Prepare now for the AI-powered future of work
- Posted on August 1, 2023
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
The era of generative AI has ushered in an entirely new way of working. One of the most groundbreaking announcements of recent months: Microsoft 365 Copilot, which integrates AI capabilities directly into your core workplace platforms to deliver significant personal productivity improvements.
Sounds exciting, right? But before you can deploy Copilot, you need to ready your enterprise – platforms, processes and people – for Copilot. That was the topic of a recent webinar we hosted, which generated some interesting discussions on the implications of generative AI in the workplace.First things first: What is Microsoft 365 Copilot all about, what does it do and how can it revolutionize the way your people work? At its core, Microsoft 365 Copilot combines three essential components:
- The model (cutting-edge Large Language Models, or LLMs)
- Data (leveraging Microsoft Graph for enterprise data)
- Experience (seamless integration within everyday apps)
This combination empowers users to leverage cross-enterprise data using natural language, unlocking new levels of creativity and productivity. Microsoft 365 Copilot reasons over the user's data and accessible apps, delivering in- and cross-app intelligence across Microsoft 365 and beyond, with the help of plugins. What does that mean in simple terms?
Game-changing workplace reinvention
For certain knowledge-based tasks, workers will be able to let Copilot do the heavy lifting – collating data and creating outputs which people can then iterate and refine using their specialist skills and expertise, rather than generating all the content from scratch. Large language models understand natural language and have been pre-trained on vast amounts of publicly available information, which when deployed inside your Microsoft 365 environment, will enable them to generate creative and plausible text based on your own context and content. Copilot will simplify work experiences – saving significant time and effort and empowering people with a convenient new “work assistant.” With Copilot, Microsoft aims to move generative AI from "autopilot" to "copilot."
The audience validated the importance of the human+machine model in augmenting people’s skills by ranking “employee productivity” as the most important factor (74%) driving their interest in Microsoft 365 Copilot. It easily beat “competitive advantage” (17%) and cost optimization (4%). What this clearly shows is that we’re all looking for Copilot to help us improve our personal productivity, freeing up our time to focus on higher value and more strategic output.
Priming your workplace environment for a new wave of productivity
To successfully prepare for Microsoft 365 Copilot, organizations can start focusing now to develop an optimized digital core, considering what exceptional employee experiences should feel like in your enterprise, along with implementing the right governance framework for innovation. Organizations must ensure the appropriate licensing and governance is in place for Microsoft 365 and Power Platform to fully utilize Copilot’s potential. For Microsoft 365 Copilot, this requires Microsoft 365 E3/E5 or business standard/premium licenses. Preparing for change, promoting human agency and considering skill evolution as AI becomes embedded in our workplace platforms are also crucial steps for a successful Copilot implementation. Being AI-ready includes assessing current operating models, ensuring data and platforms are safe and secure, and equipping workforces with the right skills and behaviors to transform how they work.
The most significant trust-building concerns for users adopting AI technologies are privacy and security. The good news is that Microsoft 365 Copilot adheres to Microsoft 365’s strong foundation of security, compliance and privacy features. Copilot automatically inherits the organization's security and privacy policies, ensuring data remains within the tenant boundary, and Copilot models will not be trained on the data held within your environment.
Avanade is ready to be your Copilot partner
If all these considerations seem overwhelming or you’re not sure how to get started, don’t worry. We’re uniquely positioned to help you prepare for the future of AI-augmented work. We’re experts in Microsoft 365 and have been testing, adopting and building with a responsible AI framework for years. Our industry, advisory and technical teams are experts at helping you understand where you are on your workplace maturity journey and what steps you need to take now to safely exploit the value of these next-generation AI capabilities, as they become available.
If you missed the live event or want to revisit any part of the discussion, you can watch it on-demand. Ready to take the next step? Contact us today to assess your workplace readiness for Microsoft 365 Copilot.