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Microsoft Industry Blogs - United Kingdom

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AI technology is changing the way the world does business. In the next five years, business executives across the globe expect AI to have a positive impact on growth, productivity, and job creation in their country and industry. According to Gartner, “Any organisation in any industry, especially those with very large amounts of data, can use AI for business value.” (Gartner, 2018)

But there is a challenge as well. Companies are still struggling to translate this enormous potential into practical advantages. One of the key obstacles is to gather the right requirements for turning all these possibilities into a comprehensive strategy.

Microsoft’s vision for the enterprise is to enable every company to transform by bringing AI to every application, every business process, and every employee. This strategy can help enterprises achieve much more than they ever thought possible.

 

Every application

One of the clearest use cases of AI is developing applications with intelligent capabilities. The use of AI is rapidly increasing, and by 2024 AI-enabled user interfaces and process automation are expected to replace one-third of today’s screen-based apps (IDC, 2019). This offers a tremendous opportunity to increase the functionality of business applications and turn them into tools for more employee productivity and more effective customer engagement. However, most application developers do not yet have the experience to create these types of software.

Developers can learn about integrating AI into every application by taking advantage of tools and resources that are available today. These tools can be used to build the next generation of smart applications in the intelligence cloud, on-premises, and on the intelligent edge:

  • To learn how to build intelligent apps, data scientists and developers can refer to the Azure AI platform site to get started.
  • Azure offers a set of prebuilt services (Cognitive Services) that can help infuse AI into applications to make them more intelligent and engaging.
  • For more advanced requirements, custom models can be created using Azure Machine Learning Studio. You can use this fully managed cloud service to easily prepare data and build and train custom models.
  • There are Data Science VMs available that can save developers time by providing ready-to-use images that they can easily provision in Azure.
  • Chatbots and virtual agents provide solutions that meet customer demands for intuitive, personalised, accessible touchpoints across all channels. They also can support employees by helping them connect to resources more quickly.

 

Every business process

The internet has completely changed the way we do business today, increasing productivity and output significantly. AI will have a similar impact by enabling organisations to make better informed decisions. It will be easy to derive insights from data, helping organisations expand customers engagement, optimise operations and improve offerings. It will also make work more efficient and save employees time, so they can focus on higher priorities.

There is a need across industries for improved decision making. Microsoft is working on solutions that provide that accelerate business transformation with enterprise-ready, AI-infused experiences. These experiences are built into products and services that are used by organisations every day:

  • To give organisations more powerful experiences, AI layers are included in Dynamics 365 Enterprises can extend these capabilities further and connect them to other Microsoft services such as Azure, Office, Skype, or even mixed reality.
  • Financial services can benefit from AI by infusing it in risk analytics and fraud prevention. Machine learning can make more accurate risk, fraud, and customer models to spot hidden risks and decrease operating costs (PWC, 2018).
  • AI can offer predictive maintenance for the manufacturing industry by providing maintenance technicians with estimates of the life of machines and their components (Capgemini, 2017).
  • Microsoft is focussing heavily on using AI in the healthcare industry. There are several challenges for health organisations as they try to improve patient experiences and outcomes, including clinician shortages, time and cost pressures, and increased patient needs.

 

Every employee

AI has the capability to empower all people—not just technical workers—to achieve more. “In 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9T in business value and recover 6.2B hours of worker productivity” (Gartner, 2018). To realise the full potential of AI for employees, it’s crucial to enable them to become citizen data scientists. Only then will the whole organisation be able to make better decisions, gain new insights, and perform complex analysis using AI. To make it possible for all employees to explore and derive new insights, there are three major requirements:

  • Data needs to be turned into knowledge: AI is only as powerful as the data it’s built on. Organisations have massive amounts of data, which is mostly unstructured and resides in siloed systems. When structured and unstructured data is organised into a single and searchable knowledge base enriched with other relevant data, organisations can use deep learning capabilities to turn the data into knowledge.
  • Searchable knowledge needs to be enriched for employee experiences: Once the knowledge base is created, organisations can build AI experiences. They can infuse AI into their existing business applications and productivity or build new AI applications on top of it.
  • Democratised AI must drive innovation: To enable employees to become citizen data scientists, there should be easy ways to run AI models on top of the enterprise knowledge. Microsoft takes advantage of AI in developing the products and services that are used by employees every day, like Dynamics, Microsoft 365 (which includes Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security and Windows 10), Office, and Bing.

AI is the defining technology of our time and will have a great impact on every business and industry. However, each organisation is unique and will have its own path to transformation. If your organisation is ready for AI, you can use the AI ready assessment tool to take the first steps.