Rob Quickenden, CTO, Cisilion

Member Article

Top tips for preventing Microsoft Copilot being an IT plane crash

It’s estimated that a third of a worker’s day is typically wasted on outdated processes and unnecessary tasks. Organisations are going to want Microsoft 365 Copilot to improve efficiency and productivity. Copilot is an AI-powered digital assistant designed to help users with various tasks and activities on their devices. It can create drafts, suggest different wording, suggest and insert images, create PowerPoint presentations from your Word documents and many other helpful things. It’ll be like having a personal assistant if it’s used correctly.

But like any technology, it could cause more problems for your organisation than benefits if you aren’t prepared for it and don’t adopt it correctly. With Microsoft already testing it in the US and likely to open previewing to organisations outside the US soon, it looks set to be with us this year. So now is the time to start preparing.

Unlike ChatGPT, Copilot will use Microsoft’s privately hosted Large Language Models (LLMs) for its context. Copilot will leverage Microsoft Search, Graph API, and your data to make deductions on what you ask, the context, and with whom and how you work. Microsoft says it will not use your organisational data to train the Copilot LLM. Microsoft continues to respect and adhere to your data governance and controls.

So here are my five top tips for how organisations can prepare now to make Microsoft Copilot successful.

  1. Get your data into shape. How Copilot will respond, what it creates or deduces is based on, and highly dependent on your organisational data - how it is structured, governed, and secured. Take time now to evaluate your data. What data you will need Copilot to access and where to place it to make it readily accessible but safe will be critical to Copilot being able to mine relevant data for you. You will also need to ensure your data is ‘clean’ and up to date, or the insights and actions that Copilot will suggest will be obsolete.

  2. Identity and Access - while security should always be top of mind, it’s worth using your Copilot readiness as a reason to review your estate. Since Copilot will always run under the context of the user, ensuring you do all you can to mitigate identity breaches is vital. Ensure all employees are aware of your security policies and that they use two-factor authentication and password managers to protect themselves and your business. Ensure all end-user devices have the correct cyber security tools in place and that shadow IT is not being used in your organisation.

  3. Maximise Adoption of Microsoft 365 - AI’s real value and efficiency will only be as good as its inputs. In the case of Microsoft 365 Copilot, that is the use and adoption of Microsoft 365. Put simply, if your data is not in Microsoft 365 apps and services, Microsoft 365 Copilot will not have access to it, meaning the results you get will be limited. Initially, you will likely want to limit Copilot’s use to certain functions and departments, like marketing, sales and finance. But they won’t benefit from the toolset unless they know how to use all of Microsoft 365’s functions and have training on Copilot. Starting the training process to make sure they are using 365 appropriately is something you can do now.

  4. Review and Optimise Your Licensing - if you have multiple applications or services that do the same thing from different vendors, with data not being consistently stored, secured, and accessed, then just like your users’ ability to know where to look, the Copilot experience will likely also be compromised. Spend time reviewing your licensing agreements and ensure you don’t overlap between vendors and licenses – this is also an excellent way to free up the budget for Copilot licenses, as we know many organisations duplicate tools and services, particularly in the cyber security space.

  5. Prepare Your Organisation for Change. Copilot is coming, and it will fundamentally impact and change how your people and teams will work. So, adoption and change management will be crucial for organisations. Now is the time to gather your change management team (if you don’t already have one in place) and think about what training, support, and resources you will need to create and bring in to help your employees understand and leverage Copilot effectively.

Copilot will enable businesses to save time and allow employees who use it to be more creative and help drive your business forward. Implementing it will bring change and benefits, but only if you implement it in a planned way. Like any technology, Copilot will only be as good as your data and end users’ understanding and knowledge of how to use it correctly.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Cisilion .

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning National email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read