Enhancing your business potential through data and intelligent technology

Lisa Hunt

Lisa Hunt

Former Surface Business Group Lead

Read Time, 3 min.

“Whether it’s expanding into new markets faster by using AI and video conferencing to translate multiple languages in real time, providing augmented reality shopping experiences to customers, or benefitting from equipment that tells you when it’s about to fail or needs to be replaced, digital transformation is changing our world.” 

Throughout the course of your day, you’ll interact with many AI-powered tools, making use of different sources of data, without even knowing it. Whether it’s a recommended story in your newsfeed, a suggested song, or fraud detection protecting your credit card, AI and data already work hard to make your life better. They’re present in the Microsoft tools you use every day, too; from Cortana helping you to organise your schedule, to QuickStarter and Researcher & Editor, helping you work smarter in PowerPoint and Word.

While many think of data as lifeless ones and zeros, it is in fact all around us, and can be harnessed to deliver spectacular results. Drawing information from sources such as inventories, sales figures, social media, web traffic, machinery and devices, among many others, can help paint a previously inaccessible picture of your business and its processes. You just need the tools that enable you to gather and harness that data. With the right technology, you can spot trends, find new ways to cut costs, better manage stock and your supply chain, and help your employees to make better informed decisions.

From these useful applications, all the way to major initiatives, like the partnership between Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies, using AI to decode the immune system to diagnose and treat disease: the way we harness and manipulate data is changing our world for the better.

But the innovation doesn’t end there. With Microsoft Cognitive Services, all organisations have the opportunity to transform their business with data they already have and the power of AI. Through a collection of powerful Microsoft APIs, you can infuse your apps, websites and bots with intelligent algorithms to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret your user needs through natural methods of communication. With just a few lines of code, you can enhance the productivity of your staff or deliver exciting new experiences for your customers through apps that can learn, adapt and advance over time, across platforms and devices, all with the peace of mind that comes from using platforms and solutions with best-in-class security built in.

“By combining data and AI, the business opportunities are endless, from gaining a competitive edge and achieving faster growth to satisfying customers with experiences personalised to their needs and tastes. It extends from science to business the promises of “The 4th paradigm”, already published in 2009 by Microsoft Research.”  – Bruno Schroder, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Belgium & Luxembourg

Combining the computing power of the cloud with the data you already have and extending its application through AI provides a multitude of opportunities for your business to gain a competitive edge, unlock new levels of efficiency, and surprise and delight customers through more personalised experiences. For example, imagine if a website could handle customer queries automatically, suggest products and recommend shipping options, while seamlessly updating the product inventory and informing back-office staff when new stock was required. Taking it a step further, data collected by AI on the website could even inform retail staff as to a customer’s previous purchases and products of interest, helping them to provide a more holistic experience in-store and online.

Of course, preparing and handling data and developing applications for it through algorithms requires specific skills, and the time to begin developing them is now. Staff must be assured that this new technology and approach is crucial for success and not something to be feared, which is why it’s essential to engage your workforce, hiring and upskilling where necessary, so you are able to quickly embrace a modern approach to your business’s data and see benefit from AI.

With employees inspired, your data secured and managed, and your business prepared for the future, just imagine the possibilities.

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