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Business Transformation

Confident leadership in the age of AI

Monday, June 24, 2019

Microsoft’s AI Business School helps business leaders successfully apply AI to solve business challenges.

Numerous studies have examined the impact of AI on industries and economies, but few have focused on the relationship between AI and leadership. Microsoft was looking to understand how leaders view AI and the impact it has on their roles, so they did their own study.

Susan Etlinger, AI analyst with the Altimeter Group, and Heike Burch, Professor of Leadership at the University of St. Gallen surveyed leaders across seven European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, UK) and the USA. The leaders were asked how they personally plan to use AI, and about their thoughts on how successful leadership changes as businesses use more AI.

High-growth companies are more AI-active

One of the key findings of the survey is that high-growth companies are twice as likely to actively use AI compared to lower growth companies, and that that they have bigger plans in a much shorter time frame. Of the double-digit growth companies surveyed, 94% intend to use AI for decision making within the next three years, and more than half plan to do so over the next 12 months. By comparison, the majority of lower-growth companies are only looking to invest in decision-making AI in the next three to five years.

“This part of the research is striking,” says Susan Etlinger. “Double-digit growth companies are further along in their AI deployments, but also see greater urgency in using more AI. They are often really focused on the coming year. What this says to me is that the more you know, the higher your sense of urgency is.”

How high is your sense of AI urgency?

Microsoft has launched an AI Business School for business leaders who are keen to get their AI deployments off the ground and want to lead with confidence in the age of AI. A free online masterclass series, AI Business School is a deep dive into how to develop a strategy and identify blockers before they happen in your AI implementation. It covers four main topics:

  • Defining an AI strategy

  • Enabling an AI-ready culture

  • Responsible AI in business

  • AI technology for business leaders

“There is a gap between what people want to do and the reality of what is going on in their organizations today, and the reality of whether their organization is ready,” said Mitra Azizirad, corporate vice president for AI marketing at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. “Developing a strategy for AI extends beyond business issues. It goes all the way to the leadership, behaviours and capabilities required to instil an AI-ready culture in your organization.”

Find out more about Microsoft’s AI Business School and how to kick-start your AI strategy.

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