Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered virtual assistant designed for Windows 11 and the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
It integrates into popular Microsoft apps, such as Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, to “transform your everyday tasks into opportunities for growth and innovation”.
Among a wide variety of features, Copilot can turn simple Word docs into stunning PowerPoint presentations, summarise and highlight key points in Outlook email chains, and help you organise and take the lead in Teams meetings.
In each instance, information is extracted from organisation-specific data to provide personalised outputs for each user.
In this Interview, Ryan Ramawoothar, Director of Cloud and Software at First Technology, talks about Microsoft Copilot, Artificial Intelligence, and how emerging technology will affect the future of business.
With an IT career spanning almost two decades, Ramawoothar has developed a keen sense for emerging trends and market shifts, using his skills and insights to ensure First Technology and its customers are ready to embrace the ever-evolving nature of their industries and the business landscape.
Which Microsoft Copilot features stand out to you?
The standout feature for everyday users has to be its ability to enhance productivity and be more efficient in your role.
Copilot has been developed to simplify tasks, provide insights and automate processes by analysing the data in the MS Cloud and behavioural patterns, instantaneously making users more efficient.
Picture a virtual assistant that understands your data and workflow, and continually seeks ways to make it smoother.
How will Copilot affect the everyday user’s experience?
Companies will encourage their staff to use Copliot to increase productivity, automate tasks, and achieve their goals with speed.
There will always be reluctance when people are asked to try out something new, but when you ask them to use or try something they are familiar with, like Copliot, which will form part of the Microsoft suite, you will receive less pushback. Simply put, Microsoft Copilot will be looked at as an efficient, super-fast assistant we wish we always had.
What sets Copilot apart from other similar AI assistants?
The integration. From an organisation reaping benefits and end-user standpoint, the best-suited AI tool for companies is likely to be the one that complements the productivity tools they are using.
If you use Teams and Microsoft Office applications, Copilot is by far the better choice.
Microsoft Copilot currently has the edge in my opinion as it’s the best at querying data from different applications to augment the one you’re using.
And then, most importantly to the end user, the way it enhances Teams goes well beyond any other tool available.
How does First Technology approach the implementation of Copilot?
IT companies like ourselves play a crucial role in deploying AI technologies by making sure it’s used efficiently, strategically and ethically.
AI relies heavily on data. First Technology assists by setting up or migrating your data into warehouses, ensuring the proper data hygiene and building robust processes to drive the data algorithms.
Deploying AI technologies also requires a mix of specialised skills in machine learning, data science and software development. At First Technology, we have teams that bring these diverse skill sets together.
Implementing an AI tool is the beginning of the journey, it means nothing if your employees are not skilled in using the tools. Comprehensive training and change management has to be rolled out to use the tool effectively.
Lastly, we focus on security and scalability. The systems need to be fully secure and configured to ethical standards along with being able to scale into other systems and maintain that security overlay.
Why should prospective clients consider First Technology the preferred supplier and implementation specialist of Copilot and Microsoft software?
We have a partnership spanning 4 decades as Microsoft’s Largest LSP (Large Selling Provider) in the MEA region (Middle East and Africa).
Our partnership goes back to the very first Microsoft licence ever sold in the country and has grown from strength to strength ever since.
We hold the largest market share for enterprise contracts in the country and have invested heavily in resourcing, development and marketing, all built around Microsoft technology.
Our annual business goals for our Microsoft division are built around Microsoft’s customer fulfilment KPIs across all their product specialities.
We live and breathe deriving maximum value out of Microsoft products for our customers.
In terms of skills, we have the benefit of depth and breadth and encourage customers to engage with us to ensure we’re aligned with the ever-changing business requirements of their industries.
What importance does AI currently play in modern business, and how do you see that role evolving?
The introduction of AI tools in business is the most significant wave of technology in the modern era and is transforming how we do business.
There is an incredible amount of data on the internet and within companies’ environments. When it is analysed and the patterns and trends are examined, it becomes an invaluable set of data when converted into actionable insights.
Bot processes paired with AI have already shown to perform complex tasks with lightning-quick results, which would’ve previously been a mundane task performed by a human.
In the customer experience segment, chatbots and virtual assistants provide instant support while AI-influenced systems enhance personalisation in platforms like Netflix.
Concerning the evolution of AI, I see there being two important points: ethics and regulation, as well as job evolution.
As AI becomes more integrated into our businesses and we’re more dependent on it, there has to be a stronger push for regulations to ensure safety, privacy and ethics.
Regarding job safety and evolution, while AI will automate many tasks, it will create new jobs and roles, demanding a workforce skilled in AI.
How do you see the relationship between AI and humans growing in the future? Where is this all heading?
The relationship between AI and humans is multifaceted and will continue to evolve based on advancements in society and the regulations set.
AI will likely serve as a tool to augment and work alongside human abilities rather than replace them in many instances.
As an example, in the education sector, AI-driven learning platforms could assist educators in customising content for individual learners, and help teachers pinpoint where students are struggling.
In medicine, AI might analyse images with precision, but human experts will still make the final decision based on the broader context.