Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

139 INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING Johnson Controls, said: “The goal of the digital champions programme was to upskill employees, unlock new opportunities and drive digital leadership, and we’re seeing that happen today.” Technologies like low code/no code and conversational AI are also helping manufacturers to digitally transform. “Employees expect their technology tools to be both collaborative and intelligent,” says Rodriguez. “In a recent survey conducted by Microsoft [Four Ways Leaders Can Empower People for How Work Gets Done], 77 per cent of employees wish that they had more access to low code/no code tools or platforms to build digital solutions that help them achieve their goals. By equipping anyone in the organisation with low-code tools, such as Microsoft Power Apps and Azure, organisations can empower workers to solve their own technical challenges, thereby driving autonomy, and ultimately faster innovation. This approach can also help to break down silos within the organisation and promote crossfunctional collaboration.” Meanwhile, AI is revolutionising how workers question and interact with their data, says Rodriguez. “We’re seeing new solutions, one of which is Azure AI, that allow users to get intelligent insights and analytics about the data in their manufacturing apps through a conversational chat experience. “One example of this is Siemens, which is using generative AI to help industrial companies drive innovation and efficiency across the design, engineering, manufacturing and operational life cycle of products. AI-based translation embedded into these chat experiences makes them accessible to frontline workers in factories around the globe.” Johnson Controls and Siemens are just two of many organisations already seeing a positive impact from leveraging Teams to drive business goals and using AI to drive innovation. “Microsoft is well positioned to help more manufacturing companies to effectively equip their frontline workers with digital technologies in the future,” says Rodriguez. We asked selected analysts and Microsoft partners how Microsoft technology is helping manufacturers to attract and retain talent and address the skills shortage by reskilling or upskilling employees Partner perspectives Marianne D’Aquila Director of Research, ARC Advisory Group “Manufacturers have been grappling with the challenges of a tight labour market. The traditional approach of finding the ‘right person for the job’ has become increasingly difficult due to skill shortages, demographic shifts and increased competition for talent. However, with rapid advancements in AI technology, there is a growing opportunity for companies to shift their mindset towards finding the right technologies, such as intelligent software and intelligent machines, to fulfil their operational needs. AI software is already mitigating workforce challenges by automating operations, accelerating data-driven decision-making, increasing operational efficiency, providing skill enhancement and training.” Photo: iStock/fotografixx