Leveraging Microsoft 365 Copilot for Business Success

Leveraging Microsoft 365 Copilot for Business Success

This webcast explores the transformative potential of AI, particularly through Microsoft 365 Copilot, for enhancing business productivity. 

Hosted by Wayne Anderson and featuring professionals from BDO Digital, the discussion delves into the challenges organizations face in keeping up with evolving AI products and platforms. The speakers highlight Copilot's role as a personalized assistant integrated with Microsoft 365 apps, addressing concerns about security and emphasizing its utility in various tasks, such as data analytics and meeting management. The conversation underscores the need for organizational transformation and a strategic approach to maximize the return on investment. 

Whether organizations have a robust digital competency or are just beginning their digital journey, Copilot offers substantial productivity gains, making it a valuable tool in the evolving landscape of AI adoption.


Webcast Transcript

Welcome to today's webcast on AI transformation where today we're looking at leveraging Microsoft three sixty five co pilot. For business success. I am Wayne Anderson.

I lead our data security practice at video digital. And joining me today is Matt Diliberto, who leads our modern work practice, as well as Bill Topel who drives customer outcomes for customers that we have across the United States and Jim Schmidt who leads our business in helping customers realize those outcomes through enablement and training. And, Bill, I really wanna start with you. As as our customers are trying to get to ever greater outcomes in a dynamic marketplace, what does AI mean to organizations?

What kinda challenges or pain points are customers hoping to address with AI today?

Well, Wayne, that is the one hundred dollar you know, point that we're really trying to make recently. You know, if I could sum up in a phrase, it would really be adding productivity to people's day to day work and home lives. If you think of business transformations or that digital transformation mindset that co customers have had for the last five years. AI is really taking a lot of what is left that has not transformed yet and really has provided a cost effective platform for those transformations, or for those areas that you've already transformed, it's really provided a new lens to look at those transformations and really go back through and really make them better.

The challenges that I think people have had is really just keeping pace with all of the AI products, all of the platforms, and really all the changes. You know, we're spending a lot of time today talking about Microsoft, as one player in the space. And as you know, it's hard to keep track of Microsoft right now, you know, from what was announced last November through what's more, you know, what's what has more recently come out with co pilots, there's been a lot of change. So I think our customers are looking at the productivity gains.

They love the cost effectiveness.

And they really are struggling with keeping pace with what is available today. And more importantly, will it be obsolete tomorrow? No one wants to make an investment in technology for today, and in three months have to redo it.

Yeah. It's it's interesting to kinda look at that lens. I mean, if If we think about where businesses have been in the last decade, there's been a lot of change, connecting platforms, connecting data fabrics, and that's on the back of all of the implications that came out with COVID. And and, Matt, turning to you. You've been in co pilot for quite some time. You're working with customers. Your in co pilot every day for somebody who hasn't been able to stay connected with all of the changes that are going on maybe they haven't read the release, they haven't seen the videos.

How would you describe this thing to that person?

Sure. Yeah. For those who are not familiar, Microsoft co pilot is your personal assistant. It's there with you as you perform your daily activities.

You know, Bill mentioned productivity. This is an ability to improve the productivity that you're already realizing with Microsoft three sixty five solution and just add to that productivity.

It's meant to be integrated with these business applications. So, for example, Microsoft Teams word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Microsoft three sixty five apps, and it's really adding its value by bringing in your own personal data. So when our other large language models have the the broader general data available to it, this is taking your own personal data behaviors activity and content. And using that to create personal results. So for example, it's gonna combine those large language models that we think of in a traditional AI solution. And then it's gonna add your meetings, your emails, your chat, your documents, and your contacts to that knowledge. And then as you interact with it and generate those various front, it's gonna bring that personal data and that personal context to its solution and help provide the best recommendations possible that you might not get elsewhere.

