Unlocking AI for enterprises with HUAWEI CLOUD Stack

HUAWEI CLOUD Stack can help enteprises master & deploy AI quickly & at low cost.

By Xu Shangfeng, Technology KOL

In 321 BC, the Samnites defeated a powerful Roman army at the Caudine Forks, a narrow canyon surrounded by mountains. To humiliate the defeated, the Samnites forced the Roman prisoners of war to pass under a yoke, considered the greatest form of humiliation at the time. Later, "Caudine Forks" came to be synonymous with a "canyon of shame" and used as a metaphor for a disastrous event. The term grew to mean when a company, organization, or individual encounters great difficulties or challenges. Over time, the Caudine Forks theory continued to evolve and Karl Marx elevated it to a philosophical problem and scientific methodology. Today, the theory still offers significant practical guidance.

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Companies also face "canyons", or chasms, at important stages. Those that cannot cross them will be trapped and lose market opportunities. Businesses stand at the brink of the intelligent age, facing a gathering surge of new technologies and new applications. To cross this chasm, they need to eliminate gaps and turn their passive position into an active one. But to complete such a formidable task, choosing the right cloud service partner is critical.

At the two-day China Info100 2020 summit in August 2020, Huawei Senior Vice President and Vice President of Huawei Cloud & AI BG, Zhang Shunmao, spoke on “six ecosystem chasms” facing enterprises and how HUAWEI CLOUD Stack can help add intelligence to the enterprise armory.

Six chasms 

In his book Crossing the Chasm, best-selling author Geoffrey Moore sets out how businesses and products will lose market opportunities and fail if they cannot cross the lifecycle chasm. But by crossing the chasm, an enterprise (product) opens an upward channel that allows it to occupy a dominant market position.

Today, both high-tech and traditional firms need to confront various chasms that lie ahead of them. New technologies, such as cloud, AI, 5G, and IoT, and applications are rapidly iterating and traditional IT architecture can no longer keep up. Moreover, many businesses worry that new information architecture will become outdated as soon as they deploy it.

We need to understand the current situation of intelligent enterprise transformation – in other words, what "chasms" enterprises face. According to Zhang, "As companies move towards intelligence, they will encounter chasms in six areas: applications, data, capabilities, talent, technology, and the industry ecosystem."

The application chasm: Companies accumulate many legacy IT assets that cannot be discarded when building new information architecture, because it’s impractical to tear down and reconstruct everything. Therefore, how old and new systems can be integrated and coexist is a difficult question for intelligent enterprise transformation.

The data chasm: Enterprise users suffer from severe issues with data siloization, which makes it difficult to share, analyze, and use data, or tap into its potential.

The capability chasm: As enterprise application systems become increasingly numerous and complex, businesses face bottlenecks in their O&M capabilities and O&M engineers often struggle to cope.

The talent chasm: The large-scale application of new technologies such as cloud, AI, and 5G, requires skilled workers, but most firms lack talent, limiting their ability to maximize the value of these new technologies.

The technology chasm: Data is a core asset for enterprises and the importance of data security is higher than ever. Many enterprises don't know which technology to use to ensure data security.

The ecosystem chasm: For industry leaders, it isn’t enough to rely on their own strengths alone. They must also deal with constructing and enabling industry ecosystems. When facing an industry ecosystem chasm, using digital technology to support industry ecosystem development is vital.

Taken together, crossing these six chasms represents a complex and systematic project that imposes extremely high demands on a cloud service partner. The cloud service provider needs comprehensive capabilities itself – it must be an all-rounder, not just an expert in a single area.

Based on over 30 years of technical expertise and industry experience and technical, HUAWEI CLOUD has built full-stack, all-scenario capabilities that can help users cross the six chasms. Zhang believes that, "HUAWEI CLOUD Stack is the best path for enterprise users to cross the ecosystem chasm and go intelligent. It acts as a bridge connecting enterprises today with the intelligent future."

Cloud + AI: A two-pronged approach

China Life is a large state-owned financial and insurance company, with revenues of more than 900 billion yuan in 2019. To ride the digital wave, it partnered with HUAWEI CLOUD to build the China Life One Cloud with HUAWEI CLOUD Stack, integrating the management, resources, and computing power of the entire group, greatly boosting efficiency. The China Life Hybrid Cloud financial cloud platform provides the group with unified cloud services and ecosystem, cutting IT expenditure by over 30%. And thanks to Huawei's public cloud EI, China Life's claims service has been able to boost efficiency and cut costs in areas like processing medical bills. It processes tens of millions of medical bills every year and it usually takes three minutes to enter a bill into the system. With Huawei's AI technology, it now takes less than 10 seconds.

Cloud and AI are essential for enterprise intelligent transformation. Huawei Global Industry Vision (GIV) predicts that by 2025, all companies will be using cloud technology. It also forecasts that the penetration of AI will accelerate, with 97% of businesses using it in production and operations management by that year.

