Microsoft 365 Copilot will have a big impact on how people work and boost productivity beyond imagination. To get the most value from this new capability, you will need to improve content management in terms of structure, lifecycle, and protection. This post outlines what steps to take and how to align this with migrating data to Microsoft Teams, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.

Copilot is Productivity on steroids

Microsoft 365 Copilot and generative AI in general is going to change a lot for productivity in the workplace. There’s already a lot of content on the web that explains the benefits and how it can help people to spend their valuable time more efficiently.

I’ve already spent some time using Microsoft 365 Copilot and is already saving me time when working in Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Loop, OneNote and especially Excel. As I need to do a lot of data-analysis and progress reporting for migrations, Copilot helps with quickly providing formulas that would normally take more time to define.

How Microsoft 365 Copilot helps with productivity in Excel
Source: Microsoft – Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot—A whole new way to work

Obviously, Microsoft 365 Copilot can do much more than helping with formulas in Excel. The benefit of using Microsoft 365 Copilot, is that it can securely work with the data in your Microsoft 365-tenant. Any prompts or so-called “informed responses” from prompts are not used to train the Large Language Model behind Microsoft 365 Copilot. So no worries of losing (sensitive) data to the internet.

And this “magic” results in productivity on steroids. Getting information from existing documents when writing a new one, or summarizing conversations in teams to get up to date. Microsoft 365 Copilot can access documents, emails, calendar, chats, meetings, and contacts based on your permissions in Microsoft 365.
And it uses this data in the working context of the user. Which is an important benefit over ChatGPT, apart from keeping data secure in your tenant.
Those are just some examples of how Copilot can save you minutes per day.

Pluggable ecosystem

Wait, there’s more! Copilot is extensible through a plug-in ecosystem.

This would also enable integration of data from line of business applications. It’s going to be awesome! More info on this can be read in the article Empowering every developer with plugins for Microsoft 365 Copilot | Microsoft 365 Blog.

Get your data sorted

But there’s a catch! Or actually a fundamental prerequisite to get the best results with Microsoft 365 Copilot. It’s to get your data in shape.

Preparing for Microsoft 365 Copilot in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center
Source: Microsoft

Microsoft 365 Copilot uses the Microsoft Graph when processing prompts, so getting data into Microsoft 365 is kind of obvious to make the experience valuable. So there’s a first link with data migrations.

Avoiding ROT

However, simply moving content from on-premises file shares to your Microsoft 365 tenant is a NOT guarantee for success. Content needs to be managed to avoid that becomes ROT (Redundant, Obsolete/Outdated, and Trivial).
So importing Redundant content, as in duplicates of the same data, will have an impact on the quality of prompt output when using Microsoft 365 Copilot.
The same applies for an even bigger typical problem: Obsolete content may give you prompt output that contains outdated/incorrect data.

And Trivial content should also be avoided as it does not add any value and may even lead to confusion.

Data migration to the rescue

The good thing is, that when you’re preparing to migrate your on-premises content to Microsoft 365, you can take the proper precautions to avoid ROT and optimize how you manage content.

Steps may include:

  • Taking the time to analyse the on-premises content in terms of age, relevancy, and value. Depending on the business you’re in, it might result in changing the scope and approach to just include files that have been created or modified in the last 3 years when migrating to OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint. While the older content could be moved to low-cost storage like Azure Files if regulations require storage for a longer period.
  • Using the Microsoft Purview Information Protection Scanner to gain insights on sensitive content. Based on these insights, you can take the proper actions to secure this content on a container or item level.
  • Investing in data governance & security for working with the tools and apps in Microsoft 365 with specific focus on the following topics:
    • Information structure – Organizing containers like Teams or separate SharePoint sites by using naming conventions, sensitivity labels and implementing policies to avoid oversharing. Using an automated provisioning solution can help to deploy such containers and their configuration in a managed repetitive process. Using Entra ID Access reviews will help to ensure access to content is provided only as long as needed.
    • Content lifecycle management – Implementing retention labels and policies to manage how long content should be retained to comply with internal and external rules and regulations.
    • Information Protection – Implementing sensitivity labels and measures to protect content against unintended use. And actively managing permissions providing access to specific Microsoft Teams or SharePoint Online containers.

These steps can all be included in the scope for the preparation and execution of your data migration project and will help to prepare for Microsoft 365 Copilot when it becomes available.

Doing it together

As Microsoft 365 Copilot will bring significant changes in productivity, a joined effort is a must. Learning how to optimize prompts, sharing usage experiences and managing the overall change, requires an organized approach.

People collaborating generated by Microsoft 365 Copilot using DALL-E
Source: generated by Microsoft 365 Copilot using DALL-E

Forming a team that will cover the functional, technical, compliance, security, and adoption disciplines is a must for a proper take-off and ongoing management, once Microsoft 365 Copilot becomes available.

Nothing new

By the way, managing your content in the ways as described in this article is not something completely new. The same recommendations apply when you want to improve control over your content lifecycle, information protection, Viva Topics, Microsoft Syntex or simply get better results from Microsoft Search.

Microsoft 365 Copilot simply adds a new context for managing content properly to get the best value from the new capabilities and the investment in these licences.

And including it in your data migration project is basically leveraging the momentum and combining activities.

Getting your data into shape: It’s the proper thing to do 🙂