Linda Yao, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Strategy at Lenovo Solutions & Services Group, reflects on the trajectory of Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption, identifying the ebb and flow of its evolution.

Acknowledging the prevailing enthusiasm around Generative AI, Yao suggests that amidst the hype, the prowess of Classical AI remains underrated. The underappreciated capabilities of Classical AI, she posits, are yet to be fully unleashed, highlighting its enduring power as a formidable technological tool.

Practicality and Personalisation in AI: The Emerging Trends

Yao predicts a shift towards a more practical approach to AI in 2024, where businesses will tangibly harness its value, be it in Generative AI or Classical AI. Anticipating a departure from the speculative fervour seen previously with trends like the metaverse and blockchain, she foresees AI’s practical applications taking centre stage.

The advent of AI at the edge is an area of excitement for Yao and Lenovo. This innovation allows data to be utilised where needed, rendering AI deployment more accessible and personalised. With advancements such as AI-powered PCs compressing AI processes, companies no longer require GPU racks for deploying AI applications. This evolution in technology promises a heightened level of personalisation and accessibility, enabling organisations to craft hyper-personalised experiences based on user preferences and historical data.

IT Spend: Shifting Focus towards Business Outcomes

In response to a dynamic economic and competitive landscape, Yao predicts a shift in IT spending dynamics. Organisations, she suggests, will demand enhanced flexibility in investments, seeking scalability aligned with value returns and predictable cash flow outcomes. This entails leveraging technology to stabilise revenue growth or achieve expense savings, ensuring IT investments are more intrinsically linked to business outcomes, be it revenue growth, expense reduction, customer experience enhancement, sustainability goals, or other critical metrics.

“As a result, IT spending on legacy infrastructure will shift to spending on next generation technology and grow rapidly in the next five to ten years as customers modernise or revamp their IT stack end to end,” Yao says. “This includes moving from legacy IT systems to hybrid cloud, adopting more virtualised and interconnected IT environments, and eschewing traditional software licenses for highly personalised tech on demand.”

The Rise of Tech-Fluent Executives and the CIO’s Ascent

Yao observes a shift in the executive landscape, with technology taking precedence in business strategies. Proposing a probable trend, she envisions more Chief Information Officers (CIOs) ascending to the CEO role or playing pivotal roles in steering companies into a new era.

She anticipates a widespread expectation for all executive members to possess digital acumen and fluency in tech discussions, transcending traditional silos between tech and non-tech functions within organisations. This cross-functional integration is expected to foster closer collaboration between departments, particularly with the IT teams, shaping a tech-immersed corporate culture.

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