Here Come The Copilots!

This week, as I discuss in today’s podcast, Microsoft blew us away again. The company delivered $61.9 Billion in revenue last quarter (up 17%) and Microsoft Cloud reached $35.1 billion, growing 23%. And every other business is on fire: Azure grew by 31%, Office and LinkedIn grew by 12%, and PC and Windows grew by 17%.

But the biggest story of all is the Copilot. According to the announcement, 60% of the Fortune 500 companies are now using Microsoft Copilot. And as I discuss in the podcast, the “preview version” has quietly appeared in every version of Windows 10 and Windows 11 (I have it). So I would argue that this new product may be the largest business-centric AI tool in the market already, even though most companies are still just experimenting with its capability.

As I talked this over with Microsoft execs (with more announcements coming the week of May 20, when we have Microsoft execs at Irresistible), something started to occur to me. Just as Microsoft Office crashed the PC software party in 1998 (more or less killing off Multiplan, Visicalc, Lotus 1-2-3, Wordperfect, and others), the Microsoft Copilot could do the same. Note that Microsoft calls it “Your Everyday AI Companion.” You can see precisely where they’re going.

And I’m not drinking the Microsoft Coolaid here – I see all the work they’re doing. The Copilot, which has many versions, now sports the Copilot Studio, which lets any developer or IT professional configure, customize, and add to the experience. There are Copilot plugins (apps that the Copilot can access), search connectors (connecting the Copilot to your data), and other ways to customize the experience.

I went into the Copilot Studio for our tenant (we use all MS stuff) and in about twenty minutes I built a chatbot that we could use to front-end our various websites. It wasn’t perfect but I got it working in less than an hour. This means IT shops and developers are going to go nuts with this stuff and we’re going to see manifestations of the Copilot all over our companies.

MS Copilot architecture

Not everything works correctly yet (I saw a demo of a Copilot plugin that failed because the Copilot generated its own answer without using the plugin, and then re-generated the plugin’s response inadequately) but there will be a lot coming. Just like there are thousands of Excel plugins and Word add-ons for Microsoft Office, we can expect to see an industry of Copilot plugins and tools to come next. And the “Microsoft 365 Copilot” securely analyzes all the files in your company or team, so it will get smarter over time.

Remember when Microsoft Teams came out and everyone thought it was just an ugly step-sister to Zoom? Well it was a little funky at first, but now Microsoft Teams has a larger market share than Zoom for communication and collaborative software, with 42.6% compared to Zoom’s 6.8%. The folks at Microsoft just keep plugging away, making products a little bit better all the time. And they are betting the farm on the Copilot.

I won’t get into all the new features and implications of this yet, but I really believe this is a game-changer. Google has no real entry in the corporate space and OpenAI’s direct sales may quickly be dwarfed by Microsoft’s presence. Apple has yet to make Siri anything important either (but I am sure they see what’s going on).

What does this say about all the amazing tools like Paradox, ServiceNow (NowAssist), Galileo™ (Sana), Joule (SAP), and others? I think we’ll have a world of the “generic assistant” like Copilot complimented and supplemented with the specialized assistants like Galileo™, Paradox, and others. If you’ve used Galileo you’ve seen how spectacular the user experience can be. And we have barely started to integrate all our Josh Bersin Academy and other materials into the system. But I know well we have to talk to the Copilot, support it, and coexist with it.

All I can say is that I’m impressed. Not only has Microsoft delivered on this thing, they’re back to their relentless approach to product development. It’s always a little hard to tell what’s real and what’s marketing from Microsoft, but the company has a history of “getting it right over time.” In this case, I think the Copilot is proving itself in the market, and has the potential to reinvent the company’s position in our professional lives.

Listen to my podcast this week to learn more. I also talk about the impact on ServiceNow, Workday, SAP, Paradox, and others. And come to Irresistible where we will be unlocking some of the secrets to Galileo and share the details of what’s coming next.

Additional Information

Introducing Galileo™, The World’s First AI-Powered Assistant For HR and Leaders

Why I’m Bullish On Workday: News From The Innovation Summit

Enterprise AI At Work: The Talent Intelligence Primer

Will Chatbots Take Over Recruitment? Paradox Sets The Pace.

A Peek Under The Covers Of SAP SuccessFactors’ AI Strategy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *