How Heineken is Driving Connections with Azure AI Services

Heineken prides itself on its connections with its customers and has a long-held determination to become the best-connected brewer. To achieve this, the company is investing a lot of time and resources in exploring the capabilities of AI across the business. Moreover, the team at Heineken are working closely with Microsoft and its AI solutions to be able to integrate solutions and quickly add value. For example, by using Azure Open AI Service and ChatGPT, Heineken is bringing new capabilities to its employees and innovating business processes. The company has found many use cases across the business and plans to roll out more software solutions in the future.

What Does Heineken Want to Achieve

Heineken, the Dutch multinational brewing company best known for its green-bottled pale lager, has long aimed to become the best-connected brewer. After all, connections with its customers form the foundation of the 157-plus-year business. The company prides itself on knowing what makes its customers tick, understanding their pain points and building long-lasting relationships.

However, digitisation has changed the roles of many of its employees and how it connects with employees and customers. To help continue its mission, Heineken created the Evergreen strategy, which aimed to explore how to keep growing, build more connections and innovate. While the company wanted to explore more digital tools, the strategy focused on the customer and business first. The idea is that by looking into customer pain points and creating actionable insights, they could build a bigger business. 

To drive its strategy forward, Heineken needed to use data; after all, it has become the fuel of almost every business. However, they didn’t just want access to data; they wanted to unleash its power and use it to predict demand and customer trends, inform how to connect with social media events, enable targeted sales activities and more. It was clear that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) would be fundamental. 

How is Microsoft AI Providing the Solution?

Microsoft has been fundamental in helping Heineken create a seamless customer experience across the whole supply chain, so it was an obvious choice to work together to advance its mission. With Microsoft’s suite of AI solutions, Heineken believes it will be able to improve connections between its employees and resources, drive data-led decisions and, ultimately, better connect its customers to the products they know and love. 

Heineken has been using AI to transform its business processes for a while now. They have completed hackathons with the Microsoft team to help boost employee awareness of the technologies they use and their capabilities for streamlining and automating processes. The process has helped them learn how generative AI can help the company and enabled them to do some coding with the Power Platform. 

One of the more recent initiatives has been Heinekens’ chatbot solution. As many of its employees were experimenting with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the company decided to launch its own using Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service. By doing this, it could deliver greater security and governance while enabling employees to leverage the advantages of chatbot technology through Teams within the company ecosystem. 

However, Heineken is still in the exploration phase, and there is demand for more AI-based chatbots and solutions. While they can’t give everyone everything immediately, they are looking at use cases and working out how to add value. The semantic search capabilities of Azure AI services have been a massive advantage in helping employees find the exact information they need across the organisation. The technology saves time, money and frustration, as employees can quickly ask the chatbot instead of scouring for information. Potential future uses include an internal chatbot to connect employees with resources, one to help executives access financial data and another to help manage equipment across the supply chain, as well as an intelligent document processing project for employees in the field. The company has also been piloting an AI-enabled voice pot to help its sales reps log issues and trigger processes. 

The Benefits of Microsoft Azure AI Services

Azure AI Services offer businesses a wide range of capabilities, allowing them to enhance customer experiences, optimise operations, and make data-driven decisions, ultimately leading to improved efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. Here are some of the core services that could benefit your business:

  • Azure Cognitive Services – enabling businesses to integrate natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, and speech recognition capabilities into their applications, improving user experiences and automating various tasks.
  • Azure Machine Learning – providing a comprehensive machine learning platform for building, training, deploying, and managing machine learning models, leading to data-driven decision-making, predictive analytics, and automation of processes.
  • Azure Bot Service – allowing organisations to create intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants that enhance customer support, streamline inquiries, and improve customer engagement.
  • Azure Databricks – offering a unified analytics platform that combines big data and AI, enabling businesses to extract insights from large datasets and optimise data-driven decision-making.
  • Azure Speech Service – providing speech recognition and synthesis capabilities, making applications more accessible and enhancing communication and accessibility features.
  • Azure Metrics Advisor – providing AI-driven monitoring and anomaly detection for time-series data, helping businesses proactively address performance issues and ensure system reliability.
  • Azure Form Recogniser – automating data extraction from documents, invoices, and receipts, improving efficiency in document processing and reducing manual data entry.
  • Azure Translator – supporting real-time translation and localisation of content, enabling global businesses to expand their reach and cater to diverse audiences.

Will Your Company Embrace AI? 

AI is an evolving technology that offers vast potential to every business. By partnering with Microsoft, Heineken has found a strategic partner that can deliver a huge variety of products that can be easily implemented and integrated with existing products. Ultimately, Microsoft‘s Azure AI services offer businesses the scalability, flexibility and security to drive innovation and growth