How Microsoft uses technology to empower people and businesses

A global company that is using technology as a tool to transform the corporate environment

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“Technology that is not tailored for all of us, but rather for each of us,” says Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil, who explains that the culture of constant reinvention which places clients at the center of the decision-making process in an inclusive manner is one of the reasons why the company, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, never lost the innovative touch that characterizes its products.

With a market value that already exceeds $ 1 trillion and a brand that has become an icon of the technology universe, it is not hard to imagine that the future could take them to opting for calmer waters in terms of managing a consolidated patrimony. But that is not sufficient for Microsoft, because the American company has decided to swim against the current and out of its comfort zone.

By relearning the habits of users, solving daily problems of companies, and offering the right options to increase the productivity of professionals in the entire world, Microsoft found itself in a digital revolution that the corporate world is also experiencing through its most recent approach. “A digital transformation opens a new potential for organizations, and this does not mean only technological modifications or readjustments, but also that of people. As expectations, knowledge, and the abilities of each employee in the organization – from the factory floor or reception, to the executive director’s office — and the tools that they use for work are all determining factors of the level of transformation that any organization can reach,” explains Hatsumura.

The grand mission of Microsoft

Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil
Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil

“When Satya Nadella took the position of CEO in Microsoft, back in 2014, he began a process of cultural transformation with a new mission: to empower each person and each organization of the planet to accomplish more, which functions as a guideline for everything that we do,” reveals the director of the company concerning the transformation process that is guiding the next steps of the company.

We stopped being a company that says “I know everything” and went on to become a company that says “I can learn everything.” This means learning from our mistakes.

Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil

To translate this mission into something tangible in terms of products, Microsoft found in artificial intelligence its primary ally. Present in all the brand’s products, each in its own way, it is artificial intelligence that shapes the path of the new features and solutions created by the company. “In Microsoft, we are developing AI tools and technologies, using the resources of the cloud Azure, so as to empower people and increase their abilities. We are working to guarantee that those innovations and discoveries in AI are available for everyone,” claims Mariana Hatsumura. And the technology multinational could not have been more assertive in choosing this direction to guide its efforts.

In the last quarter of 2019, the company exceeded the market’s high expectations by reaching a revenue of $ 13.2 billions, an increase of 12% in relation to forecasts. Responsible for this exponential growth was Azure, which became the most lucrative area of the company. “We are committed to certifying that those AI systems are developed responsibly and used to gain the trust of people. We believe that AI is a challenging technology in our time, and we are optimistic regarding what AI can offer to people, industry, and society — now and in the future, in ways that we have already seen and those that we have yet to understand,” adds the director of innovation.

And it does not stop there, according to Hatsumura, close to $ 14 billion are annually invested in research for innovation projects classified into four categories: (1) bold (independently of its size), (2) optimistic and inclusive, (3) based on trust, and (4) executed on scale. Hence, the company keeps itself one step ahead of the competition when concerning innovation, and this is one of its initiatives that made possible the creation of projects in the most diverse of areas, from the adapting control of Xbox to the inclusion of people with disabilities and even to the development of InnerEye, which uses artificial intelligence so that x-ray equipment can learn, constantly improving the reading of images.

The power to create corporate solutions for users, not just companies

Microsoft Teams' app
Microsoft Teams’ app

The digital revolution affected the lives of people in all aspects, from day-to-day aspects, such as the increase of social networks, to the way in which we all work, including the rise of numerous new areas of activity in a short time. If corporate tools had, in the past, very direct and traditional objectives, the first step to keeping pace with this new moment is to understand that success is within reach of those companies capable of grasping that the user that posts a selfie is also the person that needs to manage a team.

Whether it is during a stroll with the family, during a planned trip, or during the preparation of a decisive presentation at work, at the end of the day we are all the same users in different moments with the same needs to be taken care of in each instance: quick apps with easy navigation that can solve real problems on a daily basis. Those companies focused on B2B solutions and aware of this message will lead the pack. Microsoft is one of them. “The idea is that technology be an important ally in the delivery of results, flexibility, and digital integration,” highlights Mariana Hatsumura.

Microsoft is committed to empowering each person and each organization to accomplish more.

Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil

And to accomplish this mission, each of the group’s products became a piece in the puzzle of solutions for businesses from different segments. “The artificial intelligence integrated into the Office365 package, for example, stimulates productivity when a PowerPoint suggests layout options and offers subtitle resources to break down language barriers – offering polished presentations – or when Outlook separates the most important messages for the user to read first, placing those emails in a priority box. Microsoft Teams already helps guarantee a flow of communication that is more efficient with translation and subtitles in real time. Innovations such as the Microsoft Translator, which includes 64 languages, can translate in real time and is available in various platforms,” explains the director of the company.

Technology that gives back some of our time, so that we can be more present and more human

Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil

More than just think of the needs of businesses, to focus on what truly fuels everything and any positive outcome of a business: motivated people. And technology can have a direct influence on all the tasks involved in the workplace, from facilitating simple, day-to-day tasks to providing quick analysis that increase productivity and results. The work day has changed, and so should they way we engage with work on a daily basis.

The role of Latin America

With the explosion of the market for fintechs, startups, and, consequently, unicorns in Latin America, there was never so much need for corporate tools alongside the extension of market space to be explored in the region. This opportunity is on the table, and Microsoft is willing to win the game.

Latin America is a strategic market as a whole for the company

Mariana Hatsumura, productivity director of Microsoft Brasil

“The future of work is not only a world with more automatization and robotics, it is a future of new types of businesses, activities, and possibilities, something that has the potential of deeply benefitting regions in Latin America where PMEs and startups have a fundamental role in economic development,” emphasizes Mariana Hatsumura.

To exploit all the potential of the market, Microsoft’s director of productivity in Brazil reveals that the company has a support network of local partners. “Microsoft has a base of 80 thousand partners in Latin America, and they are very important in the challenge of helping our clients face the digital transformation. In Brazil alone, there are approximately 20 thousand partners,” she claims.

While Latin America is coming to grips with the pace of its own development in the technology market, Microsoft is one step ahead in coming up with solutions for businesses of all types. Technology with an objective – this is the mission that the technological giant has set for itself in the delivery of its products to Latin Americans, and no doubt they are successfully facing the challenge.

Translation by Axel Diniz