Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

36 EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW events where Microsoft has a presence. For example, at Hannover Messe in April, we featured 18 partner demos in our booth. Where does sustainability fit within your industry strategies and how is Microsoft helping to drive the sustainable agenda in its conversations with customers? Our sustainability strategy has three key components. Firstly, Microsoft is committed to becoming a more sustainable company. Secondly, we are dedicated to helping our customers and partners in their sustainability efforts. Thirdly, we actively contribute to societal conditions conducive to a net-zero economy, such as accelerating the availability of new climate technologies and advocating for skilling programmes to expand the green workforce. An example of our sustainability efforts, which in turn benefit our customers and partners, is our ongoing initiative to embed sustainability into our data centres at every stage from design to construction to operations. This includes using greener building materials like lowcarbon concrete and incorporating greener hardware components such as semiconductors, servers and racks. We are on track to power our data centres with 100 per cent zero-carbon energy sources by 2025. At the heart of our strategy is our commitment to helping customers on their sustainability journey. This involves developing industry-specific and cross-industry tools and technologies to support company initiatives such as ESG insights and reporting. Other tools empower organisations to accelerate progress toward sustainability goals and reduce costs, such as Microsoft Sustainability Manager, which enables organisations to analyse performance data and identify opportunities to reduce environmental impact. We are deeply infusing AI into our sustainability solutions. For example, Copilot in Microsoft Sustainability Manager empowers frontline workers to interact with data using common language, and in the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, a new AI capability called ‘what-if analysis’ supports scenario planning. And as part of our focus to help create global markets to advance sustainability across industries, initiatives such as our $1 Billion Climate Innovation Fund are helping drive innovative new technology and approaches to address climate challenges, which include carbon removal, hard-to-abate industries and water replenishment. As this issue of the magazine reaches its readers, Microsoft will be heading into a new fiscal year, presumably with a new set of strategies for industry operations over the coming 12 months. Are you able to share an insight into what lies ahead? It’s no surprise that the focus for the coming year will be on AI and data. Rather than a completely new strategy, we are evolving our approach to continue empowering customers to use AI to differentiate their businesses and drive progress. We’ve transitioned from the era of digital transformation to the era of AI transformation. One of the reasons why I am so excited about generative AI is because organisations are ready for this shift. Over the past decade or so, technology practitioners like Microsoft have been implementing solutions that have helped companies in their digital transformation journeys, whether it’s migrating data to the cloud or getting their data estate in order. Now, with technologies such as cloud, IoT and 5G Mitford presented several AI use cases for retailers at NRF in January