Seizing the AI opportunity today


Seizing the AI opportunity today

By Joe Macri, VP of Commercial Partner, Microsoft UK

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here. It is swiftly becoming a part of our everyday lives - through everything from email spam filters to voice assistant technologies - but there is still much uncertainty within the enterprise community regarding how that power can be harnessed to improve business outcomes.

That’s why today at Future Decoded, we are launching our 2018 report ‘Maximising the AI Opportunity – How to harness AI’s potential effectively and ethically’. With input from more than 1,000 business leaders and 4,000 employees, as well as those already embracing AI within their own organisations, it is an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities presented for both UK businesses and the nation as a whole.

The report reveals that we are at a pivotal moment in AI adoption: 41% of leaders believe their business model will cease to exist in five years’ time, with technology - and AI specifically - driving this, and yet 51% do not currently have an AI strategy in place.

This is perhaps not surprising. With AI offering so much potential, many are reluctant to commit to a strategy, selecting which areas to focus on and which technologies to adopt. And yet for those that have a strategy in place, the benefits are already being felt; higher productivity and performance, leading to better business outcomes, is ultimately boosting bottom lines by a significant 5%. Here, our partners will have a key role to play in helping customers unlock these gains, guiding on where – and how to start – when it comes to AI.

Partners will also be a trusted ally for customers when it comes to navigating the challenges relating to AI adoption. Technologies such as big data, advanced algorithms and scalable cloud solutions are now readily available, but understandably, clarity is still needed by many regarding how to best use these in specific business cases. If customers can get it right, though, the potential is enormous; employees can be relieved of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, customers can be better understood, and both products and processes can be optimised to serve everyone more effectively. The guiding principle should be to augment existing jobs, rather than eliminate them. And those organisations that are already taking a principled approach to AI, establishing underlying ethics and values, are currently outperforming those that aren’t by 9%.

This is why, at this relatively early stage of digital transformation, we believe it is crucial to set out what an ethical AI strategy looks like, ensuring that it benefits employees, customers and society at large. We invite you to sign our Partner Pledge, committing to diversity, workforce upskilling and the responsible and ethical use of AI in your business, to help the UK thrive in this exciting new future.

As valued Microsoft partners and customers, we are committed to ensuring that you can make the most of the opportunities available, which is why we’d like to invite you to join our first monthly AI Community Call on the 14th November. On it, we will be discussing AI opportunities and the technologies available to drive your business forward, giving you the tools you need to develop an AI strategy for your business.

Join us and take the very first step in this exciting AI journey.

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