Microsoft’s new AI Business School teaches execs how to lead AI initiatives, for free

“Microsoft on Monday launched a free, online AI Business School to help business leaders navigate creating an AI strategy.

Courses include:

  • “Introduction to AI technology for business leaders,”
  • “Define an AI strategy to create business value,”
  • “Discover ways to foster an AI-ready culture in your business,”
  • “Identify guiding principles for responsible AI in your business.”

“This school is a deep dive into how you develop a strategy and identify blockers before they happen in the implementation of AI in your organization,” Mitra Azizirad, corporate vice president for AI marketing at Microsoft, wrote in the post.

The AI Business School is non-technical, and designed to help executives lead their organizations through AI transformations, according to the post.”

How artificial intelligence can radically transform your business

“‘Over 40 per cent of businesses believe that the model they’re using today will cease to exist in five years,’says Clare Barclay, chief operating officer of Microsoft UK. “All sorts of technology, AI included, is changing the shape of the business landscape.”

Data from Microsoft’s Maximising the AI Opportunity report shows that early adopters of enterprise AI have already seen a five per cent improvement in productivity, performance and business outcomes compared to those that have yet to explore this exciting new field.

More than half – 51 per cent – of UK organisations surveyed for the report said they had no AI strategy in place. If that describes your firm, now is the ideal time to start preparing one.

67 per cent of leaders and 59 per cent of employees say they’re open to experimenting with AI, but almost everyone involved is likely to need some training and development to equip them for your organisation’s AI future.

Microsoft UK COO Clare Barclay says there are three simple steps that business leaders can take to guide their organisations along the right path towards the AI future:

  1. “Be curious. Sitting there and being afraid of what might change but doing nothing is not a path I would recommend. AI can be a big enabler for business, but it’s going to take leadership to start by being curious to understand more about it.”
    “Pick some small areas where you think you could gain incremental improvements in your business and don’t be afraid to try things.”
  1. ‘Really think about your culture, people and skills. If you don’t involve your people and organisation, then you’re going to create fear, uncertainty and doubt. This is an opportunity to involve your whole organisation and to think about how your business is going to change for the future.'”

Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots would be key areas of focus for retailers

Mobile salesdrive unexpected UK e-commerce growth

“The index report predicted that UK e-commerce sales would grow 14% in 2017. Capgemini’s Unadkat said that artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots would be key areas of focus for retailers in the coming year. Tools like AI voice assistants and chatbots in mobile apps and mobile messaging platforms could help eliminate the screen size pain point by introducing more voice capabilities that minimize the need to manually type in product names, payment credentials, and shipping information. That will make these tools an important part of retailers’ mobile strategies going forward.”