In the latest edition of Harvard Business Review, the leaders of McKinsey’s technology practice get down to the tricky but serious business of “separating real innovation from hot air.” That’s the difference between a big win and a costly flop. Klemens Hjartar, a senior McKinsey partner who co-chairs the tech practice globally, believes game-changers such as AI, 5G and cloud are hitting mass adoption tipping points. At the risk of missing the boat, he writes, corporate boards need to prioritize budgets for upgrading IT. “These aren’t the sexiest investments, but automating processes, investing in data foundations, cleaning up tech debt, and continually renewing the IT architecture are needed for the business to have a chance of taking full advantage of the new technologies coming online,” he writes. William Forrest, global lead for McKinsey’s cloud practice, sees this as a ripe time to make bold bets. “Right now,” he writes, “companies have a can’t-miss opportunity to ramp up their cloud ambitions: as tech companies limit head-count and eliminate programs, top talent — not just the bottom 20% performers —are coming on the job market, While many of them are being snapped up quickly, companies should think through how to move quickly when cloud talent becomes available so they can take a big step forward in their cloud capabilities.” Vinyakm HV, who leads McKinsey’s digital team in Asia, focuses on AI decentralization – the expansion of advanced AI technologies once available only to players with massive data sets. “The implications are enormous,” he writes, “from improving search to increasing developer productivity.” Read more at HBR.