Microsoft launches online AI school for execs

The tech giant is offering on-demand lectures for those responsible for AI implementation.
Photography depicts the development and design of AI applications.

Microsoft is hoping to help business leaders better understand what they need to do in order to successfully utilize artificial intelligence with its new AI School for Business.

Lectures and videos last up to 10 minutes and can be accessed on-demand anywhere in the world. They feature insights from senior Microsoft staff, including CMO Chris Capossela, EVP and president of Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations Jean-Phillipe Courtois and CFO Amy Hood.

There are four main areas of focus for the lectures: strategically thinking about the role AI could play in their organization; how to create an “AI-ready culture” within their organization to help with implementation; developing best practices on using AI responsibly; and an overview of the technology that makes AI work.

Another focus of the school is on how departments within an organization can work together to share data and get the results execs are expecting from AI. One of the lectures features a case from Microsoft’s own marketing team, which wanted to use AI to better score leads for the sales team to pursue. Marketing staff partnered with data scientists to create machine learning models that weigh thousands of variables to score leads, which brought marketing knowledge on lead quality together with the machine learning expertise of data scientists.

Microsoft has created other learning initiatives centered around AI, such as the developer-focused AI School and a 10-course professional program. However, the AI Business School is meant for business executives and approaches it in non-technical ways, focusing on big-picture implementation strategy instead of coding and engineering. Mitra Azizirad, corporate vice president for AI marketing at Microsoft, said in a blog post that the 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.”