I sat down with Drew Hartley, AIS Director of Generative AI, for a Q&A to explore the nuances of Azure OpenAI, Copilot Studio, and the future of AI in business. Drew’s insights, drawn directly from our conversation, provide a perspective into these innovative technologies. The contents of our discussion have been edited for length and clarity.

Brennen Schmidt: Drew, let’s start with Azure OpenAI. What is it, and what are its key benefits for businesses?

Drew Hartley: I think there are s a few aspects that really make the Azure OpenAI offering valuable. Azure has a lot of customers; with many enterprises using it for their cloud capabilities. Azure gives you this powerful ecosystem and platform we’ve seen organizations building on.

When you embed something like Azure OpenAI, there are eye-opening capabilities that are safe and secure. Data stored in Azure OpenAI is walled and fenced in; meaning the data doesn’t travel outside your enclave. That’s huge when you’re like many organizations that are concerned with information security.

Schmidt: Moving on to Copilot Studio, can you discuss its role and advantages, particularly in enhancing efficiency and productivity?

Hartley: Microsoft’s Copilot Studio has a similar capability. This tool used to be called Power Virtual Agent, which is an out-of-box chatbot.

Microsoft’s recently announced Copilot Studio is another way for organizations to build copilots using similar concepts, like OpenAI GPTs, but with more powerful capabilities. Copilot Studio offers more flexibility to customize content, including the ability to identify specific topics that you want it to focus on. You can test and validate that the copilot (chatbot) is working.

This kind of testing capability allows organizations to identify patterns quickly, while also equipping them to get use cases out to production across the organization.

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Schmidt: Lastly, Drew, what high-level recommendations can you offer to businesses considering these AI technologies?

Hartley: This technology is not going away; this is not hype. There is real value here. Strategically, this is the direction.

We are big proponents of the experimentation cycle where you create a hypothesis; you build something, you monitor, assess the impact, and then decide to keep it or stick with what you had before.

If you’re thinking of rolling this out within your organization, start by getting the dialogue going. Try to challenge yourself to identify let’s say 10 use cases. You might keep five, you might keep 3, you might keep 9.

In any case, it’s about experimentation. You don’t have to “hit it out of the park” on that first one. But by pushing the yardstick forward with a simple use case, you will create this momentum that allows you to start realizing the value of the technology. Over time, teams can begin to reap great benefits when looking to solve simple issues in a short amount of time.

Schmidt: Thanks, Drew. Our discussion offered insightful perspectives on Azure OpenAI and CoPilot Studio, their roles in advancing business efficiency and productivity, and the strategic approach to leveraging AI technologies.

Authored with OpenAI

This post was co-authored with the assistance of OpenAI technology, which was used to process and analyze a recorded transcript of the conversation with Drew Hartley. The insights and quotes presented are directly derived from the transcript, ensuring accuracy and authenticity in representing Drew’s viewpoints. The use of GPT technology enabled the efficient synthesis and structuring of the interview content into this blog post format, with minor edits.

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