The future is here
One day, AI will know more about your business than you do – and that day may be very soon. The AI business revolution may be raising legitimate concerns around issues such as data security, but it also opens up a brave new world of eye-watering opportunities. Simon Price and Craig Saville of Lenvi report from the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle on what the launch of Copilot could mean for your business.
The management meeting is over. The meeting host gives a command and, just minutes later, a full report on the agreements and action points has been produced. A contract for an acquisition has also been drafted automatically, a presentation deck created for your new marketing strategy, and a string of draft emails are ready for approval.
But that’s not all. Later that day, the CEO turns to the AI platform providing all these materials and asks: “What changes could I make for this business to meet its objectives faster and more effectively?” A minute later, she has the answer in her hands.
A year ago, this might have sounded like an aspirational vision for a far-off day but, as many of you know, this is happening right now.
Back in March, Microsoft revealed Copilot, the new AI-driven capability based on ChatGPT that’s being drilled down into all elements of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Graph, combining the power of LLMs (large language models) with your data. It will, according to Microsoft’s marketing team, “turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet”.
But this is far from bluster – the implications for business are staggering. With many already making use of ChatGPT’s power to answer questions and generate reports, that transformative AI capability is now being rolled out across Excel, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Teams and the other elements of the 365 and Graph apps. Auto-generation of business collateral is set to become second nature.
But while the opportunities for savings and efficiency will surely be game changing, the most revolutionary aspect of this step-change lies in what Copilot will learn about your business – and what it can tell you. This creates an intriguing opportunity to review your business strategy against AI-generated, data-driven insights leading to solutions that the human mind alone would be unlikely to muster.
Yet of course, it also comes with dangers – from data security to a complacent over-reliance on what AI can deliver. ChatGPT is not fool-proof and the output from Copilot is dependent on the nuances of what it is asked. For instance, our CEO who asked Copilot for a business strategy may have an effective solution as a result, but it may be one that tramples across her employees and stakeholders to get there.
Advanced access to Copilot tools
So there’s a lot to think about, which is why we were in Seattle in May, for Microsoft Build, a three-day event that showcased Copilot, and other aspects of Microsoft’s development of AI.
One of the benefits that struck us is that you can ask Copilot to reinterpret business information for you depending on your specific role. For instance, while we might ask a document to be explained to us from the perspective of a software developer, others might want it reinterpreted from the perspective of an accountant or marketer.
But one of the biggest advantages of attending Microsoft Build, both for Lenvi and our clients, is that we were provided with advanced access to the GitHub Copilot Chat app to experiment with its developer tools. Both of us are now using these regularly and finding it exciting in terms of the productivity it unlocks. The potential is extraordinary. For instance, at Microsoft Build they showed Copilot a broken source code that was causing errors and said “fix my code”. It immediately found the problem and resolved it.
The day-to-day business capabilities are also fascinating. If you tell Copilot about an announcement you want to make and what the key messages are, it can automatically create drafts of all the marketing materials you need, from targeted press releases to social media posts.
And there’s a big difference between Copilot and ChatGPT. ChatGPT doesn’t know who you are – it gives the same sort of generic answer to you as it would to anyone else. However, Copilot gets to know you and your business, adapting its tone and content accordingly. For instance, if you ask Copilot to write emails, it will look in your Outlook box and mirror your way of writing.
What could go wrong?
But what about the risks? One of the most obvious concerns the extraordinary amount of data that Copilot will be collecting about you and everyone else who uses it. Will Microsoft ever be tempted to use it for anything else? And how secure is it? Needless to say, firm assurances were made over these issues in Seattle but the developing debate will be monitored carefully.
Secondly, could Copilot be used destructively by, for instance, terrorist organisations? Again, there will be much discussion around this but there are safeguards already built in. For instance, if you ask it you how to build a bomb, it won’t co-operate.
A third issue is the continuing legal confusion over copyright. Some lawyers might argue that AI-generated content can’t be copyrighted so does that mean your business won’t be able to claim ownership of anything developed by Copilot? Similarly, what if Copilot creates content for you from sources that others might claim copyright over?
And a fourth issue is complacency. With all this automation in our hands, will we start to reply on it too much? At Lenvi (and along with many of our clients) we regard technology as an enabler for people to achieve their goals but the world is a big place and no doubt some may fall into this trap.
Excitingly, there’s also a lot more to Copilot that is still to be released later this year. We will continue to monitor this and work with the software to see how we can apply it to the benefit of our clients, both in the service that we provide and the products that we build. But there is clearly great potential for building capabilities into, for instance, our loan management and risk management software.
If you would like to hear more about the work we are doing with Copilot, or see a demonstration, please do get in touch.