The other aspect of Microsoft co pilot is the security. Copilot's gonna recognize the security that's already in place with these Microsoft three five solutions. So if you or a group of individuals are the only ones that have access to the files, the emails in the chat, that the co pilot is reading from, it will respect that and it will not share that information with other individuals who are using co pilot.

Some organizations are extending their security capabilities through the usage of sensitivity labels and encryption using Microsoft purview to restrict access further to document and Microsoft will also respect that through co pilot.

And finally, the prompts and the responses that are produced as you interact with the co pilot solution within these business applications are not used to train back the foundational language models like other AI solutions are when you're worrying about your data, your company's privacy, your intellectual property, you have that extra security knowing that another organization out there is not gonna have access to that information.

Yeah. You know, it's it's interesting that you bring that up because I love the fact that You get all of this power, but you get it within the the context of your existing tenant, your existing policies, your existing security boundaries, And I know for myself, you know, using Copilot today, just yesterday, something that's common to every business. You get a collision between meetings, One runs over. You gotta join another meeting late.

I was able to ask Copilot to summarize what I had missed, and it actually did that. And it did did it Fidelity. And I was up to speed in about sixty seconds. It's an amazing thing, but but Jim, you know, when I think about the amount of change that businesses have been through.

A lot of businesses are going to deal with that change management burden.

Where does transformation come in for the information worker. How does how do organizations prepare leaders and prepare their teams for that kind of change?

Yeah. It's, it's certainly not, an easy and quick task. Let me start by saying, there's a big, kind of, There's a big difference between a few people using AI co pilot, you know, and the organization transforming to to be an adopter and really make this a part of their business. You know, AI is gonna be helpful even if just a few people are using it but it's not gonna be transformational until the organization of the whole kind of buys in.

So, yeah, how do you get there? You know, It starts with, it starts with leadership, but it has to happen at all levels, right? So you need a few things for good transformation to really take hold. First, you gotta have a common goal that everyone is on board with.

You know, if if someone's just thrown stuff at the wall and nobody knows why it's happening, people don't, you know, people don't don't see the value. They don't they don't dive into it. Right? So that's the first thing I'd say for people looking to to to adopt here is make sure the organization, the group, you got a common goal in mind.

Everybody's kind of on board with her. At least understands her. Next, you gotta have a sense of value in your change. Right?

So people, the people that you're having use this new tool, they need to they to understand the value they get out of it. So, you know, making sure that that they see, the value in it and you work with them and and and build that build that understanding on what they're getting out of. I mean, you just talked about way and the value you can get out of, you know, summarizing meetings and things like that. But not everybody is is sort of in touch with all the, the, you know, the possibilities out there.

So that's one of the, the next things I would dive in. And then, you know, I think lastly is support, both short term support from leadership in making space and room for this to grow. You know, it's not like everybody's gonna be an expert in using it overnight. So know, there there can be some times where people are learning.

People are trying things. We need to give room for that to grow and adapt. Create a center of excellence. Create some places where people can talk about it, work on it, maybe a new a new team's channel, maybe, you know, whatever works for you and your organization, but find a place for people to talk and communicate And then there's that long term support.

Make sure this isn't, you know, send an email about it and then walk away. Right? This is something you need to continue to reinforce and help people and reward people for using it and diving into it. So, you know, when transformation takes hold, that value is gonna explode quicker than you'd imagine, but you're not gonna get there unless you you put in a little bit of that effort and energy up front to make sure you're prioritizing this.

That makes sense. Yeah. You know, it's It's a really, really interesting new world to enter into. And and, Matt, I I wonder what you're seeing from early customers.

What where are they investing to adopt things like this?

Yeah. I think one of the first observations that I'm making is that there's essentially a new skill set that's required to work with AI, and and sometimes it's referred to as prompt engineering. You have these powerful tools in front of you. You learn about what it can and cannot do, and there are many ways of interacting with it. And in particular, when it comes to driving that change within an organization, it's beyond providing that simple education. It's teaching them how to generate those prompts accordingly to produce the outcomes they're looking for. That will get better over time, as you continue to take that feedback and enable those users, but it is important to teach people the right and wrong ways of creating those those various prompts as you interact with AI?

