Part 2: Leveraging Azure OpenAI to Grow Your Business

AI is the buzzword of the moment. Learn from the best of the best as Irina Petrakova-Otto, Microsoft Data & AI CTO of Global Partner Solutions, speaks with Partner1 in a series of conversations that dive into key aspects of this enigmatic space.

In this conversation, Irina Petrakova-Otto shares her perspectives on AI, industry trends, use-cases and ways for ISVs to leverage Azure OpenAI.



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Meet Irina Petrakova-Otto, a tech-savvy executive who loves to play with emerging technologies! With a wealth of experience in transforming tech organizations, Irina is a top talent magnet who knows how to motivate her team to achieve exceptional results. As Microsoft's CTO of Global Partner Solutions, she's responsible for partnering with over 40 global tech giants to develop and enable innovative solutions across five core solution areas - Data & AI, Infrastructure, Modern Work, Business Applications and Security.

But Irina's skills don't stop there! With extensive industry experience in Manufacturing, FSI, and Healthcare, she knows how to modernize existing infrastructure and drive the development of innovative solutions. And did we mention she holds an M.S. in Data Science from Johns Hopkins and is passionate about Data and AI?

In her free time, Irina is a fierce taekwondo competitor, working hard with her son to earn their black belts. So if you're looking for a tech-savvy executive who knows how to have fun, Irina Petrakova-Otto is your go-to person!

Irina, in our last conversation [link] we touched on the fundamentals of leveraging Azure OpenAI and building with Microsoft. Could you share a bit about Microsoft's strategy around Azure Open AI and how ISVs should think about it and incorporate it into their solutions?


Thank you for having me again. I'm really excited to talk to you and your audience about Azure OpenAI and how it can help ISVs create innovative and impactful solutions. As you know, Azure OpenAI is a powerful service that allows you to access the state-of-the-art generative models from OpenAI, such as GPT-4, and use them to generate natural language, images, code, and more. Azure OpenAI is part of Microsoft's broader vision to democratize AI and empower every developer and organization to build intelligent applications.

However, Azure OpenAI is not the only service that Microsoft offers in the AI space. In fact, Microsoft is probably the only platform today that offers comprehensive solutions across the breadth of AI.

When you're talking about AI, we're really thinking about different types of AI capabilities that can help you solve different types of problems. For example, Azure OpenAI is a generative AI service, which can generate information based on the data that it receives. But there are also other types of AI services, such as cognitive services, which can help you understand and analyze information from various sources, such as text, speech, images, video, etc. There are also machine learning services, which can help you train and deploy your own custom models using your own data. And there are also conversational AI services, which can help you create engaging and natural interactions with your users using bots and voice assistants.

 In addition to our AI offering, Microsoft offers low code/no code capabilities that can help you to accelerate development of your intelligent solutions. As a partner, you need to be very clear about the value proposition of your solutions and speed to market. You can use Microsoft tools to focus on the business side, not the technical side. You can also leverage our specialized models and platforms, chatbot service, virtual agents, Teams, and Business Apps. They are all infused with AI and ready to use. This way, you can create great services and add value without worrying about having deep technical expertise in AI space.

So, I think the key message here is that Azure OpenAI is a very powerful service that can help you generate amazing content and experiences for your customers. But it's not the only service that you should consider when building your solutions. You should also look at the other AI services that Microsoft offers and see how they can complement and enhance your solutions. By doing so, you will be able to create more holistic and intelligent applications that can truly delight your customers and differentiate yourself from the competition.


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Could you give us some examples of how businesses could implement this?

 When we're talking, for example, about patient care, you can augment information related to patient interaction with the system during virtual visit. During the virtual visit, you can really analyze the forms they submit and information they enter based on the visit. Based on this information, you potentially can provide information that is valuable to the patient. Let's say a person was diagnosed with diabetes. He or she can interact with chatbot based on the metrics such as high blood pressure or high sugar levels. Chatbot can provide some articles that will help to understand condition better or answer some questions or potentially can propose next steps such as schedule a visit or send a message to the doctor.

There are tons of scenario-based services built on applied AI services which you can leverage rather than building from scratch. People think in order to use AI, they have to have a Ph.D. but you have a ton of solutions available to build upon, even as a business user. Be open to experimenting. Make sure that you are understand your customer’s needs and how AI can help to solve their problems. In future discussions, we definitely can dig deeper in some of the scenarios.

This is how to think strategically about your integrating AI services into your business:

 - What's your value proposition?

- Is it technology itself?

- Is it business via value added?

- Or are you expanding on some platform?


As you determine answers to these questions, next step is rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping can be quite good and useful. For example, if there is an application you’re creating for some sort of form recognition, it's very easy to first create an app using form recognizer services. It will help to create the first block of solution to test it with customers, to review and ensure that what you're creating require any additional more complex functionalities or models. I would highly suggest before you create any models, you actually review out of box models and try to build on that and then consider customization or new development.

I highly suggest that you spend some time on learning about Microsoft offerings Azure Cognitive Services documentation | Microsoft Learn


There was a tremendous overview. It’s fantastic how Microsoft is basically democratizing access to creating solutions and new businesses, and democratizing AI.

 I'm so glad you asked me that. Azure OpenAI is a game changer that will accelerate and empower many organizations and entrepreneurs to develop groundbreaking solutions. You don't need to be an expert in coding or AI to create amazing applications with it. Just think about the possibilities for your business. You can use low code, no code platforms, Open AI and cognitive services to build something fast and powerful. I have been a developer for a long time. I love coding, but I also love seeing what non-coders can do with these tools.

If you are good at Excel spreadsheets, you have what it takes to make awesome apps with OpenAI services and more. Trust me, you won't regret it. Go ahead and try it today!


We need a whole separate piece on that fascinating aspect. It's such a low barrier of entry to new solution development.

 Yes! There are many other aspects of creating enterprise ready applications such security, data compliance and regulations, that you need to think about. These are not trivial matters when you deal with large amounts of data and sensitive information.

You have to be careful and responsible. But don't let that stop you from being creative and fast. You can still build solutions that are innovative and efficient. You can still be one of those innovative organizations that launch products in record time. And I hope you will be!

I'm excited to see what will come up with next! Thank you for your time and looking forward for the next conversation!


Overview of Co-Selling with Microsoft 

In the constantly evolving landscape of Microsoft's partner ecosystem, the AI Cloud Partner (Co-Sell) program stands out as a key element in driving collaborative engagement and marketplace-led commerce. Through Microsoft CoSell, partners, including SIs and independent software vendors (ISVs), gain access to a range of co-sell opportunities by leveraging the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace.

Leveraging the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace and Azure IP Co-Sell designation, partners can actively engage with Microsoft sellers to manage co sell opportunities, share leads and drive transactions. The MACC program creates new opportunities and further enhances the co-sell appeal, creating a strong incentive for partners to participate as it allows Azure IP Co sell eligible companies to tap into pre-committed cloud budget (an enterprise customer's MACC agreement) and accelerate procurement. This collaborative approach not only benefits individual partners but also contributes to the growth of the entire partner ecosystem.

As enterprises, including enterprise customers, increasingly seek innovative solutions, Microsoft's Co-Sell program continues to play a pivotal role in delivering marketplace-led commerce. The AI Cloud Partner program holds the potential to substantially increase transactions, drive deals and foster a culture of shared success within the Microsoft partner community. The co selling process includes shared activities, ensuring effective sales planning, co-selling with Microsoft, and building demand. Partners actively engaged in selling services through the Co-Sell program can see benefits increase substantially, creating a win-win scenario for both the partner and the customer.


Want to learn more about Irina Petrakova-Otto? Follow her on LinkedIn

Want to learn more about leveraging Microsoft’s ecosystem and Azure OpenAI? Follow us on Partner1 where we will be sharing Irina’s thoughts on how ISVs can leverage OpenAI to grow their business, and more. 



Juhi Saha
Juhi Saha

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