As Zhang sees it, "In the digital age, the application of cloud and AI will directly determine enterprises' capacity to innovate and their competitiveness." Cloud and AI are two formidable tools for intelligent enterprise upgrades. Cloud is the cornerstone of innovation and a means to improving efficiency for companies, while AI is their core productivity and innovation engine. Cloud and AI each complement the other.

Connectivity: HUAWEI CLOUD Stack has dual-core IT architecture, which adapts to legacy IT architecture and builds on what it inherits. The HUAWEI CLOUD ROMA platform on the HUAWEI CLOUD Stack has multiple connectivity capabilities. It connect: 

  • New and old applications and data, breaking down data silos
  • On-cloud and off-cloud systems, removing barriers between enterprise systems
  • IT and OT, connecting the digital and physical worlds
  • Enterprises and partners, breaking down barriers between ecosystems. 

O&M: When carrying out intelligent transformation, businesses encounter three major problems: High O&M complexity, high O&M risks, and high labor costs. With HUAWEI CLOUD Stack, companies receive the support of Huawei frontline teams and can outsource O&M work to HUAWEI CLOUD.

Data security compliance: Core data is stored locally while innovation services are on cloud. This ensures that core data is not lost or stolen while enabling service innovation. HUAWEI CLOUD Stack supports local storage of user core data, ensuring the security and compliance of enterprise core data.

Shared open ecosystem: HUAWEI CLOUD Stack and HUAWEI CLOUD's application ecosystem are deeply integrated. Enterprises can acquire many industry applications with a click of the mouse to support service innovation and create industry-oriented dedicated application markets. For example, using the extensive range of ecosystem applications in HUAWEI CLOUD's Marketplace, China Life built a cloud application market for the insurance industry to empower businesses in the ecosystem chain.

HUAWEI CLOUD proposes making AI more inclusive by allowing companies to master AI capabilities quickly, easily, and at low cost. 

Advanced AI tools clears roadblocks 

Companies today still face obstacles when adopting AI technology. Huawei has discovered that the main issues are insufficient AI talent, high entry requirements, inability to use the technologies, and difficult deployment. The lack of AI talent is especially critical. Therefore, simplifying AI is very important.

HUAWEI CLOUD provides powerful AI tools that can be used to build leading AI ecosystems. HUAWEI CLOUD's one-stop development platform, ModelArts, supports automatic learning to lower the barriers to entry for developers, so that they can easily complete development work even without AI development experience. With ModelArts, HUAWEI CLOUD has built an AI talent ecosystem and made AI more inclusive.

In March 2020, HUAWEI CLOUD launched ModelArts Pro. This enterprise-class application development kit for AI comes integrated with industry algorithms, empowering industry AI application developers and boosts AI development efficiency and deployment results. It also integrates the experience and know-how of industry experts and is very easy to operate.

In certain industries, highly experienced experts are indispensable but scarce resources cannot be replicated. HUAWEI CLOUD can universalize the experience of industry experts using AI. ModelArts Pro builds up key capabilities such as algorithms, data, and models, which can help companies achieve service innovation.

For oil surveys, operational experience is crucial and key considerations such as the location and drill depth of oil wells depend on specialist expertise. PetroChina has used HUAWEI CLOUD ModelArts Pro to quickly build a professional oil well logging model that combines the industry knowledge, experience, and survey data of highly experienced experts, so that their knowledge and experience can be copied and passed on. Using the model, general workers can accurately and quickly complete work that could previously only be done by these experts.

Developers often complained about the low efficiency of AI development. This is why Huawei has integrated a wealth of operator libraries and model algorithms in its AI computing framework. MindSpore, which can help AI engineers efficiently develop high-performance AI applications. MindSpore natively adapts to scenarios and offers easier development, reducing the time and entry requirements for model development.

A McKinsey report estimates that AI may contribute an additional US$13 trillion in GDP by 2030. And PwC predicts that by 2030, the global AI market will exceed US$16 trillion. But without strong computing power, the development of AI lacks a driving force.

Huawei has solved the problem of insufficient computing power for enterprises and AI researchers. Huawei's AI cluster, Atlas 900, provides powerful computing power and efficient operator development capabilities. It’s currently the world's fastest AI training cluster. With Atlas 900, AI experts can innovate AI technology and conduct scientific research more flexibly and quickly. Leveraging the Da Vinci architecture and all-scenario AI computing framework, Huawei's Atlas 900 AI cluster offers device-edge-cloud collaboration. It is accelerating intelligent transformation in all industries and is used in a wide range of sectors including transportation, energy, and finance.

When facing uncertainties in the future, companies will only be able to turn crises into opportunities if they embrace change and arm themselves with digital technology. HUAWEI CLOUD Stack is the best partner for enterprise intelligent upgrade. It provides an optimal path for transformation, which can help customers cross the ecosystem chasm and stand at the forefront of the new digital era.