Yeah. You know, it's It's interesting. We have to learn how to ask good questions. We have to learn how to how to structure the questions to be answered.

And And, to to learn things like that, to make changes like Jim was was talking about a minute ago, there has to be a reason to do it. There has to be value in the organization. And and, Bill, It's one thing for me to go out there and do kind of this hand wave and say, hey, it's the next big thing. Everybody else is doing it.

I gotta do it too. But what are customers' expectations on getting a return from that investment? How are they getting the measurable outcomes?

I think when we'll talk to customers, there's really two major camps.

If you're a customer today that's already gone through digital transformation, You've built digital competency in your company and in your employees. And these employees, you know, to Jim's comment a few minutes ago, They've already been through change. They've already embraced transformation.

They are much better positioned right now to get involved with co pilot get involved with these productivity changes, and many of them are gonna take productivity enhancement or word and really have creative enhancement as the next follow-up point. They're gonna learn from what comes back from a GPT implementation. They're gonna learn from what they're seeing across a lot of documents that before they've never been able to to to provide a lens across because no one could read thirty documents fast enough to get that insight, Wayne. So these organizations that have built a muscle around digital competency have a much higher goal of ROI and they're really gonna be able to get there faster.

Unfortunately, the flip side is true too. If you haven't gone through digital transformation yet, and you're still primarily an analog or paper based or manual process organization, you're likely living on prem, not in the cloud yet, You probably haven't built that muscle yet. You haven't gone through the digital transformation. You haven't built digital competencies as deeply as maybe your competitors.

And you're gonna be you're gonna be behind, but those organizations can catch up incredibly quick right now. The productivity gains if they commit to them, are going to be much more transformational because they're just starting from such a point of the lack of automation and and lack of awareness around these digital skills. So two different ROIs, both of them positive, and both of them very obtainable.

Yeah. And and Jim, you know, to get to that value requires intentionality.

It requires thinking ahead and and and finding the places that are gonna get unlocked, you know, as as you're helping customers with this journey, where are you seeing them try to unlock that value?

Yeah. Right. So I think, you know, we see our our customers kind of diving in in one or two directions, right? And, you know, arguably both is probably the best case, but you know, you sometimes see people focusing on just general productivity.

How do you make people, be able to help people be able to write documents faster and things like that? And then there's also kind of the flip side of very specialized, tasks, you know, helping with some sort of HR thing or helping with procurement procedures or things like that. So There's, there there's definitely different angles. You know, the but from a very general perspective, I think there's a few really interesting places that can add a lot of value.

So My favorite. I'm a data guy. I love diving into Excel. I could spend spend all day there.

So, you know, asking Excel simple stuff like are there any interesting trends in my data? You know, if you're looking at a spreadsheet with dozens upon dozens of columns and and thousands of rows, it's hard. It's even if you're building your pivots and trying to dive in it's hard to to find those patterns and those interesting trends, but, you know, with co pilot, it can read all that, you know, encapsulate it, figure it out, and even tie it to some of the other things you have going on. So working in Excel, you know, data analysis, asking it about specific trends or specific data points really valuable.

Writing proposals or things like that from, from a general perspective works really well. You know, everything from summarizing what the proposals at, or, you know, what the ask is, to helping you edit your language in the proposal. All works really well.

Lastly, I'd say, you know, again, people really want to focus in on those those really focused use cases, but I think something is as simple as meeting management. Again, like you brought up earlier, how many meetings do you think are going on in your company every hour? You know, multiply that by days and weeks and months. If you can just help summarize outcomes or or catch people up faster, you're saving thousands of hours a year.

I mean, the productivity gains out of these little things can make a really big difference too if everyone's on board using it, transcripts, action items out of meetings, all kinds of stuff like that. So Yeah. Yeah. And I think there's so many use case.

