The infrastructure required to run artificial intelligence algorithms and train deep neural networks is so dauntingly complex, that it’s hampering enterprise AI deployments, experts say.

SwissCognitive“55% of firms have not yet achieved any tangible business outcomes from AI, and 43% say it’s too soon to tell,” says Forrester Research about the challenges of transitioning from AI excitement to tangible, scalable AI success. “The wrinkle? AI is not a plug-and-play proposition,” the analyst group says. “Unless firms plan, deploy, and govern it correctly, new AI tech will provide meager benefits at best or, at worst, result in unexpected and undesired outcomes.”

Vendors are responding with prepackaged products and services aimed at accelerating adoption of enterprise AI. For example, Pure Storage recently teamed with Nvidia to release an integrated software and hardware bundle that’s tuned for AI workloads and data requirements. The goal is to help enterprises deploy a simplified infrastructure.

Enterprises stand ready to move into AI, according to industry watchers. Analysts predict increased adoption of data-driven applications across all verticals as companies look to retool business processes to be more efficient and deliver more personalized service to customers. AI technologies will be a top-five investment priority for more than 30% of CIOs by 2020, predicts Gartner.

Pure Storage, Nvidia, Arista AI bundle

“One of their biggest challenges is finding that onramp to AI and advanced analytics. Infrastructure is a huge problem,” says Matt Burr, general manager at Pure Storage for FlashBlade, the company’s storage platform. “AIRI solves that problem for them.”

 AIRI, which stands for AI-ready infrastructure, combines FlashBlade, Nvidia DGX-1 supercomputers powered by Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs, and Arista 100GbE switches for connectivity. AIRI is supported by the Nvidia GPU Cloud deep-learning stack and Pure Storage AIRI Scaling Toolkit. The combination delivers a fourfold improvement in data-scientist productivity, Pure Storage and Nvidia claim.

One AIRI customer, Call-center outsourcing provider Global Response., is working to retool its existing business processes using AI. Its plans include developing a call-center system that enables real-time transcription and analysis of customer support calls to increase speed and quality of service. The company wanted a simple foundation that would allow it to deploy AI at scale, and it chose AIRI.

Stephen Shooster, co-CEO of the call-center provider, says the integrated software and hardware bundle is enabling teams to get up and running in hours instead of weeks or months.

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“We’ve reached an inflection point where integration of AI throughout our organization is critical to the ongoing success of our business,” Shooster said in a statement. “While we wanted to move quickly, infrastructure for AI was slowing us down because it is very complex to deploy.” With AIRI, “all of the question marks and complexities associated with AI are solved.” […]