is closely tied to cloud infrastructure, as these technologies require access to vast amounts of data and scalable computing power provided by the cloud.

Cloud is a frequent source of short-term ROI anxieties, but growth and transformation is a long game. Reconciling these two realities is a challenge and a necessity, but fully achievable with the right strategy and planning. This is critical because cloud is now the unifying digital fabric of every enterprise, fuelling powerful technologies – from generative AI to edge and quantum computing – and is ushering the next wave of innovations now and into the future.”

For instance, companies like DeepMind, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., utilize cloud infrastructure to develop sophisticated AI algorithms. DeepMind’s AlphaGo, a computer program that defeated world champion Go players, heavily relied on cloud-based computing resources to train and optimize its deep neural networks, demonstrating the potential of cloud-enabled AI innovation.

Employee Engagement and Productivity:

Cloud-enabled innovation is also driving new ways of working to improve employee engagement and productivity. Approximately 56% of respondents from the UK and Ireland prioritize “new ways of working” as their desired outcome for cloud-enabled innovation. Encouragingly, 32% of organizations have already realized their desired innovation outcomes in this area, signaling progress towards more effective remote collaboration technologies and improved employee experiences.

Cloud for Sustainability Goals:

The study highlights that 75% of UK and Irish respondents are utilizing cloud technologies to achieve their sustainability goals, surpassing the global average of 67%. However, 48% of respondents reported challenges in understanding the carbon footprints of cloud providers. This indicates that while organizations are successfully integrating cloud into their sustainability strategies, they are now demanding greater transparency and visibility from cloud providers regarding their environmental impact.

Cloud computing provides businesses with the ability to scale resources up or down according to their needs, offering unparalleled flexibility. This flexibility enables organizations to experiment with innovative ideas, launch new products or services quickly, and adapt to changing market demands. By leveraging cloud infrastructure, businesses can allocate resources efficiently and rapidly deploy applications, fostering a culture of innovation and agility.

For example, companies like Airbnb and Uber have revolutionized their respective industries by leveraging the scalability and flexibility of cloud technology. Airbnb’s platform, connecting travelers with accommodation providers, relies on the cloud to handle the massive volume of user data and scale its infrastructure to accommodate global demand. Uber, the ride-sharing platform, utilizes cloud infrastructure to handle real-time location data, perform dynamic routing calculations, and provide seamless experiences to millions of users.

Industry-Specific Cloud Adoption:

The survey reveals that industry clouds or “vertical clouds” are rapidly emerging as a pathway for acquiring greater business expertise and capabilities. A significant majority of executives in the UK and Ireland (79%) are already assessing, adopting, or using industry-specific clouds, surpassing the global average of 73%. This suggests that the UK and Ireland are leading in leveraging cloud technology for industry-specific applications, harnessing its potential to enhance business operations.

Challenges and Skills Shortages:

The study highlights some ongoing challenges in the cloud space. Despite the progress made, many businesses are still in the early stages of transitioning towards mature digital ecosystems, with only 43% realizing their full value. Additionally, up to 55% of respondents report a lack of full cloud proficiencies in-house, indicating critical skills shortages that need to be addressed for organizations to fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology.

Cloud Investment – Fuelling Innovation and Sustainability:

The survey conducted by TCS sheds light on the continued importance of cloud investment for major corporations in the UK and Ireland, even in the face of macroeconomic headwinds. Cloud is seen as a catalyst for innovation, driving the adoption of AI and machine learning while enabling new ways of working to enhance employee engagement and productivity. Organizations are also leveraging cloud technology to achieve sustainability goals, although there is a growing demand for cloud providers to provide greater transparency regarding their environmental impact. While challenges remain, such as industry-specific cloud adoption and skills shortages, the study emphasizes the long-term commitment to cloud investment and the need to unlock its full potential for business transformation.

Edited by Derek Pham, from internet source


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