Vodafone Teams Up with Microsoft to Transform Customer Experiences with GenAI

Vodafone will make a $1.5BN investment into Microsoft's cloud and AI services as part of the deal

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Published: January 16, 2024

James Stephen

Microsoft has signed a ten-year strategic partnership with Vodafone.

The partnership aims to pave the way for Vodafone to enhance its customer experience with generative AI, accelerate its digital transformation, and scale its new, standalone IoT business.

Moreover, the deal will allow Vodafone to expand the reach of M-PESA – its mobile money service – across Africa.

Lastly, Vodafone will leverage Microsoft technology to develop new digital and financial services for businesses.

In return, Vodafone will invest $1.5BN into Microsoft’s cloud and AI services over the next ten years.

Meanwhile, the enterprise tech giant will leverage Vodafone’s fixed and mobile connectivity services and invest in its managed IoT connectivity program.

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, commented on the new partnership: “Today, Vodafone has made a bold commitment to the digital future of Europe and Africa.

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.

Key Areas of Collaboration

Generative AI in CX: Vodafone will leverage Microsoft Azure Open AI to deliver real-time, frictionless, and personalized customer experiences across its customer touchpoints.

While it didn’t go much further, Vodafone suggested it would augment its digital assistant TOBi with GenAI. Doing so may allow Vodafone to automate the development of new virtual agent flows and broaden its score.

Vodafone staff will also be able to use Microsoft Copilot, putting AI capabilities at their fingertips to help improve their productivity and efficiency.

In the contact center, for example, Microsoft found that Copilot had reduced the average call handling time by 12 percent.

Internet of Things: Microsoft will invest in Vodafone’s global Internet of Things (IoT) managed connectivity platform, which brings connectivity to 175 million devices and platforms globally.

As a part of Microsoft’s Azure ecosystem, its IoT platform will be available to its developer and third-party community via open APIs.

Africa’s M-Pesa Platform: Microsoft is planning to scale M-Pesa, Africa’s largest fintech platform, by adding it to Azure and integrating new cloud-native apps.

As well as seeking to improve financial services innovations and a developer community, the two companies are also launching a program to help one million small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 100 million consumers to improve digital literacy, skilling, youth outreach, and digital services.

Microsoft’s Cloud Services: Vodafone has committed to distributing Microsoft services, such as Microsoft Azure, security solutions, and Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile.

As a result, its business customers may more quickly deploy low-cost Microsoft cloud services and support for an estimated 24 million SMEs.

Cloud Transformation: Vodafone will speed up its cloud transformation efforts by utilizing Microsoft Azure, which Microsoft believes will enhance its responsiveness to customers and reduce operational costs.

The telecoms giant will be able to switch its physical data centers for virtual ones throughout Europe, which will also help to cut down on the company’s energy usage.

Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft, spoke about the benefits of its AI and cloud services:

“This new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organization and every industry around the world.

“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.”

 

 

Digital TransformationGenerative AI

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