Vodafone and Microsoft have announced a new 10-year strategic partnership that will see the organisations collaborate in a number of ways, from transforming Vodafone’s customer experience using Microsoft’s Gen AI expertise to overhauling its global data centre cloud strategy.
As part of the partnership, Vodafone says it will invest US$1.5bn over the next decade in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed in conjunction with Microsoft.
Microsoft will also invest in Vodafone’s managed IoT connectivity platform, which is set to become a separate, standalone business by April 2024.
According to both companies, the digital services generated by the partnership will use the latest generative AI technology to enhance customer experience across multiple channel, built on unbiased and ethical privacy and security policies under Vodafone’s framework for responsible AI.
Vodafone and Microsoft to collaborate on Gen AI, scaling IoT, enterprise growth and cloud transformation
Announcing the far reaching partnership, the two companies have identified five key areas of collaboration.
The companies will apply the power of Microsoft Azure OpenAI to deliver frictionless, real-time, proactive and hyper-personalised experiences across Vodafone customer touchpoints, including its TOBi digital assistant.
Vodafone employees will also be able to leverage the AI capabilities of Microsoft Copilot to transform working practices, boost productivity and improve digital efficiency.
Microsoft also intends to invest in Vodafone’s new global Internet of Things (IoT)-managed connectivity platform, which connects 175 million devices and platforms worldwide. Vodafone will extend its commitment to distributing Microsoft services, including Microsoft Azure, security solutions and modern work offerings such as Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile, as part of its strategy to become Europe’s leading platform for business.
“This unique strategic partnership with Microsoft will accelerate the digital transformation of our business customers, particularly small and medium-sized companies, and step up the quality of customer experience for consumers,” comments Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive Officer, describing the partnership as a “bold commitment” to the digital future of Europe and Africa.
“This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organization and every industry around the world,” adds Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft. “We are delighted that together with Vodafone we will apply the latest cloud and AI technology to enhance the customer experience of hundreds of millions of people and businesses across Africa and Europe, build new products and services, and accelerate the company’s transition to the cloud.”
Vodafone's transformation strategy: Creating digital experiences for customers
For Vodafone creating digital experiences for customers is key, explained Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Scott Petty when he spoke with us about Vodafone’s transformation strategy towards a New Gen Telco.
Part of this strategy, Petty explained, is around how Vodafone reacts and serves its customers, including everything from their mobile apps through to AI chatbots, to e-commerce platforms, and even the retail and contact centre environments.
“It’s about creating fantastic digital experiences for our customers to help us sell better and help us service our customers better. And we really see that translating into both revenue growth opportunities and cost efficiency.”
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