By Jim Holland, Country Manager at Lenovo Data Center Group Southern Africa

The furore around Artificial Intelligence (AI) is understandable. When adopted correctly, it is a true enabler for achieving a business life without limits, and it has the potential to power future success.

AI promises the possibilities of the future, and with it comes the opportunity to win the race to become “digital”. That’s why there is an expected 37.3% compound annual growth rate for the 2017 – 2022 period in global spending on cognitive and AI systems.

However, as more businesses turn their attention to the AI hype, they need to be aware of the challenges ahead. Despite the frenzy, AI is still nascent and there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe for success.

The technology certainly has the ability to open monumental business opportunities, and it’s easy to see why so many firms are jumping on the bandwagon. But all businesses striving for adoption need to forge their own path, away from the traditional strategies that hold others back. This “different” line of thinking is the only way to emerge as a digital winner.

With great possibilities come great obstacles

Understanding how to use AI sees many businesses struggle. Many want to adopt it as soon as possible, but are battling to see how AI can be used to benefit their business or optimise a specific task because of the sheer IT complexity.

AI is broader than just an IT initiative; ownership of it needs to spread across a company. Therefore businesses should look to find forums for discussions and places to test ideas. At Lenovo, for example, we recently opened three innovation centres for our customers to discuss, test and innovate. Those who successfully overcome the obstacles in adopting AI technology will see dramatic business growth as their IT initiatives flourish.

The need for expert counsel

With AI and machine learning (ML) technology becoming more mainstream, a number of industries are already reaping big benefits. Agriculture, science and healthcare are among the multitude of industries using the technology to provide better quality services and products. From improving drought management to enhancing radiology practices, AI is the driver in optimising these solutions.

Behind these initiatives is a software-defined data centre, built to harness the power of AI. However, enterprises still need the flexibility to adapt, and this means the ability to operate without technology hampering their business. Therefore, it’s vital that businesses work with partners who invest in the AI and ML space to get the most out of their initiatives. That’s why we are accelerating our AI initiatives to generate new and actionable insights in the business and science sectors.

AI driving the possibilities of the future

To reap AI rewards, businesses must have strong foundations in place and an understanding of the technology. This starts with a flexible, future-defined and AI-optimised data centre, which is the only pillar capable of handling the vast amount of data vital for all AI models.

The right infrastructure, combined with a different line of thinking, will enable today’s businesses to stand out from the rest of the competition.

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