The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business Management: Beyond the Technology

Alberto Granados, Rodrigo Gribble, Óscar Candiles and María Garaña.

On 6 November 2023, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the dialogue "The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business Management: Beyond Technology", with the participation of Alberto Granados, Rodrigo Gribble, Óscar Candiles and María Garaña.

Alberto Granados is President of Microsoft Spain where he will lead a team of around 850 professionals in Spain, focused on helping companies and public organisations in their digitalisation processes, as well as establishing alliances and collaborations to drive innovation and sustainability. Granados has extensive experience in the management of digital transformation projects in large companies in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and the application of Artificial Intelligence in sectors such as finance, tourism, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, with a special focus on the application of innovative solutions to improve sustainability in multinationals in the energy and manufacturing industries. He has also designed Microsoft's investment models in technology startups and has led projects for the migration to the Microsoft cloud of gaming in Japan and South Korea. Alberto studied computer science at the Polytechnic University of Madrid and has completed postgraduate studies at IESE, INSEAD, MIT Sloan School of Management, Saïd Business School (Oxford University) and Harvard Business School. He is also an advisor to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Rodrigo Gribble is General Manager and Corporate Vice President at Novo Nordisk Spain. Gribble holds a degree in Systems Engineering from the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala and a Master of Science degree from the same university. He also holds an MBA from the French business school INSEAD. He started his career in important multinationals such as Procter & Gamble and Microsoft in Latin America. In the last 10 years, he has held different strategic positions at AstraZeneca in the Cardiovascular and Metabolism Area in Spain and, in the last three years, he has led the cardiovascular unit of this company worldwide from the UK.

Óscar Candiles. B2C Business Director. Industrial Engineer from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (ICAI), graduated in Market Research and Techniques from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (ICADE) and holds a Master's degree from the London School of Economics.After a brief period in the world of consultancy and a Master's degree, he joined Telefónica de España in 1999. He developed a first period of his experience in marketing and commercial areas of Public and SMEs in Telefónica de España until 2006. That year he became a group executive in Telefónica, S.A., in global areas in projects related to the creation of Competence Centres, the creation of Telefónica Digital, development of VC activity... In 2011 he rejoined Telefónica de España as Sales Director of the Central Territory and a year later he became Marketing Director of GP where he played a relevant role in the launch of Fusión, the development of fibre and television. In 2018 he was appointed Strategy Director and became part of the Management Committee of Telefónica de España.

María Garaña Corces Member of the Boards of Alantra, Forterro and Tui. She has been Vice President of the Business Solutions division in Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) with responsibility for sales, marketing and operations of the Microsoft Dynamics business in the region. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard University, a degree in International Trade from the University of Berkeley and a degree in Business Administration and Law from the University of San Pablo CEU in Madrid. María Garaña joined Microsoft in 2002 as Director of Operations and Marketing for Microsoft Mexico. Three years later, she became General Manager of Microsoft for the Southern Cone of Latin America, with responsibility for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. In 2008 she was appointed President of Microsoft Spain. She comes from the Zoom Media publishing group, based in Miami, where she held the position of CEO. In the same sector, she held senior positions within Grupo Televisión Azteca. She has also worked for Merrill Lynch International in London, Andersen Consulting in Madrid and Istanbul and Citibank in Madrid. María Garaña is a member of the Board of Directors of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) within the European Commission. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Liberbank, Euler-Hermes in Paris (Alliance Group) and the investment bank N+1. In addition, he is a member of the Advisory Committee of Harvard Business School in Spain. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Rafael del Pino Foundation.


On 6 November 2023, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the dialogue "Impact of artificial intelligence on business management: beyond technology", with the participation of Alberto Granados, President of Microsoft Spain; Rodrigo Gribble, General Manager and Corporate Vice President at Novo Nordisk Spain; Óscar Candiles, Director of B2C Business at Telefónica, and María Garaña, member of the Boards of Alantra, Forterro and Tui.

Alberto Granados: It is a unique moment from the point of view that, since the invention of the printing press, there has never been anything as disruptive as artificial intelligence. AI, and in particular generative AI, changes everyone's life. For Microsoft it is a strategic project. We are totally transforming the company. We see it as an agent that augments human capability, it's not something that replaces it. It's a co-pilot. It is something that is going to accompany you in all tasks, in all scenarios, and that is going to make the capacity you are going to have for productivity, for performance, much higher. According to MacKinsey, in the last two decades, human productivity has decreased from 2.4% to 2.1%, but artificial intelligence, particularly generative artificial intelligence, can add three additional productivity points. Those affected are not the less skilled workforce, but the information handlers, who can benefit most, for example, from being able to generate a legal document, to ask the system whether a legal document has any holes in it. This is not just a technology project. Many of the Ibex-35 companies are already working on projects to adopt and disseminate this technology and these projects are led by the CEO. They are strategic projects of the board, in which the chief technology officer, the human resources director must be seated, because this is a cultural and change management project, and there must be an AI office responsible, a regulatory committee. We are going to have scenarios where all companies will be AI companies and an algorithm can expose them from the point of view of ethical credibility, with customers, with partners. Therefore, there has to be a regulatory committee. This is a structural project, affecting all areas.

Óscar Candiles: At Telefónica we are embracing it as something that is going to change the way we work, the way we operate our services, the way we operate the network. It is something that is going to help you transform everything. When you look at the different parts of the company, being able to have more predictive maintenance of the network with this technology has an impact on the customer, with better satisfaction, fewer problems, fewer breakdowns. In the field of commercial service, it is not about replacing people, but when a person has to deal with a commercial call, they have to handle a lot of information that, many times, is very difficult to manage for someone to whom we are giving an argument, product descriptions, prices. Having an advisor who allows you to have a conversation with the customer in a fluid and much more documented way is customer satisfaction. It is something that is going to allow us to transform our business on a technical and commercial level and implies that all areas of the company analyse their processes and see how artificial intelligence allows them to do things better.

Rodrigo Gribble: For a pharmaceutical company, there are two axes we have to focus on. One is to generate innovation, to bring new medicines that attack existing diseases, and the second is to improve the quality of life of patients. This is where artificial intelligence is already being used. On the innovation side, every drug that is approved has to go through part 3 at the end of the process, which is to work with human beings. These studies can cost between 100 and 500 million dollars. It is important that every drug that is brought for approval is successful, because you have a lot at stake in those trials. With artificial intelligence we are more predictive, combining molecules, and we have a better chance that the drugs will be more successful in getting approved. Today, it costs 2.3 billion to develop a drug. If we are able to double the probability of success, the impact on profitability will be critical. The second, perhaps more important, part is how quickly we are able to get the right drug into the hands of the right patient. With artificial intelligence we can have better predictability because we can better analyse which patients need our drugs and we can speed up our regulatory processes, make sure trials run faster.

Óscar Candiles: In Telefónica there are three levels. The first is, beyond the people who are going to join, the people who are already here. It is very important that people feel comfortable with these changes, because they generate a lot of internal debate. There is a very important level of re-qualification, and that is something we are working on. Then, of the people who join us, we try to ensure that there are certain more protected areas where we try to get people to join, because they are then distributed throughout the organisation. One of these areas is the one most closely related to data and analytics, related to algorithms and artificial intelligence, where we have made an effort to bring people in and, from there, move on to other areas. The other issue is to make a lot of use of what artificial intelligence means. It is very important that it is clear to people how we are going to use it.

Alberto Granados: We were already in a strategy of continuous growth. You don't know everything, but you want to learn everything. That way of orienting ourselves is very much linked to artificial intelligence. The secret to AI adoption is to create a continuous learning environment. Nobody is going to know everything from day one. In fact, it is a model of experimentation. What we apply ourselves we help customers to apply as well. What we are also seeing, internally and externally, is that personal skills have never been more important, for example, empathy, that people can have more time to listen to the customer and understand them better, how we collaborate more within the company, even create incentive models to help others. When we are doing mass adoption projects in other companies, one area we are looking at is who is better at using it, people under 40 or over 40. The best ones are over 40 because they know how to delegate, they understand the processes better. From a human resources point of view, it has never been more important how forms from the point of view of collaboration, delegation, aspects that young people don't necessarily do as well. People in traditional professions have a huge transformation challenge for the new world because those kinds of aspects have never been more necessary.

