Microsoft’s Business Summit opened today with the speech of Philippe Rogge, vice-president for the CEE region, who talked about the future of business in Romania and in the world. Digitization and Artificial Intelligence are the determining pillars of change and it is very important for everybody to follow and adopt the changes if they are not to be left behind.
The use of Machine Learning is not only something that the company recommends to its partners and clients, but something that they’re already using.
“At Microsoft, we stopped having sales people compile quarterly forecasts few years ago and decided to use Machine Learning for these forecasts. There were a lot of protests from the sales people, but after a while we all saw that the machines’ forecasts were better and more accurate. We’re now even using this method for our Wall Street forecasts,” says Rogge.
The integration of Artificial Intelligence in predictions is already used in many businesses and the results are better than expected.
“There is a transport company in Hungary that decided to use AI to analyze the way its trucks are used and they managed to increase the vehicles’ load to 93 percent, meaning that only 7 percent of the transport is done with empty trucks. It had a great impact on the company’s financial results and it was done by predicting where the next order will be based on past patterns. The company knows where and what vehicle to send at a certain point in time,” says Rogge.
The best example from Romania is Banca Transilvania and its use of AI chatbots, with the help of Druid and UiPath, for internal use, in order to help its employees. “What UiPath does today shows the power of the cloud,” explains Rogge.
Technology is changing, but the people are still the most important. People must also change in order to understand and use the technology and this may not be an easy thing to do for middle-aged employees.
“The technology scene is very different from what we saw even 15-20 years ago, and it requires adaptation. It is easier for a start-up to grow and work with the latest technologies than it is for an old company to adapt to the change,” says Rogge.
“We’ve been here for 43 years and even if we’ve missed some things over the years – for example, I am using an iPhone, even if I love my Windows phone – we will continue to be relevant for the industry,” says the vice-president of Microsoft.
The future of workforce
Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence were the main points of the speech that Violeta Luca, the general manager of Microsoft Romania since yesterday, gave at the summit.
“I wanted to become a doctor when I was young, living in a small town close to Bacau, but later I found out that there were other ways to help people. This is why I have chosen technology. I am a true believer in the power technology,” says Luca.
“Today, ‘business as usual’ is not enough anymore. Digital transformation and the adoption of AI are mandatory, and while technology represents the ‘how’ in change, people are the ‘why’,” says the new CEO of Microsoft Romania.
She also mentioned that, as a result of all the discussions she had with other people in the industry, 80 percent of companies are having trouble with workforce.
“Automation and digitization can be answer to this problem, as there are jobs that can be replaced by machines and apps. This is where we should look for a solution,” says Luca.
And considering that around 50 percent of today’s jobs might be replaced by machines in the next 15 to 20 years, it is mandatory to find solutions for those who will lose their jobs. Microsoft spends EUR 1.4 billion at a global level every year for education purposes and Microsoft Romania has a EUR 1 million budget for the education project “A different future”, based on the idea that we must continue to learn throughout our life.
“The future is not developing on its own – it is made by us,” says Luca.