New AI Business School addresses key challenges to AI adoption

The most successful companies across industries have mastered the challenges of navigating today’s fast-changing business environment and staying relevant. New technological innovations are introduced every day, consumer behavior is evolving, and new business models are emerging. One such innovation is Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the increased computing capability and technology innovation, AI is poised to become the “electricity” of our age.

A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that by 2030, AI could boost global GDP by up to 14% and contribute almost $16 trillion USD to the global economy. AI is transforming industries across a wide spectrum, from disruptive use-cases such as autonomous driving to evolving customer service with voice activated virtual personal assistants.

At Microsoft, we’re truly excited about the possibility of AI augmenting and amplifying human ingenuity to create great breakthroughs and advances.

To help address the challenge organizations face around a lack of AI skills, we launched  AI Business School, a free online program that offers AI training courses for business leaders designed to empower them to lead with confidence in the age of AI. The AI Business School can help organizations define an AI strategy, enable an “AI-ready” culture, understand the implications of responsible AI, and provide “AI 101” content for business leaders.

The rapid pace of change and innovation driven by AI and cloud and edge computing has been challenging for organizations as it requires novel approaches and evolved digital business strategies. Organizations need to do two things to be successful in today’s digital economy: 1) Be fast adopters of technology, and 2) Build unique in-house digital capabilities.

While the deployment of AI has tripled in the past year — up from 25 percent in 2018 to 37 percent today, there are some challenges limiting adoption. In a Gartner 2019 CIO Survey, organizations said lack of skills, defining AI strategy, and identifying use cases for AI were the top challenges they face to adopting AI. It’s clear there is an increased need for workforce training on Artificial Intelligence to further its adoption.

We believe the real power of AI rests in its ability to holistically transform the enterprise and redefine business in ways that move beyond our imagination. Companies need a holistic strategy to gain the full benefits of AI. To make this happen, organizations need a long-term strategy, talent, and an inclusive, responsible culture. They also need a technology partner that goes beyond providing limited solutions and serves as a strategic partner.

Becoming a digital organization is a journey. Harnessing the power of AI requires both an inclusive imagination and a data-driven approach powered by technology. We hope AI Business School is a helpful resource and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Gretchen O’Hara is a 20+ year tech industry veteran with vast experience in commercial, public sector, and partner sales and marketing across small, medium, and large businesses—including technical evangelism with students, startups, and developers across the world. Currently, Gretchen serves as Vice President of Go-to-Market for the One Commercial Partner Organization at Microsoft, where she is responsible for leading the market strategy and execution with partners, responsible for $20 billion in revenue and 23K partners across the US.
Prior to this role, Gretchen led business and market strategy for the US Developer Experience & Evangelism organization, where she oversaw efforts to build connections with ISVs, startups, developers, students, and IT pros; accelerated third-party application development on Microsoft devices and cloud platforms; led commercial marketing for the US; and built the WW Partner Cloud Strategy for the partner ecosystem—building new channel transformation to support cloud and digital transformation within companies and the industry.

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