India Ranks Highest In Global Implementation Of AI Projects

Nasdaq-listed  NetApp, the intelligent data infrastructure company, has recently released its second annual Cloud Complexity Report. The report analyzes the experiences of global technology decision makers deploying AI at scale and shows a stark contrast between AI leaders and AI laggards. This year’s report provides global insights into the progress, readiness, challenges and momentum since last year’s report, what we can learn from both the AI leaders and AI laggards, and the critical role of a unified data infrastructure in achieving AI success.

India heads the pack as an AI leader, with 70 per cent of companies having AI projects up and running, or in motion. This is in stark contrast with the global average of 49 per cent. Additionally, the report found that 91 per cent of India-based companies will use half or more of their data to train AI models in 2024.

“The world today is driven by AI and data plays a critical role in enhancing AI capabilities,” says Puneet Gupta, Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India/SAARC. “India is a country of humungous data sets. No surprise then, that India leads the world, and corporations are embracing AI to further their IT agenda. We are partnering with a diverse group of customers to build an intelligent data infrastructure that spans multiple environments and is the backbone of all AI projects. Clearly, the more unified and reliable your data, the more likely your AI initiatives are to be successful.”

The report has found a clear divide between AI leaders and AI laggards across several areas including regions, industries and company size. Around 60 per cent  of AI-leading countries (India, Singapore, UK, USA) have AI projects up and running or in pilot, in stark contrast to 36 per cent in AI-lagging countries like Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Japan.

Technology leads with 70 per cent of AI projects up and running or in pilot, while banking & financial services and manufacturing follow with 55 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. However, healthcare (38 per cent) and media & entertainment (25 per cent) are trailing.

Larger companies (with more than 250 employees) are more likely to have AI projects in motion, with 62 per cent reporting projects up and running or in pilot, versus 36 per cent of smaller companies (with fewer than 250 employees).

Both AI leaders and AI laggards show a difference in their approach to AI. Globally, 67 per cent of companies in AI-leading countries report having hybrid IT environments, with India leading (70 per cent) and Japan lagging (24 per cent). Around 87 per cent of Indian companies have optimised IT environments for AI, and some AI-lagging countries also have AI-ready IT environments: Germany (67 per cent) and Spain (59 per cent).

AI leaders are also more likely to report benefits from AI, including a 50 per cent increase in production rates, 46 per cent in the automation of routine activities and 45 per cent improvement in customer experience. “The rise of AI is ushering in a new disrupt-or-die era,” says Gabie Boko, Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp.    “Data-ready enterprises that connect and unify broad structured and unstructured data sets into an intelligent data infrastructure are best positioned to win in the age of AI.”

Despite the divide, the report has found there is notable progress among AI laggards in preparing their IT environments for AI, but the window to catch up is closing rapidly.  A significant number of companies in AI-lagging countries (42 per cent) have optimised their IT environments for AI, including Germany (67 per cent ) and Spain (59 per cent). Companies in some AI-lagging countries already report they see the benefits of a unified data infrastructure in place, such as easier data sharing –Spain (45 per cent), Australia/New Zealand (43 per cent) and Germany (44 per cent); Increased visibility– Spain (54 per cent  and Germany (46 per cent).

As per the report, the rising IT costs and ensuring data security are two of the biggest challenges in the AI era, but they will not block AI progress. Instead, AI leaders will scale back, cut other IT operations or reallocate costs from other parts of the business to fund AI initiatives.

Around 53 per cent of India-based companies reported being more likely to scale back or cut other parts of IT operations to make room for AI projects. Around 71 per cent of Indian enterprises feel cyber security is the biggest challenge for managing the increasing complexity of data across cloud or multi-cloud environments. This is followed by 52 per cent of tech leaders reporting increased skepticism over cloud and 37 per cent worrying about going overbudget.

NetApp report says that security, AI and cloud operations will drive the 2024 cloud investments. As global companies, whether AI leaders or AI laggards, increase investments, they are relying on the cloud to support their goals. Increasing data security investments is a global priority, jumping 25 per cent from 33 per cent in 2023 to 58 per cent in 2024. Around 82 per cent of Indian companies reported plans to improve security within their company’s public cloud usage in 2024. This was followed by cost management and automation of processes at 66 pe cent each, and resource inventory and utilisation at 52 per cent.

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