The media company's collaboration with the technology giant saw the experiment being conducted on the Stadium Astro platform using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
The two-month experiment until August 2017 was designed to increase Astro's capability to understand consumers' interests better. With Azure's cloud infrastructure, Astro's big data solutions could crunch billions of hypotheses in seconds to determine the needs of each consumer, allowing it to personalise customer experiences in real-time.
This would drive better economic outcomes for both consumers and advertisers.
Celebrating the milestone as part of Astro's digital transformation, Astro chief digital and marketing officer, Ridhuan Sidek, said Astro was pursuing a 'consumer first' narrative to keep pace with the changing business landscape.
"One of our strategic initiative is the ability to adapt and respond better to the interests of our customers and this initiative was crucial to making it possible. Over the year, we have built our capabilities in AI, data sciences, algorithms and analytics within the company," he said.
He said during the experiment, Astro observed a significant improvement in the click-through rate across Stadium Astro's content recommendations, indicating that more people were reading the website's content as they were more relevant.
Ridhuan said the challenged faced by Astro during this stage was trying to understand customer interests fast enough and adapt to their needs while they were still on the Stadium Astro website.
"Through the Digital Customer Profiling technology, the Astro team is able to predict a visitor's interest with a certain level of statistical certainty. This results into tailored content for each visitor on the Stadium Astro website based on their preferences and importantly, a more relevant user experience.
"The Azure platform's flexibility and cost-effective model allowed Astro to customize and take view of infrastructure optimisation considerations during the course of the project," he said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Malaysia chief marketing and operations officer, Michal Golebiewski, congratulated the team on this partnership.
"Since Microsoft established its presence in Malaysia over 25 years ago, our technology has helped transform the way people work, learn, play and communicate. Microsoft has a long-standing relationship with Astro over the years, however, this is the first time Microsoft has worked so closely with Astro on a cloud-based big data initiative.
"We are confident that our trusted cloud solutions will propel Astro's digital transformation to enable them to deliver exceptional customer experience," he said.
To build the Digital Customer Profiling platform, Astro worked together with Kasatria Technologies Sdn Bhd, a local MSC Status company and a Microsoft partner. Kasatria is a Technology Innovation Grant recipient from the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and have patents filed in both Malaysia and the U.S. in the area of Digital Customer Profiling using Micro-Conversions.
Commenting on the collaboration, MDEC chief operating officer, Datuk Ng Wan Peng said industries must move fast to meet expectations as today's consumer lifestyles choices have transformed to digital, mobile and personalised.
"We congratulate Astro and Microsoft on this partnership and we hope that with Astro taking the initial step, the Malaysian media and entertainment industry will follow suit and embrace digital transformation to stay in the game," he said.
The Microsoft Azure cloud services have allowed organisations – both large corporations and modest enterprises – to be innovative.
Check out the video below on Astro AWANI's recent interview with Azizah Ali, Microsoft Malaysia's director for Small and Mid-Market Solutions and Partner Group on how Microsoft is driving transformation with Malaysian SME organisations.