Building an AI-Ready Practice: How MSPs Can Successfully Lead Microsoft 365 Copilot Adoption

Post Date: 10/23/2023
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With Microsoft 365 Copilot’s general availability coming soon to enterprise customers, businesses are looking forward to how this artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant can help them improve the way they work.

For managed service providers (MSPs), this presents an opportunity to provide added value to their clients’ Microsoft 365 utilization.

Benefits of Microsoft 365 Copilot

Employees spend a lot of time on Microsoft 365 applications. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, an average employee spends 57% of their time using communication apps. About 25% of the heaviest email users spend 8.8 hours on email on a weekly basis, while top meeting users spend 7.5 hours a week in meetings.

Among the workforce, 43% also use up their time creating files – mainly documents, spreadsheets, and presentations – from Microsoft Office applications. On top of all these, employees need to tackle more important tasks that require more focused work. To do that effectively, 70% of employees surveyed are looking to delegate work to AI applications.

With the release of Microsoft 365 Copilot, the time spent in manual communication and file creation processes can be significantly reduced, thanks to large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, with your data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps.

However, as with any new technology, you need to prepare to set Microsoft 365 Copilot up for success. For MSPs, this is an opportunity to equip organizations with the right technology and guidance to harness the full power of Copilot to transform their business operations and productivity.

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Your Three-Step Process to Ace Microsoft Copilot Adoption

Many organizations have been working through pilots of pre-generally available versions of Microsoft 365 Copilot. Based on conversations we’ve had with enterprise customers as well as our MSPs, there are three steps MSPs can take to help their clients maximize their Microsoft 365 Copilot rollout.

MSP Microsoft 365 Copilot Transition

1. Laying the Foundation

Set Goals

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be embedded in Microsoft 365 apps, such as Office Apps, Outlook, and Teams, and will leverage the volumes of data and in these applications to generate powerful insights and improve productivity.

Microsoft 365 Copilot also comes with Microsoft 365 Chat, which explores data volumes across Microsoft 365 apps – including emails, chats, and documents, among others – to understand employees’ roles, their business, and their priorities. This information allows Microsoft 365 Copilot to assist with tasks such as creating a document or booking a business trip.

What do all these features mean to MSPs? To fully capitalize on the multitude of functions of Microsoft 365 Copilot, you can assist companies in setting goals – assessing where it can offer benefits to their clients and how to achieve the specific goals they’ve set to bring measurable results.

This can begin with helping them analyze all department’s roles and activities, as well as productivity disruptors, and find out how Microsoft 365 Copilot can address specific challenges per department or how it can streamline specific tasks.

Declutter Data

Microsoft 365 Copilot serves as Microsoft 365 users’ assistant in creating documents, emails, and graphs, as well as generating ideas and analyzing data. However, because Microsoft 365 Copilot only analyzes data from Microsoft 365, it can only do its work effectively if users’ data are stored in Microsoft 365 applications, such as OneDrive, Teams, Outlook, and Office. This also means any information that is self-hosted or on other cloud platforms cannot form part of what Microsoft 365 Copilot analyzes.

While waiting for Microsoft 365 Copilot’s release, MSPs can begin assisting companies with reorganizing data volumes and helping them transfer their data to Microsoft 365 and provide services to help companies with data alignment to accelerate their Microsoft 365 Copilot adoption.

Similarly, it could be a timely opportunity to uncover data that can be discarded to help reduce the risk of redundant, outdated, or trivial. Why is this necessary?  Because everything that’s in your Microsoft 365 environment can be indexed by Microsoft 365 Copilot, a prompt by a user may pull outdated or duplicate data. As a result, this may impact the quality and accuracy of your results.

AvePoint Fly can assist with analyzing organizational data volumes and declutter data as MSPs help businesses prepare for Microsoft 365 Copilot. Fly can also provide unlimited data migration, whether it is from self-hosted or from other cloud-based platforms to Microsoft 365, to help businesses make the most out of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

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2. AI Readiness Check

Control Data Visibility

Microsoft 365 Copilot ensures privacy and security of data, but businesses’ security controls must be established already to work appropriately.

The absence of any security and data control measures can cause problems for your clients. For example, if a company does not have specific controls for data being handled by the finance department, there are high chances that a prompt from, say, a member of the sales team can pull confidential payroll information from finance.

