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Artificial intelligence: Coming soon to an infrastructure near you

With IT infrastructure complexity at an all-time high, most enterprises fear that their IT services can’t keep pace with their business requirements. Nearly three-fourths of them cite infrastructure limitations as a key hurdle in their digital transformation, according to the consulting and research firm Everest Group.

Acknowledging that efforts to align the services provided by IT with business goals are far from novel, the consulting firm points to the marriage of artificial intelligence, analytics and infrastructure management as a potential solution to this perennial challenge.

Everest’s analysts term the combination of these three technologies “aware automation,” noting that by underpinning automated systems with AI and analytics, IT infrastructures will be able to automatically adapt and reconfigure their services in response to user demands.

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Servers and hard drives stand inside pod one of International Business Machines Corp.'s (IBM) Softlayer data center in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. IBM is scheduled to release earnings figures on Jan. 21. Photographer: Ben Torres/Bloomberg

“The trinity of analytics, automation and AI can make the infrastructure run the way business needs it to, without requiring significant oversight or bandwidth,” says Ashwin Venkatesan, the Everest Group’s practice director. “This next-generation automation can make infrastructure services ‘invisible’ rather than a glaring nightmare that causes executives to lose sleep at night.”

During the past two to three years, he adds, intelligent automation has begun making inroads among companies, as a variety of solutions have entered the market.

Reducing costs
Per the Everest Group’s analysis, aware automation can help companies reduce the cost of their infrastructure operations by more than 35 percent, compared with more traditional approaches, while also realizing significant operational improvements.

The consultancy also notes that the global information technology services market will continue to grow modestly at approximately 2 percent per annum, and that the collapse of previously siloed IT application stacks is driving the demand for consulting services.

The biggest vertical markets for IT services are the banking, financial services and insurance sector with 23 to 27 percent of the total market, and the healthcare and life sciences sector, which is the fastest growing segment and now accounts for eight to 10 percent of the total.

Among the vendors serving the IT services market, Everest says that Accenture and IBM continue to dominate.

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