back to article Experienced Copilot help is hard to find, warns Microsoft MVP

If you want to implement Microsoft's Copilot AI assistants, many consultancies in the software giant's channel may not yet have enough hands-on experience to be very helpful – because they've scarcely had a chance to use it, never mind develop meaningful expertise in the tool. That's coming from Loryan Strant, product and …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Good luck finding competent Copilot help"

    I misconstrued the headline to mean you'd need good luck to get any competent help out of Copilot itself. Quiet possibly true though.

  2. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Where to even start ... ?

    This AI lark seems to be requiring an exponential increase in available human skill, which wasn't in the picture I was first shown.

    However, if the outcome is that cohorts of freshly-laundered consultants are perpetually trapped in conference rooms furiously arguing their respective competences with Clippy, I'm all for it.

  3. GlenP Silver badge

    Seen it before...

    I seem to recall exactly the same back when Exchange first came on the scene. Consultants who'd actually completed an implementation could virtually be counted on the fingers of one hand.

    Suffice to say we will not be looking at 365 Copilot but I'm waiting for the first C-Suite to say, "I've heard about this great new tool, when can we have it?"

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Seen it before...

      Just mention they've had great success with it replacing at C-Suite l level

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Seen it before...

        I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    2. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Seen it before...

      But Exchange was/is actually useful!

      I've been trying to excise Copilot from our systems. Surprisingly (or not) it's quite difficult. M$ added it to the subscription licenses and ticked it by default. Now turned off. It appears on the taskbar in the latest release of W11, and is apparently coming to W10 (testing a Powershell script to remove it at the moment), It appears in Edge (not tackled that yet - anyone got any tips?). If only Intune had a settings option to tell all Copilot iterations to fuck off, but of course it doesn't as they want to force it on their customers, whether they like it or (more likely) not!

      1. ecarlseen

        Re: Seen it before...

        Exchange eventually became useful. The first two releases... let's just say Lotus Notes was better.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Seen it before...

          I suffered Lotus Notes. As an email client it was awful.

          Then they made us use Exchange and Outlook. So far as I can tell this is actually meant to be an email system, among other things. Somehow it was far, far worse in that role than the godawful Notes (/Domino) thing.

          Some achievement.

          -A.

          1. HandleBaz

            Re: Seen it before...

            Maybe I've got stockholm syndrome, since I've only ever used Outlook and assorted webmail clients, but outlook is fine?

            It does all the things that I need it to do, reasonably fast, and it has a calendar, which is nice.

            1. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: Seen it before...

              You probably joined the party at version 30, after which other poor fuckers had ironed out all of the noticeable bugs.

              1. 43300 Silver badge

                Re: Seen it before...

                The worst email client I ever encountered was one which was a combined mail / mailgroup conferencing type thing - think it was called VIrtual Access. Really dire!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't unusual...

    In my career I worked for both small and large Microsoft Channel Partner and as a consumer/customer in an IT department.

    I had more information and support (especially under NDA) from Microsoft as a customer/consumer than I ever had as a partner, unless you're part of someone like Avenade (who are a JV between Accenture and MS) or KPMG. This is because Microsoft always put their own staff first and their internal services department & targets ahead of partners - in the past Partners would get benefits like free licences for stuff like Co-Pilot but partners get very little now.

    1. Dave@Home

      Re: This isn't unusual...

      some consultants feel they "only need to be one page ahead of the customer."

      Same as it ever was

  5. Misklikk

    Good ol' snake oil peddlin'

    My company is part of the Early Adopter Program and so far adoption was taken extra slow.

    Despite a dedicated internal team which was formed around bringing AI services to the masses and direct support from MS, the article's content is congruent with my experience as someone that had access to it since summer in the capacity of an M365 Engineer.

    It boggles my mind how adoption is basically driven by providing generalist prompts and asking "well, what would <b>you</b> do with it?".

    What's more is that everyone talks about adoption while uttering no word about the ethics of AI use (power consumption and sources, sociopolitical aspects like how some of these models were trained to behave on the backs of the psychological well-being of Kenyan contract workers being paid pennies, the copyright issues, accuracy issues etc.). It would feel disingenuous to stand in front of users asking them to try it while criticism is heavily politicized and shut down.

    Just this week we've experienced an "oopsie" with internet access for Copilot being turned on (resp. made user-configurable) caused by an admin center fault that caused the respective setting to do nothing when trying to turn it off again.

    MS and their representatives behave a lot more like salesmen and -women than actual adoption partners all the while.

    If you've ever thought your C-Suite was off the rails wanting something without knowing what to use it for - this is exactly the feeling I get, but from the provider, which is somehow worse.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Good ol' snake oil peddlin'

      C-suite execs always want the latest buzzword without knowing what to use it far.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Good ol' snake oil peddlin'

        How else can one look bright at the country club party? Bragging about family and school connections only goes so far.