Microsoft 365 Copilot can pull from anywhere within Microsoft 365 that a user has access to. Organizations then need to ensure that their data is well-protected and has the necessary data visibility controls before using Microsoft 365 Copilot.

To help businesses enable the necessary security controls, MSPs can utilize AvePoint Insights for their clients to get actionable insights to track and set appropriate data access, controls, and sharing among the entire workforce.

With AvePoint Insights, MSPs can help business administrators define high-risk data sets and see which employees or departments have access to company documents on the Microsoft 365 platform. Then, MSPs can help businesses automate, monitor, and edit these company restriction policies across various Microsoft 365 applications for more secure Microsoft 365 Copilot use.

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Guide users to do the right thing

Because AI tools, such as Microsoft 365 Copilot, will push forward a new way of working, users must also be able to keep up on how to leverage the tool that doesn’t go against their organization’s policies. Knowing how to handle data, as well as how to manage their workspaces to ensure Microsoft 365 Copilot can only access what it’s supposed to, is critical for users and business leaders alike to maintain security and compliance.

Through AvePoint MyHub, MSPs can help companies’ workforce easily navigate their workspaces, access their data, and enable the necessary data controls. Its capability to auto-force permission review and renewals, as well as managing memberships across Microsoft 365 Teams, and other groups and sites automatically and regularly, allow organizations to leave no room for mistakes and keep security controls in place so Microsoft 365 Copilot can only pull information it’s supposed to from the appropriate workspaces.

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3. Pre-Roll out Phase

Monitor data

Building a solid data foundation is one thing, and having the ability to maintain it is another. This is especially crucial as about 62% of employees spend a lot of time looking for information they need.

So, as companies approach their Microsoft 365 Copilot implementations, it’s vital that they know how to properly maintain their data. The inability to regularly review data and workspaces can cause inaccuracies in Microsoft 365 Copilot data pulls.

MSPs’ role does not end when they have ensured that all data resides in Microsoft 365. Companies consistently use Microsoft 365 Copilot for employee productivity also have to make sure that data remains organized, up-to-date, and accessible. And MSPs can play a huge role in this by assisting companies in monitoring and maintaining data.

AvePoint Cloud Governance can assist with data lifecycle management, which ensures important data and employees’ access to them are maintained, while outdated data are archived or removed. This helps improve the quality of data as companies use Microsoft 365 Copilot for their prompts.avepoint-cloud-governance

Understand user activity

As companies’ employees get assistance from Microsoft 365 Copilot to complete their tasks, it may be vital to understand how employees actually utilize the Microsoft 365 tools at their disposal. Having access to analytics of user activity can give a better understanding of what apps employees or departments mostly use at work, how apps help them in their productivity, which data sets are redundant or unnecessary, and how Microsoft 365 Copilot assists in all of these.

For companies, this can help prompt retraining if, for example, Microsoft 365 tools are not fully utilized by certain departments. Also based on this information, companies can provide better access to data sets, applications, or groups.

MSPs can assist companies by offering reliable tools to help them access these vital user trends, which builds on the first-party usage and engagement metrics Microsoft offers. With AvePoint tyGraph, MSPs can guide users to understand who does what, how their key performance indicators correlate to their daily activities, and even how they engage with employee-targeted announcements. Then, business leaders can take the necessary actions based on understandable user trends and information to improve Microsoft 365 Copilot’s role in their organization.

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Lead Successful Microsoft 365 Copilot Adoption with AvePoint

For companies, Microsoft 365 Copilot can become a reliable tool for boosting productivity among companies, which can eventually lead to better business results.

But the effective utilization of Microsoft 365 Copilot can only happen if proper preparations are made in place. MSPs can help companies reach their goals by giving them the proper foundation as they prepare for Microsoft 365 Copilot and its varied benefits.

Help companies take the first step towards sustainable, safe, and effective use of Copilot with AvePoint. Learn more about our approach to AI and register for our upcoming webinar on Microsoft Copilot.

Microsoft 365 Copilot 101 webinar

Phoebe Magdirila is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at AvePoint, covering SaaS management, backup, and governance. With a decade of technology journalism experience, Phoebe creates content to help businesses accelerate and manage their SaaS journey.

View all post by Phoebe Jennelyn Magdirila
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