Three things to know about making the most of AI

Here’s how AI is set to revolutionize the workplace in 2024 by transforming workflows, enhancing productivity and fostering responsible innovation, as organizations embrace its potential to address challenges and drive growth.

Chris Barry, president, Microsoft Canada
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While last year may have been hailed as the ‘year of AI,’ 2024 will be the year that we see AI implemented at scale, signifying a pivotal shift where the acceleration of AI is set to significantly reshape how we work and live. We’ve already glimpsed into its remarkable capabilities, from accelerating cancer research in British Columbia to helping fight wildfires in Alberta. This technology continues to evolve at unbelievable speeds and business leaders are building innovative solutions to address real challenges.

But what if more leaders leveraged AI to help solve the age-old challenge of workload and burnout? Data from our annual Work Trend Index shows that nearly two in three employees do not have enough time and energy to do their job. The digital debt created from mountains of data, emails, meetings and notifications is causing employees to be 3.5x more likely to struggle with innovation and strategic thinking.

Facing these challenges, employees are ready to leverage AI as a type of virtual assistant. Many are open to delegating some of their work to AI to lessen their workloads, while employers are seeking ways to empower their teams. It is an exciting time for both change and opportunity if organizations move wisely into this new age.

Realizing the full potential of this next generation of AI starts with the foundation and the strength of its roots within an organization. It requires not only a digital transformation, but a deep cultural transformation driven by business leaders who welcome opportunity and new experiences. This is only the first of three key imperatives for making the most of AI.

Instilling AI into organizational values

The first imperative for harnessing the AI opportunity is to realize that it is not only about the technology that you use–but how it is supported within an organization. AI should be viewed as a copilot, not an adversary, which can augment human capabilities and transform workflows. Leaders need to involve employees in conversations when creating and implementing AI solutions, while providing their teams with time to learn new skills and adapt to changing roles. Every person can have a positive and valuable experience with AI by making it part of the organizational culture and values.

Experiment with AI to unlock a productivity advantage

One of AI’s biggest benefits is productivity. Laddering back to Microsoft’s mission that technology has the power to unlock opportunities for every employee and person on the planet. Microsoft is helping organizations apply AI to deliver real, tangible results for individuals, customers and partners today via advanced use cases such as customer support, conversational AI, summarization, writing assistance, customization, and gaining insights from data using search, data extraction and classification.

Collaborating with organizations across Canada to bolster their own AI capability to unlock even greater levels of success is also underway. With AI infused across every layer of our tech stack, Microsoft can provide Canadian customers with access to the most advanced AI models in the world, and help them drive benefits and greater productivity gains.

Leading with responsible innovation

Continuing to be inspired by what’s possible with AI, Microsoft is committed to ensure it is developed and used responsibly. This leads us to the last imperative–responsible innovation.

Microsoft has maintained a decades-long focus on prioritizing research and constructing infrastructure centered on responsible AI, with nearly 350 individuals currently engaged in these efforts. Beyond its organizational boundaries, Microsoft collaborates with governments and agencies worldwide to ensure that AI remains intelligent and secure for all users, including implementing necessary guardrails.

These are the three musts every organization should follow to make the most of the AI opportunities present at our doorstep. Seizing AI’s full potential will mean moving from fixed ideations of doing things to a growth mindset, remaining open to the possibilities of what’s possible. The pace of change is accelerating and business leaders must seize this opportunity or risk being left behind.