As people continue to navigate the world of cloud computing and the new offerings that AI can present, 2024 is on the brink of launching new opportunities for those willing to chart this opportunistic territory.

Naseem Ahmed, cloud mobilisation practice lead, and Jonathan Sidney, cloud platform lead at Synthesis Technology, believe that this is the year where cloud and generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) are going to shine.

GenAI into the Cloud

2024 is the year that people are going to stop questioning the use of GenAI, and rather re-evaluate where the value lies and where it fits into a broader strategy, explains Jonathan.

That is where the cloud is going to play a huge role this year as businesses look for ways to implement GenAI and how to use it in the cloud to make it more effective. Businesses need to focus on how they can bring GenAI and cloud to operate together as opposed to operating as separate, disparate technologies. Understanding how powerful each technology is will unlock potential benefits when they are combined.

Over the last year, developers have been focusing on individual AI tools, but this is the year where people will start to decide on how to better pursue this to expand its value.

Some of the questions to ask include:

* What is the data strategy?

* How to get data into the cloud?

* How to build these models?

* How are our developers making use of the results?

AI and GenAI are going to push more collaboration between different kinds of areas. Sometimes the market gets ahead of itself and creates silos by focusing on one buzzword, for example, GenAI.

Nothing exists in isolation and as an industry, it needs to get better as a whole. Software engineering, cloud, and AI are all part of the same thing and are not siloed therefore collaboration is essential. This will be the overarching trend for 2024.

“How do we collaborate better between all these disparate parts and communicate better? And how do we focus on value propositions as opposed to specific technical tasks and deliverables in our domains? That is where the real interest lies. How do we get these disparate areas to form that golden nugget that adds real value to a business?” explain Ahmed and Sidney.

Hybrid versus Multi-cloud Approach

Ahmed believes that Gen AI is what is going to be driving the cloud this year, along with big data analytics. The offering of a single cloud solution to meet all needs is coming to an end, giving way to a more tailored approach.

This is going to become the new normal for all organisations no matter their size, offering unparalleled flexibility. This move to a multi-cloud solution also brings new challenges for the IT department. They must find ways to effectively streamline the complexities that may arise as opposed to simply covering them up.

GenAI will be able to assist in this approach, but the IT department’s human element is still so important in final decision making which, now, GenAI is still lacking.

SMMEs’ Tackling Cloud

As of recent, it’s been predominately large enterprises moving into the cloud, explains Sidney. There have always been start-ups that have wanted to take on the cloud, but in terms of mass adoption of cloud, it’s mostly been big enterprises, banks, and financial houses. Now, more and more small to medium enterprises are going to start looking to cloud in a very serious way.

This is due to its cost-effectiveness and scalability and without the complexity of managing a server infrastructure, cloud architectures will play an increasingly pivotal role. As cloud technologies have become more simplified and accessible to all organisations to use, the next step will be Gen AI integration which means people will need to start talking about it.

Increase Demand for Cloud Security and Resilience

Naseem explains that as more and more companies enter the cloud realm the demand for effective security becomes even more necessary. All the benefits that companies will gain by having their data placed in the cloud will be lost if their security is compromised.

Specialised cloud security and preventative measures will have to be created to safeguard against breaches and protect organisations’ vulnerabilities.

Cloud Skills Shortage

This too will lead to an increase in cloud technology skills which unfortunately South Africa is in a shortage. The demand for skills in the area is not unattainable, but it may take a few years to catch up to the level of overseas, first-world tech countries.

This is where the focus and drive need to be in the upcoming years to ensure that we bridge the skills gap and can keep up with the new level of technology that is currently available to clients and that will develop more in the years to come.