I completely and absolutely agree. In fact, I would double down on what you're talking about. If I never have to calculate value or do a left bound function in in Excel ever again. I'm gonna be a very happy person.

But but, Matt, you know, I I think I think something interesting was said there. Getting started with this co pilot journey, this AI journey, builds on top of where the organization's already been with cloud. And towards the tail end or or or, you know, the more mature end of cloud adoption, suddenly COVID came out. And then we had to figure out, you know, how do we how do we deal with some of the early decisions we made during COVID and then mature the company. And now we've got the next great leap for AI.

So what are some of the strategy pieces and the technical foundations that really accelerate building something like this into your business.

Yeah. I think fundamentally as Bill mentioned, digital transformation in your cloud journey is is extremely important. The value in co pilot is based off of those workloads that were moved to the cloud. If you're an organization that has fully implemented these cloud solutions, great.

You are ready for co pilot. But if you're not, may wanna consider things like moving files to the cloud, moving your email system to the cloud using Microsoft Teams for your meetings and your chat. There are a lot of organizations out there that are quite there yet. Right?

And if your data isn't there, it's not able to provide that personalized user experience. They may wanna take that step back. Implement those secure productivity solutions as a foundation before co pilot and then consider how do we get the maximum ROI out of it once all of our data in our processes have been moved to the cloud.

Yeah. And and, you know, it's it's interesting.

Jim, is you're working with customers they're going through that journey. They're doing the adoption.

What are some of the highlights that are maybe nearest and dearest to your own heart? The things that you're seeing out there, these use cases, where where you're just seeing people dive in and create new and different things that maybe yesterday were tough, were expensive, were challenging. They couldn't get there.

Yeah. You know, like I said, things like the data analytics and and so on. I think that's a huge value, but I think there's these activities that take a lot of work, if we were to do them manually, like summarizing the breadth of our client activities for the year or, or diving into, large presentations and just building out things that look well, well built and polished, without having to have graphic desires on your team, you know, your PowerPoint presentations, right? These are the kinds of things that are really gonna, gonna help in a lot of ways. Those things that take a lot of people a lot of hours, right?

I was just talking to someone who is trying to work on their procurement, right? Hours and hours going to finding the right vendors, the right people, the right things Instead, you know, once they have all that data loaded in, prices and all of that stuff, instead of having to do all these manual cross references, they can just ask the question and get those answers phenomenally faster, and accurate without, you know, having an individual person have to spend, you know, five hours, eight hours just working on that one problem.

Instead, you know, ten minutes, twenty minutes, then validate your answer and move on to the next one.

Huge gains, huge savings, in terms there. So a lot of stuff. Yeah. Matt, what what's the use case? The thing that you're seeing out in the field that is may be closest or most compelling to you.

Yeah. I think one of my favorites is more around the generative AI side of things. The ability to create content with very little For me, it is either taking meeting notes, or, some bullet points, and then asking copilot to take either some type of template whether it's a proposal template or a word document, and then asking it to generate a content based off of that, right, with a few steps in one single prompt I'm able to say, hey, apply these bullet points to this template or this example and go produce a newer version of this. That used to take me hours before. Now I'm doing that in minutes, and it's significantly saved a lot of time in my day to day. You know, not not only does it save time, but I'm I'm actually finding that it helps me even be more more responsive.

Right? You you wanna be reactive. You wanna be able to surround and address your customers and co pilots able to do things like that. So Fantastic.

It's been a wonderful discussion today. To those that are attending, if you're interested in learning more, Bdo's actually published a series of webcasts in Insight posts, on our website at video dot com and video digital dot com. If you'd like help getting started on your own strategy journey, the the things that either lead up to AI or consuming AI deploying copilot for yourself, we have hundreds of consultants in this space with experience with depth who are ready to support your business. You can get in contact at b d o digital dot com slash copilot.

Thank you for joining us today.