Microsoft Reveals Businesses Need To Prioritise Skills To Maximise Value From AI

Microsoft India today released new research revealing that organisations that combine the deployment of AI with skilling initiatives are generating most value from AI. The topline findings of the research underscore that mature AI firms are more confident about the return on AI and skills. 

The tech giant recently conducted a global survey with approximately 12,000 people working with enterprise companies. The research surveyed employees and leaders within large enterprises across industry verticals in India, and 19 other countries, to look at the skills needed to thrive as AI becomes increasingly adopted by businesses, as well as the key learnings from early AI adopters.

The survey found a direct link between having the skills needed to thrive in an AI world and the value organisations gain from their AI implementations. The research further reveals that employees are keen to acquire AI relevant skills that are growing in importance and are of value to them personally and to the business. The organisation leaders surveyed predicted that half of all employees will be equipped with AI skills in the next 6-10 years, which is nearly one-and-a-half times more than the present estimations.


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Based on the AI readiness and level of implementation across the organisation, the tech giant divided enterprises into three categories – Beginners, Intermediates, and Leading. AI Beginners are the companies in which AI has not been explored or used in any way. AI Intermediates are enterprises that are exploring or experimenting with AI, in a limited capacity. Lastly, AI Leading organisations are businesses that have AI at the core of their overall strategy.  

The key takeaways of this survey are-

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1| The emerging learn-it-all culture in the age of AI

The research suggested that as a company deploys more AI and reskilling initiatives, a learn-it-all culture emerges. With AI becoming more common among businesses, 98 per cent of all employees are highly motivated to acquire or deepen AI-relevant skills.

Employers have also taken cognizance of the inclination of employees towards AI skills. As per the survey, to motivate the workforce in developing new skill sets, senior leaders are willing to compensate the employees for gaining AI expertise. 

2| Higher Growth Companies Are Combining Skilling With AI Deployment For Greater Business Value

In India, 100% of the AI-leading companies say they are actively building the skills of their workers or have plans to do so. Over 93 per cent of the employees at these firms have already been part of re-skilling programs. The employees benefitting from these programs are actively providing strategic benefits to their companies through innovating, solving, and collaborating. 

The combination of skilling and AI deployment is helping businesses succeed. 94% of senior executives from AI Leading businesses acknowledged that they are already seeing value from AI deployment.

The research showed that AI-leading firms are focused on ensuring that AI is complementing the talents of their people. These businesses are cultivating employee skills across every category, ranging from advanced data analysis and critical thinking to communications and creativity.

3| AI Is Creating Company Cultures More Focused On Innovation And Learning

The AI Leading firms in India have increased their skill investments. these companies were looking for ways to expand their employees’ digital capabilities to unlock new avenues for growth. 93% of them were actively hiring skilled workers or had plans to, to complement their internal skilling programs. While 97% business leaders in India are willing to provide financial rewards in some form, fast track promotion or a combination of both in order to promote job satisfaction and a higher level of AI-relevant skills among employees. 

Dr Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India, said, “As we look to rebound and reimagine the future after months of economic fluidity, technology will play a key role in rebooting enterprises. AI is at the heart of digital transformation – which has accelerated at an extraordinary pace – and will continue to play a critical role in helping businesses be more agile, resilient and competitive during this time. However, the path of unlocking the full potential of AI lies in combining its deployment with skilling initiatives that focus on both tech and soft skills. We believe this will be important for us to emerge from this crisis successfully.”

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Ambika Choudhury
A Technical Journalist who loves writing about Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. A lover of music, writing and learning something out of the box.

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