Unlocking the full potential of AI in Thailand
Organisations need to adopt best-in-class technology while also building their own unique digital capabilities. By Dhanawat Suthumpun
I started 2019 by saying it would be the year of AI. As we witness how this game-changing technology is dominating the agendas of leading organisations and nations, I can say I was right.
At Microsoft, we have helped organisations in Thailand harness artificial intelligence as the core of their digital transformation strategy, offering them a competitive advantage. Whether employed to improve operational efficiency or create entirely new business models, making AI part of your core strategy translates into growth and added value.
To help understand how AI is shaping the future for Thai businesses, Microsoft partnered with the research firm IDC to survey readiness for AI adoption among business leaders and workers. While the results show the vast majority of Thai professionals recognise the potential of AI in driving the next phase of growth, only 26% of Thai organisations have adopted it as core part of their strategy.
THE RIGHT SKILLS
To be competitive in today's digital-first world, organisations need to be fast adopters of best-in-class technology, including AI, while also building their own unique digital capabilities. We refer to this combination of factors as the "tech intensity" of an organisation.
However, organisations will also need to invest in their human capital. The rise of AI means that workers need to reskill and upskill to remain relevant in the workforce of tomorrow. Many students today will graduate into a job market full of roles that do not even exist today.
The good news is that, according to our study, 81% of businesses are willing to invest in upskilling and reskilling of workers to create an AI-ready workforce. However, 48% of them have yet to carry out these plans.
Business leaders who are adopting AI face challenges such as a lack of thought leadership and commitment to invest in AI, lack of skills, resources and continuous learning programmes. However, workers are more willing to reskill than business leaders believe they are. This is a promising start.
With 85% of today's jobs predicted to no longer exist in 2030, demand for software engineering roles is expanding rapidly beyond just the tech sector. Building an AI-ready workforce does not necessarily mean an acute need for technological skills: the top future skills identified by business leaders are creativity, digital and analytical skills.
At Microsoft, we constantly look for ways to support employers and workers in ways that can help them better adapt in the new digital economy. Recently we launched AI Business School, a platform intended to empower business leaders to be successful and get results from AI.
Our master class series offers practical knowledge on how to define an AI strategy and use AI with confidence. You will hear directly from industry experts how to foster an "AI Ready" culture.
The learning platform offers in-depth information and support on how to understand AI, how to see opportunities to implement AI and how to explain to employees the organisation's AI adoption strategy.
The free, online courses will be the first in the world to help business leaders learn about the technology behind AI, how to use it throughout their organisation, prepare their staff for its adoption and ensure it is used responsibly. This open communication will prevent business-employee misalignment, helping to secure buy-in from employees.
Another step to promote better understanding of the tangible solutions offered by AI is a partnership with Insead Business School for including real case studies in which AI played a key role in changing an organisation's strategy.
In addition, our publicly available Microsoft Professional Program has an AI track, offering AI-specific online courses and instructional videos from expert instructors targeted at IT professionals and tech-savvy executives. A developer-focused AI School, meanwhile, provides online videos and other assets that help build professional AI skills.
Elsewhere, we are engaged in initiatives that enrich skill development for teachers and students on global, regional, and local scales to build readiness for an AI-powered future.
Most recently in Thailand, we joined with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency and Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College to organise a digital skills training programme for 500 teachers from 500 schools with the ultimate goal of sharing digital expertise to more than 50,000 students in the Eastern Economic Corridor area.
By placing people at the forefront, an organisation can equip itself appropriately and adapt itself for the challenges that lie ahead. With an agile workforce and an open, progressive mindset, Thai businesses can reach a whole new level of competitiveness.
Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director, Microsoft Thailand
Dhanawat Suthumpun is the managing director of Microsoft Thailand.