As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Adonay Cervantes, the Global Field CTO at CloudBlue, explores how AI-driven decisions and cloud technologies can improve your business.
Regardless of the industry, artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud are helping businesses improve efficiencies, optimize customer service, and save time. I recently talked to a shrimp farmer about his AI needs at the start of his busy season. To keep the shrimp healthy, the farmer needs to measure the quality, temperature, water level, and other metrics. The correct pH level is critical in the shrimp farming industry, and AI provides the data analysis needed for him to make intelligent decisions about automating his processes and caring for his business—components that live in the cloud.
As the conversation continued, I thought that AI could notify a shrimp farmer when it is time to add good bacteria to the water or provide trend data on sick versus healthy shrimp. Indeed, from aquaculture to agriculture, an abundance of information can be stored in the cloud, providing enough speed and computing capacity to present the data in a form beneficial to farmers. Across different industries, including farming, companies are using AI, automation, and cloud-based resources to do more with less.
Information, patterns, and trends are valuable currency for businesses, and the sheer tonnage of data available needs to be managed. AI tools can help organize the data and simplify how it is consumed. Those insights can then be turned into action. For example, AI helped Land O’Lakes decide how to utilize a fleet of smart tractors to plant seeds more efficiently.
Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers are embedding AI tools into their systems. Microsoft Azure, for instance, offers a range of AI services that can be used to build intelligent applications. From email to product development and customer service, SaaS can benefit from AI. Chatbots, for example, are commonplace in customer call centers, improving customer engagement and retention by providing rapid responses with human-like conversations 24/7. Chatbots minimize errors while collecting data, shorten sales cycles, and lower operational costs. AI tools help with routine tasks, handing off more complex jobs to human agents, and optimizing workflows.
The cloud and AI complement each other, offering combined value with AI, making cloud computing more powerful. The cloud, in turn, drives AI’s ability to impact the market at large. As Deloitte has pointed out, the cloud is democratizing access to AI by giving companies the ability to use it.
Cloud computing offers businesses more flexibility to scale up or down as needed. If this is a busy time of year for a company, it can use a hyperscaler, such as Google Cloud or IBM Cloud, for more computing and storage capabilities. AI gives the business insight into when the time is right to start using more resources, when things slow down, or when to decrease the consumption of resources. AI helps businesses use resources wisely by taking the complexity out of consolidating and accessing a large amount of knowledge and experience. Organizations can rely on AI tools to help make smarter decisions about business strategies.
Whether you are a shrimp farmer or a large healthcare organization, automating business processes is critical. This leads to the debate over building or buying IT infrastructure. Back-office operations such as billing, invoicing, purchase orders, and data entry take up time and resources.
After AI-driven applications are built, companies are looking for go-to-market strategies to reach the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that need these solutions. Now, the dilemma becomes “how to serve this model on a large scale.” It is essential to automate the delivery of these solutions. My advice is to rely on a cloud platform that helps you automate the ordering, provisioning, billing, and management of the smart solutions that you want to offer. These platforms also give you access to a network, or digital ecosystem, of vendors and managed service providers that can help make these services operational.
Automation, AI-driven tech, and cloud computing are essential to making business processes faster, more reliable, and more secure. Building, maintaining, and updating an IT infrastructure is costly and time-consuming and probably not your area of expertise. Working with a cloud platform provider gives you agility and scalability without taking focus away from your core business.
The cloud also helps businesses, both big and small, with sustainability because migrating on-premises data centers to the cloud is more energy-efficient. A study by Microsoft, for instance, found their cloud is 93 percent more energy-efficient and 98 percent more carbon-efficient than a local data center.
Insights from AI tools can help businesses save resources. According to the global think tank Capgemini Research Institute, 48 percent of organizations surveyed use AI for climate action. In the case of our shrimp farmer, he uses AI to determine when to treat the pond water or how to manage water levels. Making smarter choices about water use saves energy. AI tools can also tell a shrimp farmer when to scale down, which would mean less memory and traffic for the central processing unit (CPU) and, in turn, help reduce energy use.
Along with the impact on sustainability, AI and the cloud are transforming business processes across the board. Using AI, automation, and the cloud makes business workflows more efficient and gives companies the insights to make strategic decisions. In the case of our shrimp farmer, AI, and the cloud help him use resources wisely and streamline processes so he can spend more time building his business. Summer, after all, is the peak growing season for shrimp.
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