The importance of data and AI in the 4th industrial revolution


So far in this series, we've covered both the modern workplace and business applications. This time we look at the role big data and AI. It's an extremely important topic. Think of data as the currency of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). In fact, it's being said that big data plus artificial intelligence is 4IR.

Data will present a $138B market opportunity by 2021 and 75% of enterprises will use AI.

It's all about organisations being able to visualise their data. The thing is, while everyone already has mountains of data, very few organisations really know how to turn it into something valuable. So, there will be ample opportunities to help your customers to exploit their data. Especially when 74% of firms are saying they want to be data-driven, but only 29% are actually successful at connecting analytics to action.4 It's these actionable insights that are the missing link for companies. They are struggling to drive business value from their data. And that's where you come in.

Your expertise, knowledge and industry insight in this area will be critical. But first, let's look at how your Microsoft partner peers are helping their customers to use data and AI effectively.

It's already happening

To break away from traditional business models, Swiss Re have built a digital platform on Microsoft Azure and launched a pioneering micro-insurance service. This solution effectively applies data and AI to automatically reimburse airline passengers for delayed flights.

Dixons Carphone used Microsoft's Bot Framework to build an AI bot called Cami. She communicates with customers via Facebook Messenger. By interacting with Cami, people can search and have their questions answered in a more natural way.

Neal Analytics is Microsoft's Partner of the Year for Business Analytics. They developed an algorithm for Coke One North America. This helps put the right products in the right stores at the right time. The result? A massive lift in same-store sales, plus a new, more effective way of tracking business and driving growth.

Be part of it

Embracing the huge opportunities presented by 4IR involves helping your customers to analyse vast swathes of data in real-time. So, they can extract valuable and meaningful insights to make decisions that are intelligent and profitable. Ultimately, this will help them improve customer engagement, increase revenue and reduce costs.

But before you can begin to help your customers, you need to develop a data and AI practice within your organisation. And we're the best people to help you.

We're close to becoming the cloud leader. Analyst firm Pacific Crest predicts that "In the second half of this year, Microsoft's Commercial Cloud segment could surpass Amazon to become the largest public cloud platform."

We want you to be part of this major success. That's why we've put together a wealth of resources, such as our Partner Practice Development Framework, designed to help you develop your own data and AI practice with five key steps: defining your strategy, hiring and training the right people, preparing to launch, going to market, and growing your practice.

At the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, we want to help you become a data and AI leader for your customers. Download our 5 Steps infographic, outlining how you can build out your data and AI practice.

Next steps

In the next post, we'll be looking at how you can help your customers to optimise operations by transforming their IT infrastructure and apps. In the meantime take a look at our Data Platform & Analytics Playbook or find out about Azure here. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Microsoft point of contact, or to our Partner Concierge team.