Microsoft AI event audience
Read Time, 2 min.

It was somewhat fitting that the first customer event hosted at One Microsoft Place following the launch of our new campus in Dublin focused on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fundamentally changing the way businesses operate.

For our own business, the growth of AI has a material impact on how we collaborate, engage customers, and transform operations – becoming even more tangible in recent years. Sometimes it manifests itself in subtle new features within Office 365, like Acronyms which can help you determine the meaning of an organisational shorthand instead of – as is the case in Microsoft –  having to dive for the 450-page company glossary. In other instances, the advancement of AI internally takes on a whole new meaning – Bots have now penetrated our working life. Our company address book is a Bot; handy when you’re looking for a needle in a 124,000-strong global employee haystack.

One major shift for our business was the move to support our financial forecasting with machine learning. Our financial department understood the frustrations of our old spreadsheet forecasting. It was expensive, error-prone, tedious, and ultimately time consuming. Internal IT worked with our senior finance leaders to build a new approach, using our own platform (there’s a great case study on it here) which could ultimately streamline, improve, and in some places automate the process. The impact was immediate on our accuracy and our predictions. We augmented traditional forecasting, rather than replacing it. And, for me, the cultural impact was fascinating and serves as a great example of people being integral to how AI is fundamentally changing the way business operates.

AI has become an essential tool to the finance team, saving them time to focus on providing insight to the business in areas that were previously unventured. Finance is now ahead of the curve and their team is positioned to provide context in a whole new way.

We had over 100 attendees last week from across major industry in Ireland and I was asked on a number of occasions “how do you start the journey into AI”. My response was always the same – ask your teams. Engage them in the process, hack your ideas, venture into new and innovative territory and don’t be afraid to fail from time to time. Our finance and IT team trialled a number of solutions before we got our methods right but together they understood the problem, led the innovation, and drove the change.

With AI, we have more power at our fingertips than entire generations that came before us. What will you do with it?

Paul Shanahan

Intelligent Cloud Business Group Lead

Try Azure Cosmos DB for free

Take your database worldwide in one click

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

  • Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education

    Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education

    Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education All teachers in the region now being equipped with Surface Pro laptops Transforming how education is provided in Northern Ireland over the next decade is a crucial goal for the region’s Education Authority.  To meet digital skills needs over that period and beyond, the authority is implementing a versatile […]

  • Unlock the potential of your students with Microsoft’s new Learning Accelerators

    Unlock the potential of your students with Microsoft’s new Learning Accelerators

    Personalized learning is a goal that educators everywhere have been trying to achieve for years. But the pandemic shone a light on the complexity of that challenge for teachers, who face a more diverse set of student needs than ever before.  Because delivering a truly personalized learning experience for every student has traditionally required lots […]

Finance & Insurance

Government

  • Two people inside using Surface Go in office

    How technology is transforming the work of governments

    Governments have the ultimate responsibility to their citizens. People depend on the services they provide like no other institution. Whether in healthcare, education, business, roads, railways, water – it’s essential that government institutions are always at the forefront of social and digital trends. Cloud-powered technologies are playing a critical role in helping government agencies to […]

Healthcare

Manufacturing

Retail

  • A man standing in front of a truck

    Why leading Irish retailer Musgrave is ready for anything with cloud technology

    “When assessing the potential effects of major digital transformation projects on our business, we always think about three key constituents: colleagues, retailers, and consumers.” So says Paul Baguley, IT PMO for Musgrave Retail – Ireland’s leading food retail, wholesale and food service company. Together with its retail partners, who operate under leading brands including SuperValu […]

  • Store staff llooking and pointing at screen

    Helping store staff rise to the challenge of creating world-class experiences

    Consumers have more information and choice than ever. That’s why shopping experiences provide an opportunity to differentiate and delight customers – rather than competing on cost alone. The digital shopping revolution has given us access to companies and information that was unimaginable two decades ago – and it has raised our expectations of bricks-and-mortar retailers […]

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

Digital Transformation

  • Microsoft data Center

    Why data is key to successful digital transformation

    Why data is key to successful digital transformation. The business-focused session at our upcoming Microsoft event – ‘Winning Trust – Enabling Transformation’ – will look at how organisations need to become data-driven to succeed New technology has given us the ability to access and interpret data in new ways. The trick is to identify strategic […]

Press

  • Image of a man and woman smiling

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc It’s an exciting time to be working in the technology sector in Northern Ireland. More than ever before we’re seeing increased numbers of entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, and indeed multinationals setting up in the North. Working together and learning from each other encourages a strong technology ecosystem and ultimately yields […]

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]