Avoiding ROT: The Key to Maximising Microsoft 365 Copilot’s Potential

Before diving into the transformative world of Copilot for Microsoft 365, it’s crucial to prepare your systems and data to harness its full potential. It’s not just about ticking off the technical prerequisites, which you can find more about in our detailed companion article. There’s a fundamental principle at play here, one we’re all familiar with in the realm of computing: “garbage in, garbage out.”

Let’s contextualise this with Microsoft 365 Copilot. Imagine an account manager tasked with crafting a proposal for a law firm’s Client Portal app. They might ask Copilot to draft this proposal, drawing on a variety of data sources, including similar past projects. Here’s where it gets interesting: What if the data that Copilot accesses is “ROT”?

What is ROT?

ROT stands for Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial data. It’s the kind of information that once served a purpose but now merely clutters our systems. Let’s delve into these categories:

Redundant: This is data that’s been replaced by newer versions. A classic example is a project proposal updated with technical corrections or revised costs. It’s important to use tools like Microsoft’s built-in versioning capabilities rather than saving files with different names, which can lead to confusion about which version is the “truth.”

Obsolete: These are files that were once the final word but have become outdated due to changing circumstances, like shifts in technology or regulations. You wouldn’t want Copilot generating new proposals based on such dated information.

Trivial: This information has never been relevant to your current needs. Copilot aims to ensure relevance, but it’s hindered if it must sift through irrelevant data, such as internal meeting minutes or outdated vendor specifications.

Beyond impacting Copilot’s effectiveness, ROT has long been a challenge, even before Copilot’s introduction. It leads to increased storage costs, time lost in searching for relevant information, challenges in maintaining quality and compliance, and heightened risks in business decision-making.

So, what’s the solution to ROT? The key lies in defining clear standards for managing and disposing of information, ensuring a single source of truth, avoiding duplication, classifying data correctly, and maintaining regular clean-ups. However, this is easier said than done. The thought of eliminating ROT across an organisation before implementing Copilot can seem daunting.

A pragmatic approach might be to start with a pilot project. This method allows you to control Copilot’s data access based on user permissions and focus on a manageable subset of data and users. Now that Microsoft has removed the minimum-seat limit, this strategy has gone from an expensive luxury to a no-brainer.

Prevention, as always, is better than cure. Setting up, running, and storing data for new projects in a ROT-resistant and Copilot-friendly manner from the start will save significant time and effort in the future.

Transparity: Your Partner in Preparing for Copilot

At Transparity, we understand the challenges and opportunities presented by Microsoft 365 Copilot. Our expertise in reviewing and refining data management practices can ensure your organisation is primed to leverage Copilot effectively, making the most of your investment in Microsoft 365 technologies.

To learn more about how Transparity can assist in reviewing your data, rooting out ROT, and getting started with Microsoft 365 Copilot, please feel free to contact us.

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