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Land on your feet with Microsoft 365 Copilot

Land on your feet with Microsoft 365 Copilot

As per usual, technology advances and changes constantly. We’ve been keeping up with developments and also recently ran a focus group with some of our clients. Here we share this month’s developments, updates and insights gleaned from our conversations with Microsoft, early adopters and tech savvy clients.

Microsoft Copilot is available on general availability from November 1st worldwide, but only if you have EA/EAS/MCA-E contracts. Users must be licensed for Microsoft 365 E3/E5 to be eligible for the add-on. It’ll bring Copilot in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Teams, Loop, M365 Chat. Note that not all languages will be supported from the start. It’ll cost $30 per user per month with a minimum of 300 seats. On first release there isn’t be an option to ‘trial’ it. We’re awaiting updates on when it will be available for our clients not on EA. It sounds like Microsoft wanted to tightly control the waves of adoption.

There’s a number of other pre-requisites – let us know if you want to discuss them with us.

5 hot topics from October ‘23

Use cases

We know you’re mulling over the value-add and potential use cases. We think there’s going to be some widely applicable use cases (like meeting summarisation) and broad industry specific ones are emerging (like agreement drafting). But we’re convinced that the highest value use cases are going to come from bottom-up end user experimentation and probably can’t be imagined or architected right now. They will come from groups of users being empowered to experiment and test and tweak until tangible results emerge.

Satya Nadella talked at Microsoft Envision London about Copilot being a grassroots conversation. AI democratisation is at the core of M365 Copilot, putting AI into the hands of users with limited specialised knowledge or time. From a leadership perspective, that probably means facilitating a ‘playing with it’ process and being open to see where it goes.

Timescales

There seems an air of haste in the atmosphere, and its nothing like we’ve experienced before ahead of a Microsoft product launch. ChatGPT took 3 months to reach 100million users. Facebook took 4.5 years. But in our opinion ‘access to tech’ is very different to being ‘transformative with tech’. The latter takes time.

Think back to when you moved your data and apps to Microsoft cloud, it took time for digital transformation to be transformative when you got into full swing collaborating and being more productive with the apps. We think its wise to take a pragmatic approach to riding the hype curve and set out a realistic roadmap so that you don’t take 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

Being driven by user demand

Whilst we think it’ll take time to be transformative with M365 Copilot, it’s likely you could start to feel pressure from tech savvy users already tapping into tools like ChatGPT. It might be better to provide your corporate AI tools, rather than risk the age old shadow IT situation. We urge you to head the lessons learned from lockdown when users wandered off into Zoom and GoogleDocs as IT teams scrambled to get their corporate Microsoft Teams established. Perhaps direct those demanding users into your champions group and start getting their input on the potential they see for their jobs.

Minimal viable data governance

Judson Althoff (Microsoft’s Chief Commercial Officer) talked at Microsoft Envision London about the constant wrangle with your data estate, compounded by the fact it never stops moving and growing. We all know this to be true, and just because Microsoft 365 Copilot might demand we pull our socks up on data housekeeping, it’s not suddenly got any easier. Permissions hygiene is complex, sensitivity labelling can’t be rushed. Yes we’re specialist in this, but no we have no #hack to offer you to shortcut the work that has to be done. We can however speed it up by removing barriers and lending you our team to deliver on Purview adoption and get some quick wins so you get to an acceptable threshold for releasing generative AI.   

Guidelines for responsible AI

Microsoft have published a huge amount of information on their principles, practices and standards. But in terms of YOUR stance, chances are this is unchartered territory. We think we will see industries collaborating to land best practices in this self-regulated situation and that actually regulated industries might lead the way here. London Stock Exchange seem to be championing this approach as they set out to be the ‘gold standard’ in the financial sector. Nerika Maharaj is especially keen to shoot the breeze on AI policy so feel free to get in touch.  

Some suggestions for November ‘23

  • Check out Microsoft Ignite sessions on 15-16 November. 
  • Explore your Compliance Score. If anything it’s a great conversation starter on maturity levels. This eBook will show you how to use it.
  • Think about who should be involved in your ‘steering committee’ around Microsoft 365 Copilot and schedule your first meeting.
  • Watch our webinar on launching Microsoft 365 Copilot if you missed it