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AI Opportunity Is 'Nascent' for Microsoft Partners

If it seems like there's more talk about artificial intelligence (AI) than there is market momentum, that's a feature -- not a bug -- for partners, according to a senior Microsoft executive.

Julia White, the corporate vice president who leads product management for Microsoft's cloud platform, made a big splash at the Microsoft Inspire 2019 partner conference last week with a HoloLens demo involving a hologram translating her keynote into Japanese.

But in an Inspire briefing for media, White framed AI in an interesting way.

"In our executive briefing center here at Microsoft, the No. 1 requested session on Azure is AI. That's what everyone wants to talk about, every customer," White said. But then the interesting thing, if you look at actual production, real at-scale AI solutions, it's only about 4 percent. In the enterprise space. Really, it's tiny. It just tells you the interest is so high and the customers reality is still, you know, nascent."

Put another way, White is saying only one in 25 enterprise customers are currently using AI solutions, but nearly all of the rest of them are interested in AI.

In the context of partners, White contends that's a great situation to be in. "To me, that's huge partner opportunity," White said. "They need someone to come in and help them think through, what is their AI strategy? How do they use the technologies, because it's pretty complicated, and trying to navigate how they use it within the way they do it."

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 25, 2019


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