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ESTIMATED TIME:   2 minute read

AI thought leadership solidified with launch of AI business school

Our client Microsoft, was looking to solidify their position as a leader in AI by being the first technology company to build and launch an AI Business School. However, internal communication delays slowed progressThese delays not only compromised their leadership standing, it threatened to negate the marketing opportunity of tying into the idea of ethical AI in business, a priority discussed in Nadella's 2017 book, Hit Refresh. 

Most of the world’s fastest growing companies are actively pursuing high-profile initiatives to solve business problems and grow revenue faster. However, what businesses want to do and the readiness of their people to deploy a strategy can reveal obstacles that complicate  prioritization, communication and execution. You can’t afford to waste time on poorly defined and ineffective operations. Giving precedence to the initiatives that accelerate your business requires holistic problem-solving, outcome-focused project management and reliance on industry best practices to achieve superior results. 

Here’s how Microsoft overcame some initial hurdles to successfully launch the first AI Business School, an online master class series that supports the quest of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for technology to positively transform business and society. 

The Challenge

  • Targeted business customers did not understand the value delivered with artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • High-level of competition with multiple vendors vying for customer mindshare with no clear leader.
  • Misaligned prioritization, communication and efforts created delays and lack of available resources
  • Failure to leverage existing subject matter experts made it challenging to demonstrate market eminence and leadership
  • Time pressures and lack of buy-in jeopardized ability to meet committed deadlines

The Solution

  • Created a cross-group project and program management effort to ensure workstream ownership and progress to launch a new AI business school
  • Defined content strategy and development process spanning wide range of needs including guidance on how to define an AI strategy, foster an AI-ready culture, and implement AI responsibly.
  • Established a governance structure and review cadence to hold stakeholders accountable for commitments and deadlines
  • Established enablement strategy, curriculum and all coursework across 10 active workstreams

The Result

  • Established presence and leadership with the targeted business customers for Microsoft’s AI offering
  • Strong market awareness within the first three days after launch with 67 Million potential impressions on Twitter
  • Create comprehensive content engine with 46 published articles, tapping into multiple subject matter experts, with approximately 3900 social shares
  • Heavy traffic with 32,000 unique visitors to the AI Business School site
  • Customer recognition of thought leadership Microsoft as with AI
  • Delivery of a CEO commitment as publicly promised


“I couldn’t have asked for a better business partner, and appreciate the strength and expertise they provided us at Microsoft. We had a very successful outcome in large part to The Spur Group’s support and services.” 

Jaime Perena, Director, Microsoft AI