BNZ, engineering firm Beca and Genesis Energy are among the first organisations in New Zealand to deploy M365 Copilot, Microsoft's generative AI service.
M365 Copilot combines large language models with organisational data from Microsoft 365 to boost productivity across apps like Microsoft Teams, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
“Business leaders within the early access programme have an opportunity to gain a first-mover advantage in their sectors, and enable greater productivity in a market that is navigating sustained economic pressure,” said Lucy Debono, modern work business group director at Microsoft A/NZ.
“These early adopters will work closely with Microsoft to use this technology, test it within their teams, help us to improve it further and drive great employee experiences.”
Programme members will receive support from Microsoft modern work experts and Copilot cloud solution architects to help them derive maximum value.
Customers in the early access programme will also benefit from the recently announced extensibility model, with developers able to integrate their apps and services into Microsoft 365 Copilot. This includes plugins from partners such as Atlassian, Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks and Mural.
BNZ has been one of the first organisations in New Zealand to deploy M365 Copilot as part of the programme.
"BNZ is always looking for new ways to deliver market leading products, services and expertise to our customers,” said BNZ executive of data analytics and strategy Kate Skinner.
Generative AI offered "immense potential" to increase productivity and help employees deliver exceptional customer experiences, Skinner said.
Debono said there was an opportunity for financial services organisations to benefit from speeding up content creation for customer communication and reports which in turn could free up teams to spend more time on higher value customer support and service delivery.
Recent Capgemini research shows 33 per cent of utility and energy companies worldwide have begun to pilot generative AI.
Locally, Genesis Energy has deployed the technology to cohorts of users who found it improved productivity and creativity through simplification.
“Genesis operates in a complex sector undergoing massive transformation,” said Ed Hyde, Genesis’ chief transformation and technology officer.
“We see an opportunity for AI productivity tools like M365 Copilot to help our team simplify their workload so they can focus their creativity and energy on more productive tasks.”
As an example, he said, the technology provided excellent summaries and outlines of meetings and interactions between staff members, improving communication, collaboration and efficiency of workflow.
Hyde said team members reported the programme gave them more “strategic thinking time”, while reducing the pressure and stress of undertaking mundane tasks.
“The tools complement our existing skills and knowledge,” Hyde said. “We see the programme as a springboard for our broader AI transformation.”
For Beca, which developed its own AI tool now being offered on the Microsoft Teams store, being part of the early access programme provided opportunities to shape the development of tools like M365 Copilot.
“One of our strategic goals is to be a future-fit enterprise where we invest in and maximise the benefit from future-fit systems and digital tools,” said Justine Cormack, Beca's manager of digital transformation.
Tools such as M365 Copilot used technologies that were developing incredibly fast, she said.
"We believe that it is essential that Beca remains at the forefront of AI learning, to release more time to focus on the things that create positive impacts for our people, our clients and our communities.”