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Your Guide to Navigate Technical Readiness for Copilot | M365 Community Conference Recap

June 20, 2024
5 mins read
Your Guide to Navigate Technical Readiness for Copilot | M365 Community Conference Recap

Last week at the Microsoft 365 Community Days in Montreal, our CTO and Microsoft MVP, Richard Harbridge, gave key insights on essential technical considerations, planning elements, and hands-on preparation needed to effectively harness the capabilities of Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Copilot.

Embarking on the journey of technical readiness for Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a daunting task. But fear is not! It’s not about rushing to the finish line but rather about taking one step at a time. Feel free to explore each facet at your own pace, and don’t hesitate to ask if you stumble upon any queries or areas of interest.

Most importantly explore this with a friend (like 2toLead), leverage the community (like local community day events), and if it helps explore over an hour of free detailed advice we shared on our recent Technical Readiness For Copilot webinar.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed 😵💫

There’s much to learn about ensuring technical readiness for Copilot for Microsoft 365. But remember, there’s no need to digest everything at once. Take your time to understand each aspect, and don’t hesitate to reach out to Microsoft, the community, or partners like 2toLead if you have specific questions or areas of interest.

Understand the Scope 🔭

Microsoft has many AI-enriched capabilities with many of its newest ones under the Copilot label. The good news is that all of them benefit from better technical and business readiness, the bad news is there are so many Copilot experiences available in many different products so it can be overwhelming. Starting with Copilot with Commercial Data Protection (free) and Copilot for Microsoft 365 ($30 USD per user per month) is an excellent way to get started and acts as a shared connective foundation for the other Copilot workloads.

Infographic displaying Microsoft Product icons with Copilot

Business and Technical Readiness Go Hand in Hand 🤝

Many organizations are not prepared to proactively scale, support or maximize the impact Copilot for Microsoft 365 can bring. So they need to prepare, plan and ensure they address security debt, compliance debt, information debt, and digital excellence debt first, otherwise that will delay rollouts, result in increased costs, or dampen Copilot's effectiveness.

This can be done in parallel and works best when addressed together. Business and technical readiness must co-occur for a successful AI transformation like Copilot. They support each other for effectiveness. So, while focusing on the more visible issues of technical deployment, governance, security, compliance, and management, don’t forget about leadership, digital excellence, user enablement, champions, communities and more.

Shared Ownership is Key 🔑

Executive sponsor engagement, stakeholder management and leadership support is a more important consideration when tackling an exponential and transformative change like AI in the workplace. It is important that your AI council is comprised of both business and technology leaders.

It's important that the implementation and rollout plans are shared where the business might direct the outcomes, scenarios, and goals and the technology team(s) help understand the responsible roll out considerations, dependencies, and expectations.

One thing remains true regardless of how you roll out Copilot, this technology change is too important to leave in the hands of technologists alone and the business must take an active stance in leading, understanding, and supporting this change.

Measure Your Success 📊

Don’t forget to measure your success and adapt your approach. Copilot is a technology that requires good technical planning upfront, but it also requires continued optimization if you want to maximize its impact. For an in-depth understanding of migration strategies and best practices, consult our comprehensive Migration Whitepaper, which offers valuable insights for a smooth transition from file shares or legacy environments like SharePoint Server.

This resource is designed to support your journey, providing a structured approach to migration that complements the deployment of Copilot technologies. Keep track of your metrics and adjust your strategies as needed to ensure ongoing success.

Keep track of your metrics and adjust your strategies as needed. Microsoft provides quite a bit of insight that can help you understand how adoption is occurring and where new opportunity spaces might be as Copilot adds new capability month after month.

Understand what scenarios you’re targeting as an organization, what ones you’re aware of and measuring, and what ones you’re opportunistically going to explore in the coming months or years once you’ve enabled the baseline capability set.

Secure Your Content & Data 🔒

The biggest technical advantage you have as an organization with AI, and the biggest technical challenge you have as an organization with AI is your data today. It's the biggest advantage because if you can structure, optimize and improve your content and data then you can unlock tremendous value since Copilot is grounded on your data. In this way you can more easily unlock process augmentation or automation opportunities and drive differentiated value for your business.

When you have it labelled and you create new content from existing content with AI, out of the box Copilot for Microsoft 365 inherits the source content's label. This means no new risks are introduced if your content is already managed responsibly.

The challenge is that the biggest risk Copilot introduces is that it exponentially increases the velocity, variety and volume of data creation since it enables and empowers users to generate new content from existing content, or more easily transform existing content.

This means that if your content and data isn't well labeled (protected when sensitive, or configured with appropriate retention rules, etc.) then it increases the costs/effort needed to label the data over time. Your existing security and compliance debt can increase substantially as a result of Copilot adoption if you don't address it first.

Screen capture of using Copilot to generate documents.
Generating a document from another document inherits the sensitivity and retention of the document used.

Tackling your label related debt is one of the most important focuses of responsible technical enablement, and it can be done (especially with help) in just a few weeks, so don't let it overwhelm you. There are proven patterns and practices and while the business readiness side of the equation can be considerably more varied, often the technical readiness part of the journey is more familiar for those who have gone through it before.

Timeline showcasing work breakdown of Copilot Readiness Accelerator.
Technical readiness can be assessed, and critical remediation work can be performed in just a few weeks.

Embarking on the Copilot for Microsoft 365 journey may seem daunting, but remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Understand the Scope, ensure business and technical readiness, and embrace shared ownership. Keep an eye on your metrics and secure your data as you scale.

Don’t forget, if you ever feel stuck or need some guidance, our team is more than happy to lend a hand. So, feel free to reach out of you have any questions.

Need Help with Navigating Technical Readiness for Copilot? Let's Talk!
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