Project Description

Unlocking Potential: Roadmap to Copilot Adoption for Kiwi SMBs

In 2024, generative AI is revolutionising business operations. Microsoft Copilot, a customisable AI model, can enhance productivity, automate tasks, and drive growth for New Zealand SMBs. This guide explores the steps to assess AI readiness, develop a Copilot adoption strategy, and implement it seamlessly. From understanding its benefits to creating a strategic roadmap, learn how to leverage Copilot to transform your business operations and stay ahead in the competitive landscape.

It’s 2024, and regardless of your industry, we’re pretty sure you know what generative AI is and what it’s capable of.

Generative AI has disrupted the way we do business. From its significant efficiency advantages to its speed and ability to collect and analyse large amounts of data in a matter of seconds, you’re doing your organisation no favours if you don’t start planning how to leverage generative AI in your business processes right now.

Matt Bourne - Solutions Architect

Matt Bourne – Solutions Architect

Microsoft Copilot is the tech giant’s own take on generative AI. This advanced, highly customisable AI model can help you increase your team’s productivity, automate redundant tasks, and accelerate your business growth.

This article explores the potential of Copilot for Kiwi SMBs and how they can plan its adoption, from assessing business AI readiness to creating a strategic roadmap and testing and deployment.

Understanding Copilot and Its Benefits

Microsoft Copilot is a generative AI model developed by Microsoft. It has a chatbot-like interface that facilitates user interactions by enabling users to submit prompts to increase productivity, get new ideas, and make informed decisions based on the model’s data analysis, forecasts, and recommendations.

Copilot seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications, allowing users to track Teams discussions, communicate effectively, and create automated data analytics reports to support decision-making.

With Copilot, you can automate time-consuming tasks and free up your team’s time to focus on key project deliverables and business growth initiatives. It’s also capable of generating forecasts from your Excel data, enabling informed strategic planning.

For example, using Copilot, you can quickly reply to emails, create email and call summaries, and initiate the creative process with Word document outlines. You can also use it to generate PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets by simply providing the research or project documents you have.

Further, Copilot makes it easier for colleagues to collaborate on different projects with features like real-time tracking in Microsoft Teams, which uses AI algorithms to track meetings and discussions, as well as action items. It also summarises conversations and meeting reviews, ensuring that your employees can easily identify and keep track of key information and meeting outcomes.

Based on recent survey findings from Microsoft, 85% said Copilot helps them get a nice first draft faster, 84% said Copilot enables them to follow up on meeting outcomes after a meeting, making it easier to take action after a meeting, and 68% said it helped them deliver better quality work.

Assessing Your Business Readiness

Implementing Microsoft Copilot can boost efficiency and team collaboration, but to ensure a seamless adoption, you need to assess your business’s AI readiness when it comes to security, infrastructure, team mindset, and tech skill gaps.

The following is a guideline that will help create a proper AI readiness assessment plan for your business:

Meeting System Requirements

Check if your technological infrastructure meets Microsoft Copilot and Microsoft 365 licensing / system requirements. Deploy any necessary upgrades and make sure that your infrastructure is optimised for the best power efficiency.

Further, ensure your infrastructure is flexible and scalable so you can scale or change your Copilot workflows as needed based on your business needs and growth rate.

Skill Sets and Training

Evaluate your team’s tech and AI skills and identify knowledge gaps. Tailor training programs based on your findings to ensure a smooth transition and a faster Copilot onboarding. Think about training your team on how to write the best prompts for Copilot to elicit valuable results.

It’s also important to foster a culture of continuous learning, as Copilot is evolving at a fast pace and being enhanced with new capabilities and features.

Cultural Readiness

Create a culture that embraces AI implementation. Communicate with your employees that AI is intended to empower them and increase their productivity instead of replacing them. Demonstrate the potential return on investment of MS Copilot and its benefits to make your team open to the idea of changing the workflows they’re accustomed to.

Additionally, make sure that everyone is involved in the process, including managerial-level employees.

Developing a Copilot Adoption Strategy

Implementing Microsoft Copilot requires a structured and strategic approach to facilitate the transition process.

