Ahmed Mazhari, President, of Asia, Microsoft, told Moneycontrol at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos that Indian technology businesses have a tremendous chance to become enabling engines at this pivotal juncture in artificial intelligence (AI).

This comes only days after IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said that India would be at the forefront of AI implementation.

This seminal moment of AI creates this immense opportunity for tech companies in India to be the ‘enablement engine’ of not only domestic companies in the country, but think about the work being done by the likes of Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, TCS, or even Tech Mahindra in our space,” Mazhari said in a statement.

He went on to say, “We as a company are confident to back these companies, to train them, to kill them, to offer the IP so that they can help implement AI for customers in North America, Europe, and different parts of the world.

Mazhari said that he had the opportunity to interact with numerous Indian CEOs, including representatives from the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), during his time at WEF.

The dialogue around has been how the Indian tech industry was born around the Y2K (Year 2000) moment, which was a period in time where something had to be done and that laid the foundation for transformation in the tech stack,” he went on to say.

Gen AI Collaboration with the Indian Government

Microsoft has also been working closely with the Indian government to provide generative AI capabilities. In May 2023, it introduced Jugalbandi, a multilingual chatbot driven by generative AI that could be accessible via WhatsApp. The chatbot was created to reach rural communities in India that have limited media access and little information about government social programs.

Mazhari said that within months of the chatbot’s release to the market, farmers were able to converse and participate on topics such as subsidies and when to produce certain crops.

We have established a little initiative in Baramati called Farms of the Future. What’s intriguing is that in a highly controlled trial, we’re seeing the capacity to drive much better levels of productivity. For example, with tomatoes, we think that using AI vs non-AI farming might result in a 30 to 50% boost in plant production,” he stated.

Hiring Plans in Asia

While generally, tech businesses have remained hopeful about future development, they have also continued to lay off staff, as shown with Google.

When questioned about Microsoft’s recruiting ambitions in India, Mazhari said, “Our business is to help our consumers and customers succeed. So we’re allocating the appropriate resources to our consumers. Some of our clients are collaborating with us on proof-of-concept. Some are climbing them. So we’re aligning our resources to match the opportunity,” he said.

He said, “I would advise Indian CEOs and enterprises to seize this opportunity. Because this potential is evolving at a rate that we have not seen before. And firms like Microsoft and others in the ecosystem are willing to assist, empower, and educate.