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Delivering Digital

Microsoft’s Free AI Business School Explains Artificial Intelligence to Non-Tech Executives

New classes help CXOs come up to speed on how to start embedding AI into underlying business strategies

As artificial intelligence (AI) fast becomes the secret weapon of high growth companies, executive leaders across the globe are scrambling to understand the technology behind AI and how they can harness it to drive revenue and reduce costs.

“Successful leaders use AI for operational tasks but also to become more effective leaders – in other words, drive growth, set the right priorities and free time for inspiring people,” Heike Bruch, professor and director of the Institute for Leadership & Human Resources Management at the University of St. Gallen, said in a recent interview with Microsoft’s Michel van der Bel. “In this way, I actually think AI will make good leaders less busy and even more human.”

Microsoft recently conducted a study on AI use that shows companies who are driving double-digit growth are more than twice as likely to be using AI compared to single-digit growth companies. These high-growth companies expect to use AI in the coming year to improve decision-making, optimize processes, and to develop new products and services.

The trouble is that many organizations today are still not ready to make the fundamental changes in employee workflow, data-driven strategy, product development mindset to effectively fold AI into their business models.

“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.

Microsoft is trying to help business leaders improve the readiness quotient of their organization with the launch this week of AI Business School, a new set of self-paced online classes that will help business leaders figure out to where to begin implementing AI in their companies and how to do it in a way that’s strategic, secure, and compliant with government regulations. The free master class seriescurrently has 18 modules with approximately nine hours of instructional content, including very basic modules on how AI works for non-tech people and how to apply AI maturity model assessments to an organization.

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