Microsoft today introduced the AI Business School, a series of case studies and free instructional videos made to help business executives design and successfully implement an AI strategy within their organization.
The AI Business School follows the lead of similar instructional guides, such as the AI Transformation Playbook from Andrew Ng. Unlike others, AI Business School material draws on three years of conversations with customers implementing AI, as well as lessons learned from AI solutions Microsoft introduced internally, Microsoft vice president of AI marketing and productization Mitra Azizirad told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
Course content will focus on four main areas: strategy, culture, technology basics, and responsible AI. And courses will include tools for things like evaluating a business’ AI maturity level to understand what’s required to successfully implement AI.
“There’s been a ton of conversations about AI and the transformation that so many jobs will experience in the technical world or [for] office employees or even frontline workers, but you really don’t hear as much outside of enterprises and organizations about the kind of transformation that is really required,” Azizirad said. “AI Business School was born with this goal of helping business leaders drive AI transformation in their [company], but also to redefine their role as leaders.”
The business school launch comes one week after the release of a survey of business leaders in the United States and Europe commissioned by Microsoft. The survey asked leaders when they plan to implement AI and about corresponding investments being made in areas like motivating employees.
Business leaders ranked motivating and inspiring employees as their first investment priority while growing their use of AI, a nod to the ways in which making a business ready for AI can alter company culture.
To address this need, the AI Business School advises companies to celebrate cross-sectional teamwork and make sure employees in every layer of their organization feel empowered to speak up about ways AI can be used in their own jobs. It’s something CFO Amy Hood came to learn when AI was brought into her company’s finance department.
“Her role was to build confidence, excitement, rewards, and a system for people who would feel comfortable enough to, quite frankly, volunteer their own business processes to be reinvented,” Azizirad said.
The responsible AI section of the school will explore how business leaders can manage risks related to AI and the kind of ethical accountability and governance that needs to be in place within an organization.
Specific industry-vertical approaches and other updates for new content will be added in the future, Azizirad said.