1. Review Security and Data Settings

Before deploying Copilot, make sure your Microsoft 365 data and security permissions are updated as needed. Ensure your data is secure and accessible only by those people you intend to access the data. Review your security policies and boost your team’s awareness to ensure compliance with content management and data governance regulations and best practices.

2. Make Intentional Seat Assignments

Make a list of users in your SMB who will be regularly using Microsoft apps and assign a number of Copilot use cases for each team. This will help you estimate the cost of Copilot and identify who will be using Copilot in your organisation. Importantly, this should include team collaboration.

3. Create an AI Council

Establish an AI council, whose primary job is to collect feedback and supervise the Copilot deployment process and tackle any potential roadblocks. The council should include members from your IT, change management, and risk management departments.

Use the council’s input to ensure a smooth Copilot transition and overcome challenges related to system integration, data security, and employee skill sets.

4. Encourage Positive Work Habits

Enable a smoother transition to AI-powered workflows by actively communicating with your team and providing guidance.

Ensure that your team’s expectations of Copilot’s capabilities are in alignment with its capacity and technical limitations. It’s also important to help your team explore the areas where using AI maximises its benefits without compromising quality of work or security.

5. Promote Continuous Training

Encourage continuous learning by maintaining an internal knowledge base for your team. The knowledge base should be regularly updated and reviewed with new resources and training materials.

6. Tailor Copilot to Your SMB

One of the strongest features of Copilot is its deep level of customisability. You can use Microsoft Copilot Studio to create custom Copilots or plugins to improve functionality and get better results from Copilots by feeding them with specialised training data.

For example, you can design a Copilot that’s specifically intended for HR functions.

Microsoft Copilot Implementation Steps

The exact roadmap to deploying MS Copilot may vary based on your goals, industry, and business capabilities. However, this implementation plan should help you make it easier for you to get started:

1. Define Your Goals

What are you planning to achieve with Copilot? Are there specific areas in your workflows that could benefit from AI automation? Knowing the answer to these questions is key to successful adoption of Microsoft Copilot.

Some of the common applications of Copilot that could help you achieve your business objectives include:

  • Maximising process efficiency with automation
  • Making informed decisions
  • Improving team collaboration
  • Data analysis

It’s also important to establish metrics and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your Copilot integration.

2. Consider Data Compliance and AI Ethics

Deploying Copilot requires a comprehensive understanding of the ethical considerations and requirements related to AI usage. Ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards, focusing on:

  • Transparency, data handling, and bias
  • Clear data collection and handling policies
  • Training AI models with unbiased data
  • Strict data governance and protection guidelines

Conduct periodic audits and compliance checks to maintain adherence to data privacy regulations. This is also essential for establishing customer and investor trust.

3. Run Pilot Tests

Launching pilot programs is a great way to test your MS Copilot before full-scale deployment.

In controlled environments, you can efficiently identify issues and collect user feedback. Throughout the pilot tests, track essential metrics and criteria to measure productivity and collaboration gains.

Based on your findings, you can develop a detailed rollout plan for Copilot deployment. Ideally, your rollout plan should be divided into stages to avoid major disruptions in your processes and workflows.

Monitoring and Optimisation

Monitoring the impact of Microsoft Copilot is essential for proactively identifying improvement opportunities. You can use the Microsoft Copilot Dashboard to track Copilot usage and adoption with real-time data.

It’s also helpful to carry out periodic AI council meetings to track Copilot’s impact and benchmark it against your established goals and KPIs. Get insights into what’s working well and what can be improved now and in the future.

To Recap

Evaluating your SMB’s AI potential is a great first step towards successful Copilot deployment. Evaluate your tech infrastructure and upgrade outdated systems, then evaluate your team’s readiness to adopt new technologies and see if you need to make any cultural shifts to encourage AI adoption.

Understanding your organisation’s readiness to adopt Copilot is a crucial step in the implementation process. CodeBlue has developed a personalised Copilot Readiness Assessment calculator to provide you with an independent viewpoint on your readiness and to highlight areas of focus.

The Readiness Assessment is available to members of the CodeBlue Copilot Readiness community, which you can join for free here.

Join Copilot Readiness Community