Posted: 1 year ago

Cveto Gasperut: Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more

The grandest event in Tbilisi’s business sphere on Digital Transformation was recently organized by Microsoft.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. IT solutions to improve business process and many interesting projects were discussed at Microsoft’s event DEF which was held successfully this year with over 300 participants and 29 speakers of whom 24 were foreign speakers. This event brought together more than 100 top managers in order to network with technical experts and Microsoft Partners, who have demonstrated successful IT solutions, security, new business challenges, opportunities and responsibilities, Microsoft’s mission and culture.

We have interviewed Cveto Gasperut, Enterprise Public Sector Sales Director at Microsoft, responsible for 24 countries, who talked about Artificial Intelligence strategy for coming years and about the biggest challenges and opportunities for businesses, retail industries and government in leveraging technology to optimize AI outcomes:

There are three pillars of our approach to AI: Leading innovation that extends your capabilities; Building powerful platforms that make innovation faster and more accessible; and developing a trusted approach so that AI is developed and deployed in a responsible manner.

Microsoft is focused on enabling and empowering people. We don’t believe AI will replace humans but rather amplify their ingenuity. Just like any tech it will allow us to achieve more and dramatically amplify what we’re doing every day.

We believe in inclusive design - technology should help lower the barrier to entry for everyone and AI helps to dramatically lower the barrier for people to interact with tech - it has the power to bring technology to more people at a vastly different scale.

Our third principle is around trust - it is imperative that the whole industry comes together to have a set of principles and ethics that drive AI development in an ethical way. Companies should strive to share knowledge with each other. We believe in being transparent and in building partnerships with not just other technology companies but also with third party entities like governments and educational institutions who add considerable value to the conversations.

We recognize that advances in AI present both opportunity and challenges. We are getting into uncharted territory and making decisions we’ve never had to make before. However, we are optimistic about the future of AI, and about the ways AI advances can solve many more challenges than they present.

Our goal in developing AI technologies is consistent with our company mission to help every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We believe AI technologies have the potential to amplify human ingenuity in ways never before possible. 

What were main topics discussed at this year’s Digital Evolution Forum in Tbilisi? It was second time you did Digital Evolution Forum in Georgia. Tell us briefly about DE Forum, what is the aim of it and who are participants and speakers and how do you choose them?

This year’s DEF was again very successful with over 300 participants and 29 speakers of whom 24 were foreign speakers. Microsoft showcased practical solutions for business transformation, case studies, success stories and useful technologies for business, time and resource optimization. Solutions were presented by Microsoft experts, local and Global Partners. We had a large number of attendees, among whom Partners and Speakers, Vice presidents, CDOs, CIOs of leading Georgian Banks, Executives of different Governmental bodies, etc.

Give us some example scenarios discussed at the forum.

One scenario that I presented was about the City of Los Angeles. The administration needed a way to manage and distribute the city services on an easy to navigate platform. A team with the city created the City Hall Internet Personality (a.k.a. “Chip”), a chatbot that operates as a 24/7 digital personal assistant. The benefits of this solution included: it reduced email queries by over 50; enabled increased attention to urgent and unusual cases and boosted employee morale by shifting focus away from busy-work to meaningful problem-solving.

Another example that I presented was the Mexico Tax Authority (SAT) and how it improved the interaction with taxpayers through cloud computing services. SAT wanted to update its technology infrastructure to improve key processes for over 40 million taxpayers. As a result it developed and deployed a hybrid cloud environment to handle the exponential growth in the number of citizens who interact with SAT. As a result, SAT established a modern technology environment that offers multiple online services; increased voluntary tax collection due to customer ease of use and incorporated intelligent data analysis to reduce invoice processing times.

AI could be used to make government agencies more efficient, how can Microsoft assist Georgian government, for instance in this?  

Why should government leaders care about artificial intelligence (AI)? The answer is simple: because AI can help the public sector deliver better services to citizens at lower cost. In fact, the rise of AI holds great promise for government at all levels. Every government leader needs to understand how AI can benefit their organization by saving money, creating a better citizen experience, or in some other way. The opportunity is enormous.

AI is real, and it’s here today. You can use machine learning and other aspects of AI to make things better right now for you, your employees, and the citizens you serve. There are many scenarios which show what’s possible: improving public safety, making social services easier to use, lowering maintenance costs in public transportation, decreasing tax fraud, etc. We are ready to support the Georgian government based on our long track record to listen, respond, and contribute to the digital transformation of the public sector.

Applications of artificial intelligence to the public sector are broad and growing, with early experiments taking place around the world, what are the challenges and benefits of using AI in the public sector?

We’re at an inflection point with AI, and there are great opportunities ahead for empowering people, governments and organizations in new ways. Yet like many technologies, AI raises ethical questions. Among those concerns is one that often comes up: Will AI eliminate jobs? Maybe. It’s important to remember, though, that IT has always done this - AI is no different in this regard. Technology improves productivity, letting us deploy people where they can provide more value. And in many cases, AI is a complement to existing workers, making their work more effective. And in many governments, workers are retiring faster than they’re being replaced. AI solutions can help fill this gap. 

AI has some downsides, but for most, they’re outweighed by the benefits: engage and service citizens more effectively, empower employees to deliver efficient service, optimize government operations and transform services.

Many small businesses witness ups and downs in operations, how Microsoft solutions can be helpful in such situations? Are Microsoft’s solutions available only for large corporates, or small players could also get a helping hand from you?

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

The workforce has become increasingly more diverse and mobile. There’s been a shift away from routine tasks to those with an emphasis on the ability to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and creatively. Teamwork is essential to the way work gets done. Organizations are becoming more networked, with an increased flow of information, and discoverable insights.

New generations of workers entering the workforce have new expectations around open and inclusive workspaces, both physical and digital. While they need to be more agile they also need to do so in an environment that’s secure.

Businesses need to change and evolve to meet customer expectations and market demands to be successful. To enable organizations, big and small, to digitally transform, to grow, evolve and transform to meet the changing needs of customers and capture new business opportunities we’re delivering a number of solutions, among which Microsoft 365. It provides a unique opportunity to grow your business by empowering employees to embrace a ‘new culture of work.

What are your plans regarding implementing projects with governments? What will be your first steps?

Microsoft signed an Education Transformation Agreement and moved on a new level of cooperation with Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia.

The Agreement includes initiatives on teacher and school leader professional development, digital transformation support, organization of AI bootcamp for Georgian girl, deployment technology and innovative learning at schools, etc.

I believe this is a great example of successful cooperation in an area so important for society like education.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft Georgia operates since 2007.