  6. NewThought

    Co-Pilot helps developers to write code. What's the consultancy for?

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Ah, but which co-pilot is that? MS are vigourously thrusting "co-pilot" into pretty much everything.

      [ For code, the consultancy should be about making it produce the right code, that actually works, is secure, efficient, and not plagiarised - so good luck with that. In practice it'll be vague waffle about curated training sets and well-crafted queries. That'll be 2 grand, thanks (per hour or any part thereof). ]

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See the Reg article - You get a Copilot, and you get a Copilot – Microsoft now the Copilot company

      First there was copilot for coding - which I use and enjoy myself - I have found it useful, (although not so great helping with accurate meaningful comments).

      Because of that success, MS marketing decided to use confusingly similar names for all their new LLM products, which may be more about administration and less about coding.

      I know nothing about those other products - I just know the naming is confusing, and could possibly dilute the market value of the name "Co-pilot".

    3. Avalanche

      You're thinking of GitHub Copilot. Microsoft, following a long line of questionable naming choices, has decided to use the "Copilot" name for a number of other AI-related projects...

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        They do afer all have a history of using the same name for unrelated or partly-related things - Outlook, Teams...

        1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          MS's modus operandi

          Alongside the equally annoying counterpart, rebranding the same thing with a new name a dozen times over.

          Or both, for maximum confusion.

          1. 43300 Silver badge

            Re: MS's modus operandi

            Entrails, formerly Azure AD!

  7. Bump in the night
    Joke

    Jesus is my copilot

    Can I get an amen?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Jesus is my copilot

      Ramen.

  8. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    > Almost nobody has used it, or knows it well, so beware of consultants bearing cred

    B-But, I have 10 years of experience with Copilot!

    Why is it always 10 years? Apparently 9 years 11 months isn't good enough for HR.

  9. BeansB

    Just waiting for the first job descriptions that require 10-15 years of experience with Copilot.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The same applies...

    ...to quite a few fields within IT.

    Cryptography

    Network Infrastructure

    Cloud Architecture

    Systems Administration

    etc etc

    People get away with murder in these fields because the customer has no frame of reference for the quality of work they are getting...as long as the new thing is faster/most secure/a bit cheaper than the old thing, they got bang for buck...but usually, simply providing a faster, slightly cheaper, a bit more secure solution is just par for the course in these areas...you can achieve that by just upgrading things without any real thought. If you replace a 3 year old bit of kit with a brand new bit of kit, it's almost certainly going to be faster because of the way tech progresses it's highly likely to be cheaper as well, because what was top tier can now be outperformed by mid tier etc.

    Hell, in some cases, on cloud platforms, if you deploy a new instance at exactly the same tier as an existing instance, it can also be faster...because the underlying servers might have newer CPU architecture and higher clock speeds...so you can get a performance boost for no extra cost and bill for "optimisation" because you achieved more performance by essentially doing nothing.

    *points finger around the room*

    You know who you are! You cheeky monkeys you! Working for that MSP scamming money. You caddish bounders! Charging to come and install Windows 11 on Windows 10 machines and just sitting there...sending someone onsite "just in case something doesn't work" after the upgrade. Scallywags! Ooh and that LetsEncrypt certificate you need to renew every 3 months on that webserver that you charge a nifty fifty for...naughty...buying a new Office 365 license for each new starter and not re-assigning licenses for people that have left...and not reviewing it for years because you get a commission...I see you!

    I know you're there, I find your handiwork everywhere...people are always creeping out of the woodwork asking for "we need something cheaper the LetsEncrypt, it's costing us £200 a year" or "We need to review our wifi and routers...we have this setup called Meraki and it seems to cost us a fortune".

    To be fair, without all this rogue-like behaviour, I'd probably have a much harder time finding work, because shooting down bandits is low hanging fruit...I also quite enjoy it...there used to be a few IT support services in my area that perceived me as the grim reaper. One threatened to sue me because after I helped a few of his customers out (unwittingly, didn't know they used the same IT support firm, and I was quite new to the area, the new sheriff in town if you will), word got around about their pattern of con-artistry and they apparently started losing customers hand over fist. Took them about 6 months to find me. I got followed out of a client and when I stopped to fuel up, a little old Indian guy got out of an old fucked black Jag and he started calling me a "fucking prick" on the forecourt. I had no idea who he was, I just thought he was fucking mental...he called me names for about 15 minutes, then got back in his Jag and buggered off...spotted the same knackered Jag a few days later outside one of the local IT businesses as I was walking past and he came out again and launched into a tirade "You enjoy fucking me? You think you clever guy? You stealing my business! Fuck you, fuck off away from my shop!"...felt like I was in an episode of South Park or something...truly surreal. He never did sue me, presumably because there were no grounds to sue me as I never actually said a bad word about their business, because I didn't know it was all the same business...well I suspected because I had to try and fix the same problem on the same laptop at two different companies...what are the odds of that?

