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Setting the foundations for Generative AI

By Dawie Kruger, Principal Consultant

I was privileged enough to attend the Microsoft AI world tour on 7 February 2024. It was truly magnificent event showcasing the capabilities that generative AI has made available to us.

In the opening keynote Steven Worrell, Managing director Microsoft ANZ made some very interesting points about the advancement of AI. Taking into consideration that ChatGPT was launched on 30 November 2022, just look how this initiative has changed the face of AI in the past fourteen months. Also look at the investment that software vendors are making into the technology and how they are putting it into everybody’s hands with tools like Copilot. Even the Hardware vendors are joining in with companies like Intel, launching AI ready desktop and mobile processors containing an NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that handles sustained, heavily used AI workloads at low power for greater efficiency, essentially turning our laptops into edge devices.

Copilot
Intel Meteor Lake Processor with NPU

It is not at all surprising if you consider that ChatGPT hit 100 million monthly active users in January 2023, in a couple of months it did what took Netflix 3.5 years to achieve. This made it the fastest-growing application in history until Threads took that crown in July 2023.

ChatGPT

The AI event was filled with demos on how Generative AI can assist organisations and individuals in becoming more efficient with some of their mundane tasks essential to daily operations. Instead of replacing individuals, AI helps with highly processed tasks to free up employees’ time to do more value-based work.

These demos included:

  • Copilot in Microsoft Teams meetings
  • Microsoft 365 Copilot
  • Copilot in Microsoft Fabric
  • Copilot for GitHub

Each of these has its own unique offering that we will delve into in future blogs.

Copilot in Microsoft Teams

Amongst all the demos and the flashy features, I was very surprised but also relieved that there was a big focus on how to become AI enabled in your business with some key points that everyone should consider:

Why is AI Challenging:

  1. Alignment – Making sure there is alignment across the business strategy, technology, AI Principles and Guardrails.
  2. Business Value – Measuring the impact and business value of AI is complex. Building a business case and understanding the ROI is key.
  3. Scale – Many steps and skills are required to get AI from proof of concepts through to production in a scalable, sustainable process.
  4. Data Governance – Activating sensitive or regulated data globally while remaining secure and compliant.
  5. Human Impact – Ensuring AI technology advances ethically and equitably with a comprehensive approach that lowers risk, improves lives and optimises benefits.

Getting your Data AI Ready and AI Foundations:

Adopting Generative AI will mean that Information Management principles will be more important than ever in your organisation. Yes, the concept that Copilot will be enabled and all the documents and files on our Office 365 and One Drive will be made available for us to consume, not to mention data in our Data Warehouse or operational system like CRM’s. Making sure the right data is made available to the right audience at the correct time is a key factor in ensuring Generative AI success in your organisation. These tools can only learn from the material they have been made “aware” of and unfortunately, we are still susceptible to “junk in junk out”.

The same holds true for Data and Analytics platforms and Models, making sure the correct business terminology is used and that everyone in the organisation speaks the same language assists in a higher rate of successful implementations. Already we see Copilot in Fabric making extensive use of the Model Metadata and attributes like synonyms to assist these tools to find and display data to the end users.

It is clear that a fair amount of effort and planning is needed when implementing the new AI tools in your organisation.

Are you thinking of going the Generative AI route in your organisation? Do you need a partner who can assist you to navigate this new landscape? Why not connect with us today.

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