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Will Microsoft Copilot be the ultimate AI toolkit for your business?


Insights from this year’s Microsoft Cloud Discovery Day

There’s no doubt that the 2020s will be remembered as the decade that AI became widely accessible for businesses and consumers alike. It has been almost the sole subject of discussion at the hyperscale cloud provider conferences this year and huge amounts of hype have been generated across many industries with promises of what the AI revolution will deliver for us.

Microsoft Copilot: A new brand for a new era

On Monday, Microsoft hosted its Cloud Discovery Day in Auckland and while the focus was once again on AI, it was a much more specific discussion about how partners could enable AI for their customers and included sessions with Kiwi tech success stories Techion and Soul Machines. Microsoft also took the opportunity to reduce naming complexity and reinforce that Copilot is the brand that all Microsoft products have coalesced around. Bing Chat Enterprise is out, Copilot is in. The prospect of a relatively low bar to entry (US$0 to US$30/month for Microsoft Copilot depending on features) excites the technology nerd in me and I can't wait to see what use cases people much smarter than myself will come up with.

How AI can enhance your current job

In the near to medium term, I expect there will be a flurry of adoption as organisations encourage their employees to think of how they could benefit from using AI capability in their workday. At least I hope so. For a large number of NZ businesses, the cost of a Copilot licence is recovered with a time saving of less than one hour per person per month. Businesses that don't take the opportunity to test the potential upsides of this technology risk getting left behind by those that can adopt it successfully. Bear in mind that a tool does not need to completely replace an existing function to have value. Even if it only does 10% of the work for you, that is still a huge benefit in a short space of time.

“Someone that knows how to use AI better than you will take your job” - Greg Cross, CEO of Soul Machines.

With any disruptive technology, there is always a risk of replacement of existing roles and I don't believe AI will be any different. Having said that, I also don't expect there will be mass redundancies as human workers are replaced with machines. Replicating 100% of an individual role with a new resource is a huge effort as anyone who has had to hire a new team member knows. What I think will have a large impact is the ability of individuals to enhance their current jobs with AI, as Greg mentioned in his keynote. Figuring out how to get the most out of a personal assistant who has access to and understands the same company data as you will give back one of the most important resources people have: time. 

How we use AI at The Instillery

The Instillery is a knowledge company and like some other technology partners, we use a bunch of smart people to ensure smooth operations and come up with robust professional services solutions for our customers. With the support and encouragement of our leadership, we have been trialling the use of generative AI internally to reduce the time to deliver contract documents, write internal and external communications and improve the quality of our knowledge content over the past few months. We have seen time savings in the creation of documentation, summarising complex concepts for non-technical audiences and quick access to prompts for our engineers to resolve customer issues. This afternoon I used Copilot to help review an Incident Report for accuracy and clarity. We have not looked to reduce headcount as a result of this and I expect that we will be able to see long-term increases in our productivity as we embed AI further into our organisation.


Microsoft has framed the general adoption of their Copilot toolkits as a shortcut to uplift the capability and experience of your team, helping you to complete stretch goals with confidence. Their vision is that a Copilot will become an integral (and eventually invisible) part of everybody’s workday, in the same way that using a search engine is. I agree with this view in a general sense and believe that AI will almost certainly drive increases in productivity if you can figure out how to use it correctly. “Correctly” will differ across roles and businesses and it’s up to you to find a partner that understands your business and your needs to work with you on this journey.