It’s hard to miss all of Microsoft’s recent initiatives about how important the ecosystem is to its artificial intelligence- (AI) go-to-market strategy. Microsoft has evolved its partner programs, increased its co-selling and partner-to-partner motions, invested in partner competencies, and last, but not least, crafted some truly unique partnership agreements of late. In this analysis, I’m going to break down a few of these new AI partnerships.
Microsoft and Meta
First, let’s look at the Microsoft and Meta AI Partnership with Llama 2 on Azure and Windows. In a collaboration that makes you wonder if the term “AI partnership” was coined just for them, Microsoft and Meta have expanded their relationship with Llama 2 (Linking, Learning, and Managing Algorithms) on Azure and Windows.
This isn’t just about adding a dab of intelligence to your spreadsheets. With Llama 2, AI is now at the forefront, delivering unheard-of innovation due to its unique dataset. Llama 2 was trained on 40% more data than the previous version and has double the context length, resulting in more robust use cases. Llama 2 Chat leverages publicly available instruction datasets and over 1 million human annotations. Further, Llama 2 outperforms other open-source language models on many external benchmarks, including reasoning, coding, proficiency, and knowledge tests, making it a top choice to build on for many developers.
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Now, whether you’re a fan of Azure cloud or a Windows traditionalist, this partnership ensures that AI is available on both platforms and can work across multiple business functions.
In this partnership, Meta and Microsoft are creating a fusion that’s promising new innovations. Finally, because Microsoft has also invested in security and data protection, users can rest easy that the Meta + Microsoft large language model partnership is also protecting their data. Of course, as with any ecosystem partnership, it is advisable to identify exactly how cybersecurity works, and how you may need to enhance or overlay additional security layers to protect your data or a customer’s data.
Microsoft and KPMG
Microsoft didn’t stop the big announcements with Meta. It also launched an exciting partnership with KPMG. You could — and the partners did so in their press release — call it a landmark agreement for AI in professional services
KPMG and Microsoft are looking to transform professional services. Gone are the days of merely supplying cloud platforms or technology tools without professional managed services. Cut-rate cloud providers, who used to be able to sell on the basis of savings per virtual machine, are taking the hit in this new managed services-as-an-everything world.
Additionally, firms that were trying to compete on the basis of “unlimited data” such as DropBox have had to pull back from this approach as well — the profitability is now made in cloud plus services, not things like cloud storage alone. As such, this partnership aims to add a dose of AI wisdom to professional services functions including auditing, consulting, and business operations allowing more profit and more relevancy for both players.
Microsoft’s partnership with KPMG shows a willingness to venture into arenas traditionally reserved for suit-clad professionals that came at a high cost to most organizations. Through this partnership, the vision is that these costs can be lowered while the impact of professional services can be accelerated.
While this partnership is not about AI taking over the world, it is a little bit about giving it a corner office with a great view as AI ventures beyond routine matching and pattern tasks and enters the highly profitable arena of professional services. This analyst of course still awaits the day when AI can write passive-aggressive emails with the subtlety of a seasoned executive, but she may need to wait a little while longer for that functionality!
In conclusion, these two announcements from Microsoft are akin to an overture in a symphony of strategic collaboration. The Meta partnership beckons a future where AI is as common as caffeine at a developer’s conference, while the KPMG agreement takes AI from the confines of data centers into the nuanced world of professional services.
In its partnerships with Meta and KPMG, Microsoft has once again shown that it is not merely leaning into the ecosystem but doing so with gusto and strategic intent. It’s partnerships like these that prove Microsoft’s dedication to keeping its ecosystem not just alive, but thriving, as these collaborations represent a deliberate and significant step in Microsoft’s continuing march to innovate and integrate AI into our world.
I believe Microsoft is clearly leaning into AI strategically and with the intention of taking market share ownership — that makes them one to watch in your ecosystem and AI strategy.
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