On Tuesday, IBM announced that its Watson artificial intelligence (AI) platform is now portable across any cloud, allowing businesses to avoid vendor lock-in and more easily deploy AI wherever their data resides.

“Businesses have largely been limited to experimenting with AI in siloes due to the limitations caused by cloud provider lock-in of their data,” Rob Thomas, general manager of IBM Data and AI, said in a press release. “With most large organizations storing data across hybrid cloud environments, they need the freedom and choice to apply AI to their data wherever it is stored. By breaking open that siloed infrastructure we can help businesses accelerate their transformation through AI.”

SEE: Cloud migration decision tool (Tech Pro Research)

IBM Watson services, including Watson Assistant and Watson OpenScale, will be able to run on any cloud, according to the release. With an integration with IBM Cloud Private for Data (ICP for Data), Watson and Watson OpenScale can now be run in any environment, including any private, public, or hybrid multicloud, or on premises. This means businesses will be able to add AI capabilities into their apps across any location, removing one of the major barriers to scaling the technology.

The change will also help businesses deploy AI software that automates business processes to improve performance and efficiency, the release noted.

While 83% of organizations agree that driving AI across the enterprise is a strategic opportunity, 81% said they still do not understand what data is required for AI, or how to access it, according to an MIT Sloan report cited in the release. Though the AI and machine learning market is growing rapidly, two-thirds of tech leaders said they do not yet have plans to implement the technology, according to a TechRepublic CIO Jury poll.

IBM also announced a forthcoming IBM Business Automation Intelligence with Watson, which will allow business leaders to apply AI directly to applications to automate both mundane and complex work tasks, the release noted. The software will also measure the level of impact and effectiveness of AI on business goals. The product is expected to be available later in 2019.

A series of new Watson microservices built for ICP for Data will be based on open source technologies that can be easily scalable across cloud environments, the release noted. These new microservices are based on open-source Kubernetes technology, and can be run on any IBM cloud, or any public, hybrid, or multi-cloud environment.

The new Watson services will join Watson Studio and Watson Machine Learning on ICP for Data. IBM will bring new Watson services to ICP for Data, including Watson Knowledge Studio and Watson Natural Language Understanding.

IBM Watson Machine Learning is also being extended with a new Accelerator, enabling high performance GPU clustering on Power Systems and X86 systems, and allowing users to accelerate IT performance by 10x, according to the release.

To learn more about IBM Watson, check out this TechRepublic cheat sheet.