Microsoft, which is working to expand the use of artificial intelligence in its products from Azure to Windows, has launched a free new online AI Business School to help encourage and educate business leaders about innovative ways they can use the power of AI to drive their companies and better serve their customers.
"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," Mitra Azizirad, corporate vice president for AI marketing at Microsoft, said in a recent post on the Microsoft Blog. "Developing a strategy for AI extends beyond the business issues. It goes all the way to the leadership, behaviors and capabilities required to instill an AI-ready culture in your organization."
The recently launched Microsoft AI Business School was created as an online master class series that aims to empower business leaders in the use and promise of AI inside their companies, the post continued. For many business leaders, AI has been a buzzword and concept they hear about, but they often don't know where to start to find out more information or how to figure out how they can use it inside their operations, while meeting security, privacy and regulatory requirements.
The AI Business School course materials include brief written case studies and guides as well as videos of lectures, perspectives and talks that can be viewed as students find time, the post states. Also included are short introductory videos that provide an overview of the AI technologies driving change across a wide range of industries. Overall, the content focuses on managing the impact of AI on company strategy, culture and responsibility, according to the post.
"This [online] 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," said Azizirad. The AI Business School isn't meant to train business leaders on the technology of AI but is instead designed to prepare them to lead their organizations on a journey of AI transformation, she said.
The AI business school joins other Microsoft AI educational initiatives, including the developer-focused AI School and the Microsoft Professional Program for Artificial Intelligence, according to the post.
An important part of the course is its focus on how business data can be shared inside companies across departments and business functions, the post states.
"You need to start out with an open approach to how the data of an organization is going to be used, which is the foundation of AI, to get the results that you are banking on," Azizirad said. "In the case of AI and in the case of culture, the people closest to the business problem you are trying to solve really need to be involved,” she said.
The new Microsoft AI Business School is a place where business leaders can start to gain specific, practical knowledge that can define, guide and implement their corporate AI strategies, using personal experiences and information from industry leaders who are using it now.