Business IntelligenceDigital Transformation

Microsoft Ignite 2023 Microsoft Copilot Keynote: First impressions

By November 16, 2023 No Comments
Satya Nadella Microsoft Ignite 2023

Ignite 2023 has begun. Over its 3-day run, over 100 new announcements are expected. The keynote session, “Becoming an AI-Powered Organization with Microsoft Copilot”, seemed to have at least a third of those!

There was a flood of information crammed into the 50-minute session – here are our major takeaways:

  • Only 8 months passed from the announcement of Copilot to its GA (general availability) launch. The breadth and depth of functionality included in Copilot is truly staggering, so it’s prudent to expect some bumps along the way to our being able to take full advantage of such a sweeping set of releases.
  • While Copilot won’t replace human roles any more than the cloud replaced the IT department, it does stand to reduce the drudgery part of a great many jobs, freeing up people to do what they do best. Microsoft EVP Rajesh Jha closed the session with a great statement that Copilot will, “…help human agency with AI to take the grind out of work.” Co-presenter and Microsoft CVP Jared Spataro had his own twist: “The new age of machines will make all of us more human.”
  • When asked if they would prefer Copilot or a free weekly lunch, 77% of respondents chose Copilot! That’s just one of many interesting findings from a set of studies covering 18,000+ early access users across 12 markets and 7 empirical studies. Microsoft also found 70% of the people involved felt they were more productive and 68% said it improved the quality of their work. Additional empirical findings found that people were 29% faster on specific tasks, spent 64% less time processing email, 75% less time searching for information in their files, and were 3.8 times faster at catching up on missed meetings!
  • The freely available version of Copilot includes all the foundational capabilities you’d expect but also includes commercial data protection. This is a huge differentiator from other consumer ChatGPT-type offerings in that Microsoft’s commercial data protection means:
    • Chat data is not saved.
    • Microsoft never sees the chat data.
    • The chat data will never be used to train the models.
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365 provides the same features and protections as the commercial version plus enterprise-grade data protection, Microsoft Graph grounding, Microsoft 365 applications, Copilot Studio, and role-specific copilots.
    • Enterprise-grade data protection in Copilot for M365 means that all the security and compliance features companies have come to expect from Office and Windows are in place in Copilot and offer all the same protections. For example, just as you wouldn’t expect to see something in a SharePoint search result that you don’t have permissions for, you also won’t ever see data in a Copilot response that you don’t have permission to.
    • Microsoft Graph is a HUGE part of what makes Copilot so compelling, since it connects virtually everything you do within M365 to everything those you work with do within it. It’s what gives Copilot the power to look at all of your writing, be it in Word or email or elsewhere, and compose a reply in your writing style, or to intelligently suggest additional meeting participants on a Copilot-assisted meeting invite based on others who you’ve been collaborating with on the same subject.
    • Microsoft 365 applications means Copilot is built into the tools you’re already using. So, if you’re in Excel, you can simply ask Copilot to highlight certain kinds of data, summarize a large data set into a Pivot table, or even merge data sets so it can answer questions like “Show how the weather affected this sales data.” Another example might be asking in Teams to have Copilot visualize the current meeting notes on a whiteboard.
    • Copilot Studio is a low code / no code Power Platform-like environment to customize Copilot for your organization. For instance, if users often ask questions like “How much of the teams’ travel budget is left,” a power user or IT analyst could use Copilot Studio to say that questions involving budgets should connect to the ERP system as a data source and/or to the HR system for queries involving travel policies. Copilot Studio allows Copilot to provide more detailed responses to queries that include all the data sources companies use outside of just Microsoft Graph.
    • Role-specific copilots are customized copilots tailored to specific jobs. Copilot for Sales was the first and the next one will be Copilot for Service.
  • Microsoft Copilot Dashboard is also included with Copilot for M365 and will preview later this month. Copilot Dashboard focuses on three key reporting areas: readiness, adoption, and impact. The readiness set of reports looks to be amazingly helpful for organizations planning a Copilot rollout.

What’s covered above is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have the opportunity to watch the keynote yourself, you’ll find it well worth the time!

Steven Fiore

Author Steven Fiore

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