By Esmond Tong, VP & GM, Cloud and Emerging Solutions, Oracle APAC
Special to The Nation
To keep up the pace, the most forward looking will need to capitalise on the next generation of cloud computing – autonomous services.
What are autonomous services?
Today, autonomous represents a new category of cloud services; empowering businesses to lower costs, reduce risk, go beyond predictive insights to suggested action and steer innovation into the fast lane. Offering unprecedented levels of simplicity, self-service and security, through being using self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing, autonomous cloud services are setting a new industry standard for IT.
The resulting 'autonomous enterprise' won't need people to run, maintain, integrate, develop and secure its core IT systems. Instead, AI and automation will work together to manage everything from database to application development and provide actionable insight around business processes, all without human input. It will also support businesses in becoming more 'digitally resilient' against technology risks beyond cyber security.
Closing the skills gap
It's a move I know is already being welcomed. The 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey found that more than one in three CIOs in the region have deployed or are in short-term planning to deploy AI technologies; indicating a strong interest in technologies that enable superior data capabilities with less manual intervention.
Indeed, with Willis Towers Watson finding that 63% of APAC employers struggle to attract skilled employees, it's no surprise CIOs want solutions which free up talent to perform higher value work. Labor now accounts for approximately 75% of the total cost of database management, according to IDC, so redeploying staff will mean huge time and money savings.
CIOs don't just want to save costs – they want to move faster and smarter to take the business in more exciting directions than ever before. Autonomous will be key to fulfilling those aims.
FORTH SMART in Thailand, for example, participated in the early adopter stage and has seen results up to 80 times faster.
Similarly, Accenture needed a better way to manage its largescale professional services workforce. Trialing an autonomous cloud solution against its key, data-intensive HR application, the company can get quicker and more personalized analytics to make smarter, faster workforce decisions.
Build digital resilience
Autonomous services will also remove human error from tasks; critical in a number of areas.
Take security. By 2022, Gartner predicts that a company's cybersecurity rating will become as important as its credit rating to customers, suppliers and partners. Yet, security attacks and breaches are increasing, and humans can't keep up. In fact, Gartner previously predicted that 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer's fault.
With AI and automation, businesses can automate the detection, prevention and response to security breaches, performance anomalies, and vulnerabilities. Only by using machines to fight machines can companies reprioritize and rethink about how they defend their information.
A boon to small business
Autonomous IT will be a boon to businesses both small and large, because in today's agile digital age, being big isn't enough – nor is being fast. Instead, organisations must be smart, so they can move quickly in the right direction. That's precisely what autonomous cloud enables companies to do.
With autonomous, businesses without their own database administrators or hardware will suddenly gain access to things like data warehousing solutions for the very first time.
Small US provider QMP Health, for example, can now discover inefficiencies in lab work and prepare test results in as little as one hour, instead of two weeks. Patients receive quicker care, and the business is more competitive against larger rivals.
Autonomous services are precisely the kind of technology that Gartner has predicted forward-looking CIOs in APAC will strive to adopt.
This is why we expect that, within the next two years, 50 percent-plus of all enterprise data will be managed autonomously, and that IT operations currently experiencing 20,000 human-managed interventions per year will soon fall to just 20 as a higher degree of intelligent automation permeates cloud platforms.
The power of autonomous services, capable of self-patching, self-tuning and automatically optimizing performance while running, is just the start. It won't be long before autonomous cloud services bring simplicity, self-service and security into all areas of the business, providing new fuel for innovation. Some organisations are ready. What about you?