What a lovely discussion we had with Daniel Rusen, Marketing & Operations Director of Microsoft Romania! We all know lots about Microsoft, but we had the pleasure to learn so much more about how Microsoft is staying ahead of the curve with their innovative programs. Enjoy!
How important is innovation for your company?
At Microsoft, we believe that technology enables people to achieve more, so we strive for meaningful innovation through products and services that both improve our everyday life and have the potential to change the world for the better. It means putting tools in the hands of everyone and be at the center of tomorrow’s transformations.
How does your company “encourage” innovation?
We’ve been innovating for over 40 years now, and we plan to keep doing so. We invest in building groundbreaking technology and encourage people with bold ideas and ingenious projects to act and break down barriers.
We’ll continue investing in the long-term instead of focusing only on short-term gains.
What are the main areas of innovation?
We focus on empowering companies, regardless their size, to embark on their digital transformation journey and transform their business model through innovation. We specifically invest in those that are bold, optimistic and inclusive, grounded in trust, from diverse areas such as Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail and FSI.
We are nurturing ideas designed to have impact and conduct everyday innovation.
Does your company allocate a certain percent of the budget to R&D / innovation programs?
Microsoft’s notion of what innovation is has evolved over the years and the attitude towards it became a core aspect of the company. Today, we invest in over $12 billion a year in R&D and we are inspired by the genuine belief that through bold ideas we can drive a positive impact on the world.
Which are the out of the box/innovative global projects made for your customers?
At Microsoft, innovation means, among other, conceiving bold ideas like Project Natick which seeks to understand the benefits and difficulties in deploying subsea datacenters worldwide. The project is leveraging complex data management and processing technologies from submarines and the advantages of locating the datacenters on the ocean floor. It takes energy-hungry, space-consuming servers off the land and into the sea and it is the perfect example of a bold innovation that we are proud to pursue.
We also focus on innovations that directly influence our health and well-being through projects like InnerEye which seeks to employ AI and Machine Learning in order to improve results of reading radiological images. It is the kind of innovative technology that is grounded in trust and allows medicine to be easily and constantly redefined and adjusted.
Another project we are proud to mention is Timlogo, an innovative speech therapy platform which proves that AI leveraged in Azure, with practically unlimited cloud power and intelligence, can make our lives better. Timlogo aims to help children and adults have easier access to improved speech therapy by using cognitive tools, adapted to the linguistic specificity of the Romanian Language. The platform is highly interactive and tailors itself to the individual needs of the users.
Some of the other impactful projects have effects on the little things of our daily life, but in significant ways, such as Microsoft Translator, an innovation that facilitates translation in real time, available in 64 languages.
Where do you place Romania on the global innovation scale (in business services sector)?
We feel Romania is at a moment of outstanding potential. All the talent and experience accumulated in the IT industry over the last decade while working for a diverse set of clients is now entering a stage of innovation and entrepreneurship. As generations change, we will see more and more start-ups and investments in original IP, and we feel this will contribute greatly to the sustainability of the industry and the Romanian economy in general.
What are the major changes and challenges of our industry in terms of innovation?
Right now, we feel that skilling of employees for the era of automation and digitization is among the challenges we need to face. A strong digital economy is vital for innovation, growth, jobs and European competitiveness.
What we already see today happening is that the structure of employment is changing, leading to the automation of “routine” tasks and to the creation of new and different types of jobs. It will lead to the need for digital skills for nearly all jobs where ICT complements existing tasks. Careers such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, art, architecture, and many more – require increasing levels of digital skills. Every citizen will need to have at least basic digital skills to live, work, learn and participate in the modern society.