Microsoft brings AI productivity tools to New Zealand organisations with launch of Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program

 |   Microsoft NZ Newscentre

Copilot imagery

BNZ, Beca and Genesis Energy among first New Zealand companies to leverage Microsoft 365 Copilot  

Microsoft has today announced the first New Zealand organisations to access Microsoft 365 (M365) Copilot as part of the invitation-only global Early Access Program.  

BNZ, Beca and Genesis Energy are among the first organisations in New Zealand to deploy M365 Copilot, a powerful generative AI service that combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with organisational data from Microsoft 365. As part of the M365 Copilot Early Access Program, these businesses will get access to the latest generative AI technologies to unlock new levels of productivity across apps like Microsoft Teams, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.  

“Business leaders within the Early Access Program have an opportunity to gain a first-mover advantage in their sectors, and enable greater productivity in a market that is navigating sustained economic pressure,” said Lucy Debono, Modern Work Business Group Director, Microsoft Australia and New Zealand. “These early adopters will work closely with Microsoft to use this technology, test it within their teams, help us to improve it further and drive great employee experiences. This is such an exciting opportunity to see how New Zealand companies will use this incredible new tool to fundamentally change how we work.” 

BNZ, Beca and Genesis are three of just a handful of New Zealand organisations selected to pilot the technology and will receive support from Microsoft modern work experts and Copilot Cloud Solution Architects to enable them to derive maximum value.   

Customers in the Early Access Program will also benefit from the recently announced extensibility model, with developers able to integrate their apps and services into Microsoft 365 Copilot. This includes plugins from partners such as Atlassian, Adobe, Servicenow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks and Mural. 

Generative AI seen as competitive advantage for Financial Services organisations  

BNZ has been one of the first organisations in New Zealand to deploy M365 Copilot as part of the Early Access Program.  

“BNZ is always looking for new ways to deliver market leading products, services and expertise to our customers,” says BNZ Executive of Data Analytics and Strategy Kate Skinner. “We’re excited that we are one of the first organisations in New Zealand to bring the power of generative AI to our workforce. It offers immense potential to increase productivity, but what excites me the most is the impact it could have for our employees in helping them to deliver exceptional customer experiences with greater ease.”  

Debono’s team at Microsoft have been testing the technology for several months, and reflecting on learnings and early benefits, she sees the opportunity for financial services organisations to benefit from speeding up content creation for things like customer communication and reports, which could free up teams to spend more time on higher value customer support and service delivery.  

“Generative AI productivity tools like M365 Copilot offer tangible, real opportunities to change how we work,” said Debono. “My team have not only boosted how quickly we can produce content or get intelligent meeting recaps but it has freed us up to be more engaged and creative. It makes you better at what you’re good at, helps you learn new skills, and saves you time.” 

Sparking bright ideas in the energy, utilities and construction sectors 

Recent Capgemini research shows 33 per cent of utility and energy companies worldwide have begun to pilot generative AI. As a member of the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program, Genesis Energy has deployed the technology to cohorts of users who found it improved productivity and creativity through simplification.  

“Genesis operates in a complex sector undergoing massive transformation,” says Ed Hyde, Genesis’ Chief Transformation and Technology Officer. “We see an opportunity for AI productivity tools like M365 Copilot to help our team simplify their workload so they can focus their creativity and energy on more productive tasks.” 

“For example, the technology provides excellent summaries and outlines of meetings and interactions between staff members, improving communication, collaboration, and efficiency of workflow.” 

Hyde said the Genesis cohort found unexpected ways to use M365 Copilot, such as in the design workshop activities. Team members reported the programme gave them more “strategic thinking time”, while reducing the pressure and stress of undertaking more mundane tasks. 

“The tools complement our existing skills and knowledge,” says Hyde. “We see the programme as a springboard for our broader AI transformation.” 

Professional Services a key industry for Gen AI 

Beca is also excited to be one of the small number of companies in the world to be taking part in the  Early Access Program, where it will be developing and trialling use cases to support staff and clients.  

“Beca has served our customers for over 100 years. The success we have enjoyed is due to our exceptional people, our skills and our willingness to be creative, be innovative and to be a leader in taking on new technologies to support the work we do. One of our strategic goals is to be a Future-Fit Enterprise where we invest in, and maximise the benefit from, future-fit systems and digital tools,” says Justine Cormack, Manager – Digital Transformation at Beca. 

“Being part of the M365 EAP provides us with opportunities to shape the development of tools like this to meet the requirements of businesses like ours and to leverage the benefits. Tools such as M365 Copilot are utilising technologies that are developing incredibly fast. We believe that it is essential that Beca remains at the forefront of AI learning, to release more time to focus on the things that create positive impacts for our people, our clients and our communities.”  

Guided and secure support for Early Access Program participants 

“Microsoft is committed to supporting New Zealand organisations, industry and government to realise the economic, transformative benefits of generative AI, and to do so responsibly,” said Lucy Debono. “We can’t wait to see how the members of our Early Access Program innovate with these tools using Microsoft 365’s inbuilt privacy and security guardrails to help their people be more productive and engaged, and deliver more for their customers.”