Rodrigo Gribble: AI is not yet part of local companies. We have teams that are focused on making this a reality, but only in certain parts. In Spain we are taking important steps. One of the big challenges we have in providing a service to a healthcare professional is the amount of information we have to manage. There are hundreds of scientific articles published every day and we do not have the capacity to consume this information widely. Having artificial intelligence to help us find and filter information and train us in our areas and interests is critical. As the company's information is confidential, the company has created its own ChatGPT. I do NOT have access to all scientific information from all companies, but it helps me a lot to filter, to focus on certain areas that are of interest to me. The algorithms understand it better and better to suggest me the information I should consume. The same goes for sales representatives, for whom it is a challenge to be able to be with healthcare professionals. We are trying to incorporate new profiles that help us to make data-driven decision-making more dynamic, that help us to structure the information and make it more readable. These are the two big areas in which AI is helping us to improve. The big challenge is cultural because there is still some fear and resistance, but we are on the right track.

There are three areas of concern. One is the belief that everything in artificial intelligence is correct, when it is not. ChatGPT is not a substitute for a doctor and its recommendations cannot be taken lightly. We are very concerned about that area because patient safety comes first and there is a lot of confusion. If we move a bit further, there are two areas of concern. In one we can do little and there is a need for regulation. It is about using AI to make chemical weapons. That is one of the things we are concerned about and so legislation needs to be put in place so that there is no misuse. Then there is another area where we have made a lot of progress as a society, which is on the issue of data processing, maintaining patient confidentiality. What allows us to better identify patients to be candidates, possibly also allows us to identify people, maybe not an individual, but certain groups, so confidentiality starts to be lost. That is why we need to legislate so that patient information remains anonymous.

Alberto Granados: At Microsoft we have already worked with the National Institute of Technology and Standards in the United States on the first legislation that was published and we think that this has to be regulated. We have learned a lot from the financial environment, whose regulation has been the most advanced, in which institutions had to report to the regulator if there were suspicious transactions in which there could be fraud, etc. The data always has to be owned by the individual, this is a fundamental right. As a cloud provider I must have an ethical obligation to report something when I use it, for what purpose and how. Finally, I have to know when something is generating with AI by watermarking it. Artificial intelligence must always have a human brake and that is part of the legislation.

Óscar Candiles: This implies management and control, in the same way that there is a global nuclear agency. Each application must be contrasted and regulated, due to the possibilities of fraud and identity theft. It is a source of potential problems that we will not be able to control individually. The question is how to define that framework to regulate this with the right balance that does not stifle innovation.

These new technologies are possible because we have good network infrastructures and at the customers' homes. Spain is one of the most fortunate countries in this respect because the networks allow us to have fixed and mobile experiences, and with a capillarity that is difficult to achieve in other countries. Today, Spain has a great competitive advantage, which we do not know how long it will last because the whole world is making progress in the deployment of new generation networks.

Alberto Granados: At Microsoft we are working a lot with local companies of all sizes. We are creating partnerships that we are part of where big companies are sharing algorithms so that small companies can learn. Also very important is how to look at the social and governance environment and artificial intelligence has a direct impact. For example, it is helping the environment, with predictive models on climate change, or to see how artificial intelligence is inclusive. We are also helping public administrations to adopt artificial intelligence, but in a transparent way. This has an impact on society and it is about having a better society.

Rodrigo Gribble: In Spain we have a formidable health system, with exceptional professionals. What we have failed to do is to connect the system with its different parts. Until recently, hospital care was not fully integrated with primary care. This creates barriers to integrating information and data. In Spain, with a little more investment in infrastructure and being able to structure the information better, we can be a pioneer in the scientific provision of information that helps in the development of drugs and comprehensive patient treatment.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.