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Generative AI copilots could promise “a workplace utopia.”

As Jamf Software grows globally and adds new employees in markets without offices, Chief Information Officer Linh Lam must make technology investments that can keep everyone on the same page.

“We’re not just trying to provide information, tools and the latest and greatest things just for those who are in the office,” says Lam.

Jamf, which helps business customers manage Apple devices, operates a fully hybrid workplace, and in some smaller markets it would be expensive to hire support staff. That led Lam to invest in Moveworks’ artificial intelligence copilot, integrated into Slack, and provide automated support for functions like IT and HR.

More than 70% of Jamf’s workforce currently uses the Moveworks copilot, known internally as Caspernicus. Lam says the copilot helps Jamf automate some of the work and allows employees to be more productive because they don’t always have to wait for an IT colleague to contact them when a problem arises. But she is also wary of perpetuating technological proliferation. “We don’t want to be in a situation where we have five or six different co-pilots,” says Lam.

Copilots promise a workplace utopia, making employees more productive, improving workflows and sharing knowledge across the organization. One study found that software developers who used Microsoft’s GitHut Copilot were able to complete tasks 56% faster than those who did not use the tool.

During Microsoft’s last earnings call in April, the tech giant said GitHub Copilot had 1.8 million paid subscribers, up more than 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of Fortune 500 companies use Copilot for Microsoft 365, with a customer base that includes Nvidia and Amgen.

But at a cost of $30 per user for Copilot for Microsoft 365, some companies have been cautious about how many employees they are willing to sign up for the service.

For rivals looking to compete with Microsoft, says Boston Consulting Group partner John Pineda, niche copilot offerings must go beyond the underlying strength of the models they rely on and focus more on domain specificity that leverages decades of service in a specific area, such as healthcare reflects.

“The responsibility lies with the more specialized players,” says Pineda. “If it’s a lot like your Microsoft Copilot, I think it’s going to be a lot harder.”

Thomson Reuters has a plug-in with Microsoft’s Copilot, a combination that allows users to work in Microsoft Word but access Reuters’ expertise on more complicated topics, including tax and law.

“Copilot itself is not designed to answer legal questions or assist with tax-related work,” said Kriti Sharma, Chief Product Officer Legal Tech at Thomson Reuters. “Our partnership with Microsoft is designed to give us intelligence where users work.”

For companies operating outside Microsoft’s ecosystem, Thomson Reuters also sells a generative AI assistant called CoCounsel, which can perform research, drafting and document review. “The use case for our CoCounsel experience is how we can speed that up, give them more confidence in the answers and most importantly cite the sources, which is very important for legal work,” says Sharma.

In May, software provider ServiceNow and Microsoft announced the integration of two generative AI assistants, ServiceNow Now Assist and Microsoft Copilot, allowing a user in Microsoft Teams to ask workplace-related questions to Now Assist. The integration will be sold as a premium ServiceNow offering starting this fall. Future capabilities include the ability for employees to create documents, such as a PowerPoint presentation, based on ServiceNow prompts.

“It’s simply a set of features enabled within your existing ServiceNow applications that use generative AI,” said Pat Casey, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of ServiceNow. “The idea that we need an external entity to coordinate AI services and communicate with the underlying application is just not the approach we took.”

Last year, consulting giant Accenture was one of the first companies to gain access to Copilot for Microsoft 365, Security Copilot and GitHub Copilot. Arnab Chakraborty, chief AI officer at Accenture, says that whenever a copilot is built – whether in-house or by a third-party vendor – an easy feedback loop should be established so that those testing the technology during the pilot phase can identify issues to share. that need to be addressed.

Chakraborty says guardrails are also needed to ensure employee personas are established to ensure that when a copilot shares an answer to a question, it doesn’t give every employee access to information that may be more restrictive.

And then there is training. As copilots are rolled out across organizations, Chakraborty says employees will gain access to a new tool that they have never used before or have had little experience with in the past. “We give them a manual,” says Accenture employee Chakraborty. “That goes a long way if you have the right discipline in using those tools.”

SAP launched a generative AI copilot, Joule, last fall; Since then, the enterprise software company has expanded the assistant horizontally to support HR tool SuccessFactors, SAP’s cloud offering, and will be fully integrated into all major SAP applications by the end of this year. “We are seeing a big increase among customers,” says SAP Chief AI Officer Philip Herzig.

By integrating Joule horizontally, a manager can look up an employee’s compensation, which can be found in an HR application; but if the next question is about whether there is room in the budget to give this employee a raise, then that is a financial question. The idea is that Joule will not have to require a manager to switch applications, but will be in both and can help with questions in multiple departments.

“To make it a true conversational experience that follows what the user wants, this integrated approach is essential,” says Herzig.

Unstructured, a startup that ingests and preprocesses unstructured data that can be ready for use with fundamental models, has leaned on kapa.ai’s chatbot to answer questions from the 3,000 engineers who are part of a free Slack community created by Unstructured.

The chatbot is cheap to use and helps answer user queries around the world. Unstructured CEO and co-founder Brian Raymond says the chatbot’s success is based on the company providing feedback to the chatbot and then making adjustments to the documentation.

When it comes to copilots, AI chatbots or AI agents, Raymond says Unstructured was “very skeptical about their effectiveness. We have even become more confident over time.”

But he says success is still limited. Technology is most adept at processing a question and providing an answer. Raymond is more skeptical of the complex, multi-step automation demonstrated by copilot vendors.

“The reality is that the technology still needs to mature a bit to be able to do this,” says Raymond.