Client Story


Utilising AI tools to augment human potential

As businesses strive to become intelligent organisations, AI-enabled tools have the potential to radically enhance the way we communicate, collaborate, and solve challenges. We are working with Microsoft to pilot the AI-powered features in Microsoft applications, using learnings to find innovative new features and use cases which have the potential to transform how we serve our clients and provide a template for them to follow in their own transformations.

Since 2021, we have collaborated with Microsoft to maximise the use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales to harness the power of AI through Microsoft Copilot for Sales, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and the tight integration with the rest of our Microsoft suite. This collaboration is just the beginning; we’re now delving deeper into the Microsoft capabilities, exploring Sales Insights, Project Operations, and their innovative marketing functionality within Dynamics 365.

What’s exciting is the integration of AI across these platforms: revolutionising our approach, elevating data quality, empowering knowledge management, and streamlining our operations for enhanced efficiency and time savings.

Building a strategic relationship and driving adoption

Building on our strong relationship, we recently collaborated with Microsoft as an early access customer, allowing us to test and deploy functionality earlier than some organisations. This gave us the opportunity to provide feedback, receive expert training, and share our experiences with Microsoft engineering.

However, deploying new tools often comes with challenges. Internal IT teams must manage change, whilst ensuring existing systems continue to run seamlessly. New features, services, and technology undoubtedly enhance the way we work, but they must be rolled out in a way that engages people and demonstrates the way AI can supplement, rather than supplant human ways of working. This is critical to ensuring buy-in and adoption.

Revolutionising productivity

An area of current focus is Copilot for Microsoft 365, an AI assistant that’s integrated across Microsoft’s productivity tools, such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Teams. Copilot merges large language models with data across these apps to transform words into an unparalleled productivity asset.

We have been refining our methodologies (from Digital, to People and Change) while rolling out Copilot; testing and learning with a small group of pilot users to understand the features that people find the most useful. Benefits thus far have been all about productivity gains – summarising meeting notes from Teams calls or offering prompts when replying to emails.

Our collaboration with Microsoft and our ability to use these new Copilot features early in our own AI transformation journey means we are well positioned to help our clients realise value from their own AI transformation initiatives.”
Global Head of AI at PA

Feedback from the initial pilots has been positive and is informing the drive for adoption. PA’s Microsoft 365 Lead, Chris Sparrow explains, “we have engaged with our preview users, working with them in a variety of ways, all the while storing our content, learnings, Q&As, useful information, and Microsoft updates in a highly engaged and utilised Teams site.”

We’re thrilled to deepen our collaboration with PA. By combining the power of Microsoft’s AI capabilities with PA’s industry expertise and passion, we’re able to deliver transformative AI solutions that will help organisations achieve more.”
Head of Microsoft Business Solutions, UK at Microsoft

Empowering sales excellence

With Copilot up and running, we have taken the next step to further integrate Microsoft 365 with Copilot for Sales into our sales activities, which facilitates seamless tracking and storage of current and potential customers’ information in a centralised system.

The benefits extend across all Microsoft applications, connecting the dots between people and systems like the CRM and Microsoft PowerBI. Microsoft Copilot for Sales provides greater productivity and effectiveness through personalised insights and automation and prioritisation of routine tasks. “On Microsoft Teams calls, it can summarise meeting notes, outline next steps, assign individual actions, all the while feeding this information into the CRM,” explained PA Strategic Accounts Director, Craig Silver. He continued, “the CRM can then crunch all of the available data, saving busy people time and prompting them to act at the most opportune time.”

Again, embedding adoption means changing user behaviour. We are running regular training sessions to assure people that these AI-powered features can work in harmony with traditional sales efforts. Feedback from these sessions is then shared with Microsoft developers so they can iterate and improve features according to user needs.

Putting people at the heart of change

Preparing the ground for a fundamental change in the way we work means creating a safe environment to test and learn, effectively communicating the benefits of AI, and gathering user feedback to constantly improve the offering.

Our People and Change experts have led the way, guided by a human-centric approach to driving adoption. Here is a summary of the steps we are taking to support adoption:

Identify the use cases

We are working side-by-side with teams to define the roles that will be target users, mapping how they work, and uncovering pain points they experience. Based on this we will identify target use cases that deliver the most value for further development.

Design the solutions

We are redesigning the way we work with the new technology, collaborating with teams to refine the end-to-end process and determine where the most significant productivity gains can be made.

Deploy the solutions

We are making the most applicable products available, guiding users in adapting their habits. Individuals with lower levels of skill or confidence with the technology will receive targeted support, whilst those most confident will be empowered to continue innovating to uncover new use cases that could benefit the wider team.

Success is not determined by the technology itself; it’s determined by how people use it. Ultimately people will need to decide whether the effort to adapt their working pattern is worth the reward on the other side. Given the huge shift towards hybrid working over the last three to four years, the ability for people to adjust to an additional tool or technology is reaching saturation point – therefore organisations really need to consider the role of AI in the context of all its other technology and guide its people in how they expect the tools to be used.”
People and change expert, PA

Building an intelligent organisation

AI is no longer something we only hear about in Hollywood blockbusters, but a reality in the workplace today. The organisations that embrace AI and find the best tools to complement the human workforce will be the big winners of the fifth industrial revolution.

Our clients will continue to look to us to guide them with confidence through a similar journey to the one we are on with Microsoft technology. Key lessons we have found that our clients can apply to their own transformations:

A transformational shift

It's important that organisations ensure any rollout goes beyond a standard ‘technology drop’ and is treated as a transformational shift in how we work.

Bring people with you

Putting people at the core of any transformation is non-negotiable. It’s people who will determine whether it’s successful or not.

Be agile

The technology and its applications are rapidly evolving, so adopting an agile approach to respond flexibly is imperative.

As a lighthouse customer working at the cutting edge of the latest Microsoft technology, we were chosen to be interviewed as one of Microsoft’s valued clients for an AI Fireside chat and were on stage at Envision 2023 – Microsoft’s global AI event, bringing together industry experts and thought leaders in one space to address critical AI questions.

We are bringing the power of next-generation AI to work and equipping our people to succeed and guiding our clients through their own transformations.

PA and Microsoft

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