What we learned as early adopters of Copilot

  • Posted on December 18, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
four key tips for copilot success

Don’t “tell me, show me.” Encouraging people to adopt new technology these days takes more than talk about innovative features. We now expect anything new to be inherently better and faster. Before we truly adopt it, we want to see its potential. It’s a shift from prioritizing technology to prioritizing people. That’s the approach Avanade took in our Copilot for Microsoft 365 ‘Client Zero’ initiative.

As one of the first companies to test and experience Microsoft’s new AI-powered digital assistant, we chose to immerse ourselves in the tool’s potential. This quest taught us the importance of a methodical and strategic change enablement approach, enabling us to fine-tune our application of Copilot for Microsoft 365 and revealing that its true value extends beyond productivity metrics. Copilot has the potential to fundamentally transform our approach to work, amplifying creativity and expanding our scope beyond completing tasks.

Perhaps more importantly, our first-hand experience offers clients an authentic adoption blueprint. Here are four key lessons we learned to help smooth the journey to a more efficient and innovative future:

Lesson 1: Recognize the steep learning curve

"Sometimes I'm not exactly sure which Copilot prompt to use."

Initiation into Copilot's ecosystem was about acclimatization as much as it was about immediate gains. In early days, people were still figuring out what the tool could do and how to incorporate it into their daily tasks:

  • Gradual beginnings: In the first few weeks, significant time savings were elusive: 89% of users reported less than one hour saved per day. Half of our users saw no change in the quality of their work output, suggesting that they were focused on understanding and navigating the new system rather than on enhancing their own performance.
  • Adapting through insights: As users began to hit their stride working with Copilot in weeks 3 and 4, 52% of users reported greater ease with previously challenging features.

Lesson 2: Unlock potential with ongoing support and experimentation

"People have started integrating Copilot into their daily operations... which has been a significant advantage."

The user experience improved significantly during the integration phase, with approval ratings soaring to 83% by week 6. Across roles, 67% of users reported an increase in the quality of their work, while 75% acknowledged the tool's effectiveness in automating tasks. Users began reporting time savings of 2-3 hours per day – a substantial shift in productivity. But there were caveats:

  • A tale of two users: Despite these reported gains, 17% of users remained less engaged, highlighting varying adoption rates and underscoring the need for continued support in widespread integration. For daily users, the transformation was profound. They reported greater success in finding work-related answers and improved task-switching, which helped reduce cognitive fatigue.
  • The changing face of workflows: The daily use of Copilot revolutionized work habits. Users experienced a 30% improvement in focus and a 70% greater likelihood of adopting a creative approach to tasks. Collaboration and teamwork saw a 50% boost, and the same percentage reported heightened creativity and innovation at work. These figures highlight the potential for Copilot to bring about significant transformation when integrated into the fabric of daily operations.

Lesson 3: Find balance to master efficiency

"We aim to strike a balance with Copilot, using it to enhance productivity... The risk lies in overreliance and sacrificing the soul of work for efficiency."

After six weeks, our journey with Copilot entered a phase of sustained efficiency and consistent performance, with a steady user approval rating of 83%

  • Raising the bar: As we progressed, we observed a whole new normal for how work gets done. The once steep trajectory of productivity gains leveled off. Our teams had successfully integrated the tool into their daily practices. The quality of work transitioned from rapid enhancements to a consistent and dependable level of high performance.
  • A work ‘makeover’: This new phase showed a profound transformation of work. The metrics of productivity were not the benefits. The very nature of how tasks are approached and executed evolved. People found work-related answers faster and could more easily transition between tasks.

Lesson 4: Anticipate the future of work

“You can’t take the license away from me... in the future, employees will likely evaluate potential employers on whether they provide tools like Copilot, which enable quicker, more efficient work.”

Looking ahead, our research data suggests that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is set to become a benchmark in the modern workplace. Users are not only adapting to the tool; they’re also beginning to plan their work with its efficiencies in mind. This forward-thinking mindset underscores the expectation that work transformation, enabled by tools like Copilot, will be a critical factor in defining the workplaces of the future.

As an early adopter, Avanade has a unique vantage point on how Copilot is revolutionizing the way we work. And we’re continually tracking the ongoing evolution of productivity, creativity and job satisfaction as we set a new benchmark for work efficiency beyond mere productivity. This journey reaffirms our commitment to not just witness but also shape the transformative impact of Copilot on the workplace.

To learn more about what makes the Copilot adoption journey unique, read our Copilot for Microsoft 365 adoption guide.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to find out how we can help you take-off with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

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