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To Maximize Value from AI, Business Needs to Prioritize Skills: Microsoft Research

Microsoft India has released new research revealing that organizations that combine deployment of AI with skilling initiatives are generating most value from AI.

Over 93% of senior executives surveyed from these companies were sure their business was gaining value from AI. The research further highlights that employees from mature AI companies are eager to deepen their AI skills and reinvest freed up time to add value for the organization. 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.

Dr Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India, said, “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.”

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. In fact, organization 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.

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% employees at these firms have already been part of reskilling programs. 98% of the employees surveyed among all the AI companies were highly motivated for reskilling.

94% of senior executives from AI Leading businesses acknowledged that they are already seeing value from AI deployment. In fact, Indian AI Intermediate companies are also not too far behind in this aspect – with 87% sharing the same view. The gap between the two categories across all the countries surveyed, however, is much wider at 25%

The research shows 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.

AI is creating company cultures more focused on innovation and learning

98% of AI Leading firms in India were increasing skills 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.

More than 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 higher level of AI-relevant skills among employees.

98% of all employees were keen to participate in reskilling programs. This number rises to 95% for AI-leading businesses, which is a nearly one-and-a-half time higher than the corresponding number across all surveyed markets.

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