For Tania Cosentino, companies must be flexible, but they must not “jump headfirst” into new technologies
Technology innovation cycles occur in increasingly shorter windows, and CEOs no longer have the luxury of waiting to replicate the result in their own businesses. “Before, there was time to train the team, study the technology, and see proven cases. Today there is no longer time for that,” says Tania Cosentino, president of Microsoft in Brazil. IM Business.
The executive’s recommendation is not at all trivial. In addition to Tanya’s career spanning more than 40 years, holding leadership positions in important multinational companies, Microsoft was the company that gave impetus to AI initiatives with the OpenAI project, which created the famous ChatGPT. “It is important to discuss innovation. But this is not a call to jump into technology without assessing whether or not there is maturity within the company.
Despite the pressures that may occur, executives shouldn’t view technology as a fad, the executive says. Cybersecurity and AI have listed themselves as topics that executive level and board members should not leave aside. “Cybersecurity is the number one risk for businesses, so there is nothing trendy about it. AI is a powerful tool that, if used well, can transform businesses.”
Digital security and artificial intelligence in particular are among the tech giant’s bets for Brazil. In addition to offering cybersecurity, with a focus on data protection, the company intends to expand its AI offerings for businesses, through “copilots,” which are virtual assistants who help with the tools the company sells, such as Power BI and 365 (formerly Office). In the future, the idea is to allow customers to create their own assistants to deliver products and services.
“We recommend to our clients to start small and in controlled environments. If you decide on a large implementation, you may encounter very big problems and create an aversion to technology,” adds Tania, who will lecture on this topic during the HSM+ 2023 conference, which will be held at the end of November in São Paulo. “…
Microsoft has also adapted
Tanya recalls that within Microsoft itself, a change in culture was important for the company to lead technology transformation again. “Too often, companies that don’t innovate end up falling behind, as we saw with Xerox and Kodak. The problem was not a lack of innovation capacity, but rather its integration into the business.
The executive says Satya Nadella’s rise to global leadership of the company, in early 2014, served as a driving force for internal transformation. “Microsoft understood that and Satya built the concepts of a growth mindset, where we basically operate on the idea that we don’t know everything, that we need to work together, and that we have to be willing to make mistakes eventually.” Lists the executive branch.
“When we talk about a technology company, our responsibility is not to waste time. So, we quickly tested it in a controlled environment, measured it, and if it worked, we scaled it. If it didn’t work, we canceled it and moved on to the next stage,” he adds. It requires maturity and a change of mindset.
Tanya realizes that this practice, similar to the agile methods that are starting to gain popularity in large organizations, is not that simple for all business models. It is often necessary to make efforts. “There’s an old saying that you have to be the one to create the next change in your business – if you don’t, your competitor will, and it will be very difficult to follow. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think that’s the difference between success and failure.” .
Knowing that you don’t know
There is another change in the image of the leaders themselves. If previously the CEO was the leadership that had the answers to everything, today the vision is just the opposite. “There was an image of the leader as a hero, and that is not the case. A leader must be prepared to say, “I don’t know.” He emphasizes that a good leader is one who knows how to ask questions and excite his talents.
Tanya goes back to another internal culture at Microsoft to give an example. “We work with three pillars. Leadership must set an example for its employees, and today everyone notices if behavior does not meet requirements. You must be curious and provocative for your team, but you also have to have empathy, active listening and care for your team.
“Hardcore beer fanatic. Falls down a lot. Professional coffee fan. Music ninja.”