Recognizing that organizations are slow to adopt AI, due in part to rising data complexities, IBM announced new innovations that further advance its Watson Anywhere approach to scaling AI across any cloud, and a host of clients who are leveraging the strategy to bring AI to their data, wherever it resides.

“We collaborate with clients every day and around the world on their data and AI challenges, and this year we tackled one of the big drawbacks to scaling AI throughout the enterprise – vendor lock-in,” said Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data and AI. “When we introduced the ability to run Watson on any cloud, we opened up AI for clients in ways never imagined. We pushed that even further adding even more capabilities to our Watson products running on Cloud Pak for Data.”

Increasing data complexity, as well as data preparation, skills shortages, and a lack of data culture are combining to slow AI adoption at a time when interest in AI continues to climb. Between 2018 and 2019, organizations that have deployed artificial intelligence (AI) grew from 4% to 14%, according to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda survey.1 Those figures contrast with the rising awareness of the value of AI. According to the 2019 MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group study, Winning with AI, 9 out of 10 respondents agree that AI represents a business opportunity for their company. Adding to growing enterprise complexities, a 2018 IBM Institute for Business Value study said that 76% of organizations surveyed reported that they are already using at least two to 15 hybrid clouds, and 98 percent forecast they will be using multiple hybrid clouds within three years.

The innovations announced today are designed to help organizations overcome the barriers to AI. From detecting ‘drift’ in AI models to recognizing nuances in the human voice, these new capabilities can be run across any cloud via IBM’s Cloud Pak for Data platform to begin easily connecting their vast data stores to AI.

As evidence of the growing appeal of this approach to enable AI to run on any cloud, IBM today announced a number of clients that are leveraging Watson across their enterprises to unearth hidden insights, automate mundane tasks and help improve overall business performance. Companies like multinational professional services firm KPMG, and Air France-KLM, are leveraging Watson apps, or building their own AI with Watson tools, to facilitate their AI journeys.

“IBM’s strategy for developing AI tools that enable clients to run AI wherever their data is, is exactly the reason we turned to OpenScale – we needed multicolored scalability in order to give clients the kind of transparency and explainability we were talking about,” said Steve Hill, Global and US Head of Innovation at KPMG. “Supporting the client’s environment, whatever it may be, reflects the understanding that IBM has not only about AI, but about the expanding enterprise.”

KPMG, the multinational professional services network and long-time IBM alliance partner, for years, has integrated the latest cognitive and automation capabilities into services across its businesses from governance, risk, and compliance to taxes and accounting. Earlier this year KPMG turned to IBM to collaborate on a new service that would provide KPMG clients greater governance and explainability of their AI, no matter where that data resides, no matter what cloud and no matter what AI platform the company was using. KPMG developed the KPMG AI in Control solution leveraging the Watson OpenScale platform, to give clients the ability to continuously evaluate their machine learning and AI algorithms, models and data for greater confidence in the outcomes. Last month, KPMG teamed with IBM to release a joint offering of this solution to clients called KPMG AI in Control with Watson OpenScale.

And to help accelerate customer service and improve the passenger experience, Air France-KLM and its customer service team developed a voice assistant called MIA (My Interactive Assistant), which uses IBM Watson Assistant with Voice Interaction. Air France-KLM collaborated with IBM to develop the voice assistant to improve the customer experience by reducing file processing time. Since the beginning of the pilot in July in a single country, MIA has responded to 4,500 calls from people needing additional information about their flights or their travel plans.