A Google Survey: The Cloud Has Headroom

June 17, 2021

Google sponsored a study. You can read it here. There’s a summary of the report in “Manufacturers Allocate One Third of Overall IT Spend to AI, Survey Shows.”

First, the methodology is presented on the final page of the report. Here’s a snippet:

The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Google Cloud, from October 15 to November 4, 2020, among 1,154 senior manufacturing executives in France (n=150), Germany (n=200), Italy (n=154), Japan (n=150), South Korea (n=150), the UK (n=150), and the U.S. (n=200) who are employed full-time at a company with more than 500 employees, and who work in the manufacturing industry with a title of director level or higher. The data in each country was weighted by number of employees to bring them into line with actual company size proportions in the population. A global post-weight was applied to ensure equal weight of each country in the global total.

Google apparently wants to make data a singular noun. That’s Googley. Also, there are two references to weighting; however, there are no data for how the weighting factors were calculated nor why the weighting factors were need for what boils down to a set of countries representing the developed world. I did not spot any information about the actual selection process; for example, mailing out a request to a larger set and then taking those who self select is a practice I have encountered in the past. Was that the method in use here? How much back and forth was there between the Harris unit and the Google managers prior to the crafting of the final report? Does this happen? Sure, those who pay want a flash report and then want to “talk about” the data. Is it possible weighting factors were used to make the numbers flow? I don’t know. The study was conducted in the depths of the Covid crisis. Was that a factor? Were those in the sample producing revenue from their AI infused investments? Sorry, no data available.

What were the findings?

Surprise, surprise. Artificial intelligence is a hot button in the manufacturing sector. Those who are into smart software are spending a hefty chunk of their “spend” budget for it. If that AI is delivered from the cloud, then bingo, the headroom for growth is darned good.

The bad news is that two thirds of those in the sample are into AI already. The big tech sharks will be swarming to upsell those early adopters and compete ferociously for the remaining one third who have yet to get the message that AI is a big deal.

Guess what countries are leaders in AI. If you said China, wrong. Go for Italy and Germany. The US was in the middle of the pack. The laggards were Japan and Korea. And China? Hey, sorry, I did not see those data in the report. My bad.

Interesting stuff in these sponsored research projects with unexplained weightings which line up with what the Google says it is doing really well.

Stephen E Arnold, June 17, 2021

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