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How do you successfully implement and start using Copilot for Microsoft 365 to get tangible business value? These are the considerations you should make when preparing your organization for the generative AI tool. 

Generative AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot hold the promise to change how workers spend their day, unleashing creativity, unlocking productivity and uplevelling skills. Is it just to click the button and get started then? While the easier functions will come more or less automatically, the more sophisticated and value-adding capabilities require another approach.

To get the most value out of Copilot, these are the factors you need to take into consideration:

  • Manage your data. When embarking on the generative AI road, no shortcut will allow you to skip data management. As always, the AI engine will only be as good as the data you feed it with. Microsoft Copilot is grounded in your business data and to fully utilize the tool, data must be accurate and available. Data management thus needs to be part of the implementation process – and to many companies, this phase is tougher than expected.
  • Map roles and needs. All users have different needs, which you should explore in parallel with the data management phase. Identifying key personas, processes and business scenarios that can be reimagined with Copilot, will help you focus initiatives where you get the most value from your efforts.
  • Test and evaluate. My advice is to focus on certain functions separately within the organization. By allowing a test group of approximately 100 users within functions like HR or economy, you will get enough metrics to evaluate Copilot’s functionality within that specific function. Based on my experience, the Copilot for Teams is a great place to start for most users, because almost everyone will experience quick wins here.
  • Don’t forget change management. Changes in workplace tooling are best enabled by strong adoption and change management practices. Work with end-user communications, training and ambassadors who share best practices within the organization. And remember – if you haven’t done your data management homework, users will probably find that Copilot isn’t meeting their expectations when it comes to quality and trustworthiness. This will hamper user adoption on a broader scale.
  • Consider further enhancements. The next step is to extend the capabilities of Copilot by connecting your business applications for direct interaction. By deployment of Copilot plugins, connectors and pre-built accelerators you can further enhance the workplace experience.
  • Get started. Finally, just get started. It’s essential to understand Copilot requires a new way of working – and some patience. Writing prompts is a new skill for most people, compared to pressing a button like in most traditional applications and tools. It takes trial and error, experimenting, finetuning, and constantly sharing tips and tricks. The more you try, the better it gets.

Here are some suggestions on useful prompts that you can try out yourself:

In Teams: “Summarize Actions, Owner and Timings agreed in table format”

In Outlook: “Start an email intro to someone I haven’t seen for a while that I want to invite out to lunch but discuss Microsoft Azure migration”

At “What actions and outstanding items have I got with / [name here]”

At (with Web Content Plugin enabled): “Find me case studies by Cognizant or similar organizations migrating customers from AWS to Azure that mention financial regulators. Include at least one Cognizant competitor example”

Building on a long-term partnership

Cognizant and Microsoft recently announced an expanded partnership to make Microsoft’s generative AI and Copilots available to millions of users, to help organizations use the tools to transform business operations, enhance employee experiences, and deliver new value for customers. We will also collaborate to deliver industry-specific solutions.

Why chose Cognizant in this context then? We provide a complete end-to-end suite of services to deploy Copilot for your organization, where we assess your licensing and technical readiness as well as your data protection and governance. Our offering also includes change management practices and training.

In our back, we have 17 years of Microsoft partnership and 20,000+ Microsoft consultants – and, most importantly, a well-proven expertise in data. As generative AI becomes part of decision-making and vital organizational functions, data quality becomes increasingly important.

To learn more, please visit our generative AI section.

Fredrik Tonn

Head of Cognizant Microsoft Business Group

Fredrik Tonn

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