Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

40 COVER STORY report. Of those surveyed, 90 per cent say that AI saves them time during the workday, 85 per cent believe it allows them to focus on their most important tasks, 84 per cent credit it for enabling them to be more creative and 83 per cent say it helps them to enjoy work more. Employees are reaping the benefits of AI to the extent that 78 per cent of those surveyed are bringing their own AI tools to work. And that figure rises to 80 per cent for small and medium-sized companies. “While leaders agree AI is a business imperative, many believe their organisation lacks a plan and vision to go from individual impact to applying AI to drive the bottom line,” say Microsoft and LinkedIn in the report. Powering the bottom line Copilot for Microsoft 365 has been generally available since November 2023 and organisations are reaping its benefits. For example, telecommunications company Lumen Technologies is using Microsoft Copilot for Sales to enhance productivity for several thousand of its employees in sales and customer service teams. “It typically takes a seller four hours to do research for customer outreach, and with generative AI, they can now do that in 15 minutes,” says Kerrie Davis, senior director of commercial enablement at Lumen. “Four hours back each week is worth $50 million in revenue over a 12-month period.” Lumen also plans to roll out Copilot for Microsoft 365 to its entire workforce. The company, which was one of the early adopters of Copilot, implemented the technology from the top down with the aim of enhancing the employee experience by automating routine tasks to reduce workloads. “One of my favourite things in talking to employees who have used Copilot is that it’s one of those things that they just refuse to have taken away,” says Ryan Asourian, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Lumen. “I use it all the time for meetings I can’t attend. If I’m double- or triple-booked, I can go back and just say, ‘Tell me what I missed – what should I be focused on and who do I need to follow up with?’. I love watching the way our sales, marketing and engineering teams are using this to really make sure they’re more productive and spending time on the things that they need to do versus getting distracted by anything else. Copilot is magic at work.” Another early Copilot adopter is the Greek energy provider Motor Oil Group. The company began by exploring Copilot’s capabilities within its IT department. It then trained people in its various subsidiaries to use Copilot until 10 per cent of its staff became active users. Motor Oil used the tool to craft a five-page speech for the company’s annual financial update in less than two minutes. “It not only contained all the important points, but also correlated data from the presentation with other company information, such as our acquisitions,” says Jason Orphanidis, IT manager of retail and new technologies at Motor Oil. “It explained the company’s growth, how certain factors affected the figures and highlighted the changes from the previous year. With some minor adjustments, it was ready to go.” Other departments have followed suit, using Copilot to make processes faster and more efficient. For example, Motor Oil’s human resources department has saved time updating employee profiles and job descriptions, while its marketing teams are creating presentations quickly with content from specific documents. Lumen and Motor Oil are just two of the many companies leveraging Copilot and other Microsoft AI solutions to enhance workplace productivity. Another example is the Coca-Cola Company, which has increased its investment in Microsoft from $250 million to $1.1 billion to experiment with Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service for generative AI solutions. Coca-Cola has already migrated its apps to Azure and used Azure OpenAI Service to improve workloads across marketing, manufacturing and supply chain processes. Next, it plans to explore how generative “ Copilot is magic at work” RYAN ASOURIAN, LUMEN TECHNOLOGIES