    They ended up re-branding and moving their business to a different town...the owner opened a vape shop in place of their old shop.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: The same applies...

      Becasue the pros and competent ones will never be paid their real worth and won't do the work for the pay offered.

      "The person who buys based solely on the cheapest price is fair prey to those who take advantage of them."

      - some famous person I can't remember right now.

  11. NerryTutkins

    Microsoft naming catastrophe... again

    So there are two different things called Copilot.

    Then there is Visual Studio, and Visual Studio Code, which are two different things.

    Then there is .NET, and the legacy version which is now referred to as .NET Framework, which are two different things.

    I heard Satya Nadella has two daughters and they're both called Susan.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    Am I missing something?

    Isn't the whole point of Copilot.... to not NEED assistants?

    Or is it not fit for purpose as advertised?

    Yes, that's a rhetorical question. It is after all, Microsoft, innit?

  13. P_Jamez

    Just waiting to hear that it will be available on the Blockchain and one needs to buy AI-Coins to use it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, joy. And a whole bunch of our IT team are assigned to this as an early-access pilot of the damn thing.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Oh, joy. And a whole bunch of our IT team are assigned to this as an early-access pilot of the damn thing.

      Would that be an "early-access CoPilot of the damn thing"?

      /me ducks and runs for cover...

  15. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    I guess Co-pilot is so good, then why hasvent they fired all their team at Redmon ?

  16. Tron Silver badge

    Pro tip for all new Microsoft products.

    Wait for two or three years after release for the crash test dummies to iron out the kinks the hard way. Then, and only then, begin considering whether it is actually worth bothering with.

    Caveat. For anything advertised as 'AI', give it five years at least.

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Schoolboys in Disgrace

      > Wait for two or three years after release for the crash test dummies to iron out the kinks the hard way

      Interestingly, The Kinks split in 1996, around three years after the Crash Test Dummies' big hit, "Mmm mmm mmm mmm".

      Is this purely a bizarre coincidence or are you covertly suggesting that, for some strange reason, the Dummies saw the final years of The Kinks as a threat to their own future chart success and (mafia-style) "ironed out" The Kinks by engineering a final falling out between the Davies brothers?

      Hmm.

      (Or, indeed, "mmm").

      > iron out the kinks the hard way

      Also, while we're doing odd coincidences, The Kinks had a song called "The Hard Way". (*)

      (*) Probably NSFW, assuming you're unfortunate enough to work at the sort of place that'd find an album cover with a silly Beano-style cartoon of a schoolboy with a bare backside (and a silhouette of a teacher with a cane- presumably the one just used to whack him- in the background) objectionable.

  17. Ball boy Silver badge

    If this AI stuff was good...

    ...then you'd only ever need to install one seat. Then you tell it to figure out your IT infrastructure and set about installing itself correctly into the environment...

    Okay, okay, I'll get my coat.

  18. druck Silver badge
    Flame

    Since when...

    ...have Microsoft MVPs been any help with anything?

  19. ActuandoWoody

    But where is Copilot for Business?

    I did a search in microsoft.com for different names/versions of Copilot:

    Microsoft 365 Copilot

    Copilot

    Microsoft Copilot

    Copilot for Microsoft 365

    Copilot - Microsoft AI

    Copilot in Windows

    Copilot for Work

    Microsoft Bing

    Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365

    Microsoft 365 Copilot in Word

    Microsoft 365 Copilot in Excel

    Microsoft 365 Copilot in Teams

    Microsoft 365 Copilot in PowerPoint

    Copilot in Edge

    Microsoft Copilot Studio

    Copilot in Outlook

    Microsoft Copilot for Service

    Microsoft Copilot in OneNote

    Copilot in Word

    AI Copilot

    Microsoft 365 Copilot in Loop

    Copilot in Outlook

    Microsoft Fabric and Copilot in Microsoft Power BI

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot

    Copilot in Azure

    Github Copilot

    Copilot for Microsoft 365 in Word

    GitHub Copilot extension

    Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales

    Security Copilot

    Microsoft Sales Copilot

    Copilot in Power Apps

    Microsoft Security Copilot

    GitHub Copilot Chat extension for Visual Studio

    Copilot in Microsoft Stream

    Copilot in Power Automate

    Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365

    Teams AI Library

    Sales Copilot for Microsoft Teams

    GitHub Copilot in Visual Studio 2022

    Copilot in Azure Quantum (only if you don't look at it)

    At this point, I got bored (and disappointed, not to find "Copilot for Business").

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