Of the business decision-makers surveyed by IBM, 68% have created formal policies around generative AI.

Of organizations that use hybrid cloud, 68% have established formal, organization-wide policies around generative AI, The Harris Poll working on behalf of the IBM Institute for Business Value found in a news report published in November. The Cloud Transformation Report, released Nov. 20, tracked trends in the intersection between hybrid cloud, generative AI sustainability and tech skills.

The survey was conducted virtually, with 3,018 IT and business decision-makers in 12 countries and across 23 industries participating in May and June 2023.

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Hybrid cloud supports generative AI workloads

For IBM, hybrid cloud infrastructure is key because it can support generative AI workloads – as long as organizations have a strategy to do so.

“The success of this technology (generative AI) remains dependent on organizations having the skills and infrastructure needed to build and utilize compute-intensive technology,” said Rohit Badlaney, general manager of IBM’s cloud product and industry platforms group, in an email interview with TechRepublic. “Organizations must formalize their AI strategy and create clear, organization-wide policies to address their generative AI approach.”

The report found that 73% of tech leaders in government, 69% of tech leaders in manufacturing and 68% of tech leaders in consumer goods already have generative AI strategies. Banking and financial markets, insurance, life science, electronics and automotive have been slower to adopt organization-wide generative AI strategies.

SEE: Our hybrid cloud cheat sheet is a must-read (TechRepublic) 

IBM offers its watsonx platform running on IBM Cloud and GPU options on IBM Cloud as a service. Other companies that offer similar services and infrastructure include Amazon, Google, SAP and Databricks.

“Enterprises that are looking to successfully scale AI must consider the data – data is growing exponentially and it’s everywhere – across multiple clouds with multiple vendors, on premises and at the edge,” said Badlaney. “Successful adoption boils down to data management and workload placement.”

How tech leaders can build on their cloud experience to include generative AI

To find a balance between generative AI and an organization’s current cloud strategy, technology leaders can:

  1. Create an organization-wide strategy on how to work with generative AI and align it with other digital transformation.
  2. Move sensitive workloads from public to private or on-premises clouds if needed for security or compliance.
  3. Address cybersecurity concerns that come up around generative AI.

Business leaders should focus on what outcomes they want around generative AI.

“Leaders must understand what they are trying to achieve through AI before they can create the foundation necessary to put the pieces together and drive those outputs,” said Badlaney.

“Technology leaders need to have a clear view of current compute capacity levels, and data storage and processing requirements,” Badlaney said. “This will allow them to better create a holistic strategy that aligns with security, compliance and performance needs.”

Similarities between hybrid cloud adoption trends and generative AI adoption trends

The rise of hybrid cloud and the rise of generative AI are similar in that they face the same difficulties, the IBM Institute for Business Value and The Harris Poll said. Of the cloud leaders surveyed, 45% said cybersecurity or privacy and confidentiality were concerns when adopting generative AI.

Sustainability is a must-have in enterprise tech

Sustainable computing is no longer just nice to have, Badlaney said – it’s becoming a “must-have” for enterprise customers.

In its study of cloud considerations, the IBM Institute for Business Value and The Harris Poll found organizations are challenged to improve sustainability while processing large amounts of data such as generative AI workloads. Of the global cloud leaders surveyed, 42% said they use the cloud to help deploy, track and manage sustainability goals internally; of those, 36% say cloud will have the largest impact on their sustainability strategy compared to other technologies. Many global cloud leaders (86%) surveyed think open innovation between business partners is the biggest driver of sustainable initiatives.

Hybrid cloud can fit into sustainability initiatives, particularly if renewable electricity is used along the supply chain. In an ideal world, cloud computing would allow for physically aggregated hardware and more efficient operation.

Cloud skills remain a concern

Finding people with the right cloud skills can be a challenge, 58% of global decision makers said. Of the organizations surveyed, 72% have created new positions to meet the need for cloud skills. Highly-regulated industries such as banking and financial markets (79%), chemicals and petroleum (79%) and transportation and travel (81%) are even more likely to create new positions to fill the need for cloud skills. Upskilling can help employees use transformational technologies, including hybrid cloud and generative AI, more effectively.


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