Microsoft will make changes in 2024 to AI capabilities, licensing structure, and application interfaces in 2024. Do you know how these changes will impact your organization? Microsoft experts and MVPs share the shifts they anticipate for 2024 and ways you can prepare.
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Copilot's role in AI and automation is becoming increasingly significant, and Microsoft will likely enhance Copilot functionality to remain competitive with Google's Gemini.
As a Microsoft MVP and Technical Architect at Advania Knowledge Factory, Amanda Sterner predicts that Copilot will transition from its current stage and become generally available. This development suggests that Microsoft 365 administrators should prepare for the integration of Copilot into their toolset, substantially extending its capabilities and scope.
However, the AI market is fiercely competitive. With the introduction of Google's Gemini, an AI tool proficient in handling text, images, and audio, there's an implication that Microsoft must invest considerable resources to improve their AI offerings to maintain a competitive edge.
For more insights, watch the 2024 predictions for Microsoft 365 webinar.
As of January 2024, Microsoft requires organizations to purchase at least 300 Copilot licenses.
Marijn Somers, Microsoft MVP, consultant, and host of the #Office365Distilled podcast, predicts that Microsoft will reduce this number, making it more accessible for smaller organizations.
Although we can expect the hype around AI to plateau as organizations realize it will not solve all problems, companies should prepare for changes in the way Microsoft packages licensing. It’s possible they will introduce new tiers like an E7 license across 2024.
Organizations can prepare for these changes by assessing their current licenses.
If you want to learn more about assessing Microsoft365 licensing, download Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft 365 License Management.
It’s very likely that Microsoft will continue to integrate advanced AI and machine learning into its suite of products, including Microsoft 365, by 2024.
David Mascarella, CoreView co-founder, adds, “This could manifest in a smarter and more intuitive Office applications and more sophisticated insights by business interoperability tools like Power BI.”
If Microsoft releases new generative AI capabilities, that will change how users interact with Microsoft365, making it smarter, easier, and smoother for end users.
Because AI tools like Copilot provide users with unprecedented power, without appropriate governance, control could be lost. The ability to control and limit the usage of AI will (and should) be a major concern for customers.
CoreView co-founder and CTO Ivan Fioravanti predicts that governance will be a major challenge for both IT administrators and vendors alike. Organizations should be already implementing effective governance strategies to manage the wide spread adoption of AI tools like Copilot.
And, we’re already seeing adoption rise today. As of December 2023, Copilot already had 155 instances, so IT administrators will be pressed to create and manage governance plans.
Robert Mulsow, Microsoft MVP and MCT, adds that organizations should build governance plans that cover the full range of AI systems in use—not just Copilot.
Organizations should instate internal governance policies to ensure admins maintain control over which systems are used and how they contribute to business operations.
Fioravanti predicts that Microsoft will continue to invest heavily in AI and Azure, positioning it as the "world computer" at the center of everything by 2024.
This would mean that Copilot will likely be integrated across all Microsoft platforms, including Microsoft 365 and various security management tools.
However, organizations must be prepared to control how much company data Copilot has access to. This will help ensure that organizations remain compliant to privacy and security baselines and regulations.
The ability to manage configurations at a macro level will be a primary way that companies can maintain control and governance of Microsoft 365.
Jeff Nevins, Simeon Cloud founder and CTO, expects there to be a growing emphasis on how companies manage configurations and governance, especially for organizations with multiple tenants.
If your organization has multiple Microsoft 365 tenants, consider implementing a tenant configuration solution to help maintain compliance baselines.
Microsoft covers abroad range of organizations, from large corporations to small businesses.
Dan Flanigan, CoreView VP of Product, expects Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to support organizations of all sizes. This is especially true in the context of AI governance.
The traditional reliance on 'security by obscurity'—i.e., keeping documents and content hidden—is not sufficient, especially with the introduction of AI tools like Copilot and the growing prevalence of Microsoft’s Power Platform.
For organizations, the rapid expansion and adoption of AI and the Power Platform introduces new challenges in terms of data privacy, system integration, and user training.This means there is an increased complexity in managing multi-faceted AI tools and a heightened risk of security breaches if governance protocols don't evolve at the same pace.
Vendors can prepare for these changes by creating solutions packages that help organizations manage these tools more effectively. The key to success here will be offering cost-effective solutions that address compliance issues.
Microsoft will work towards simplifying Teams and promoting read option of its new interface. For Microsoft 365 admins, this could entail a shift in how organizations use the platform.
CoreView Technology Evangelist Roy Martinez predicts that Teams will move from working in group chats to more collaborative Team spaces. Additionally, Mascarella predicts that administrators can anticipate a more immersive Microsoft Teams experience. This indicates a shift towards a more engaging user experience.
Though it’s possible that Teams is heading in the direction of Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse, the lack of Metaverse adoption suggests that organizations may not yet be ready for Teams as an immersive experience.
Nevertheless, Teams will absolutely remain a central service within Microsoft 365 in 2024.
Whether organizations want to leverage Teams for improved teamwork and collaboration or to ensure employees maximize the benefits of new AI assistants, training and adoption strategies will be at the forefront of IT in 2024.
Both Sterner and Mulsow agree that Microsoft 365 admins will play a crucial role in facilitating adoption and usage of these new Microsoft technologies.
Organizations should begin educating their teams on how to initiate prompts. This type of training, normally suited for engineers, will ensure that users maximize the benefits of AI assistants.
Along with that, organizations should facilitate peer-to-peer training when it comes to prompt engineering and overall adoption. This type of peer learning and training will help ensure widespread and effective use of AI systems like Copilot across all departments.
Microsoft Loop is a significant advancement in the way people work together.
Marijn Sumers expects Loop to continue growing in popularity across 2024. Read his thoughts on Loop,"I've been doing SharePoint for over 16 years. I've seen and guided people and organizations in how to collaborate and how to work together. Last year I saw this little new thing creeping up and becoming cooler and more popular. And that little thing is called Loop. I think 2024 is going to be the year of Loop.”
If Loop becomes an essential tool for collaboration as Marijn predicts, users will need to be trained in how to use it effectively.
And, because SharePoint Premium offers appealing customization options and content branding, it’s possible that Microsoft will develop an integration between Loop and SharePoint Premium. If these two apps are integrated, interesting developments in the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) field may crop up.
Ultimately, these two programs together could majorly simplify communication and feedback within organizations.
Microsoft plans to enhance Viva Engage in major ways across 2024. This development is particularly noteworthy for leadership teams to monitor whether your organization currently uses Viva Engage or not.
Companies should begin planning and investing significant effort into Viva Engage to ensure optimal utilization of new features such as:
By doing so, they can fully leverage Viva Engage's potential to streamline internal communication workflows and enhance the effectiveness of engagement strategies.
Microsoft Teams is on track to evolve into a central digital operating system. This transformation could significantly change the way organizations handle collaboration and communication within their organizations.
Plus, given that Teams already serves as a central hub within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, it's likely that Microsoft will introduce more robust and immersive collaboration tools for Teams. These enhancements may include improved video conferencing capabilities and more advanced collaboration spaces.
Mascarella also predicts an increasing need to better integrate workflow management. This integration should help to facilitate efficient remote work by automating routine tasks and streamlining collaboration across different teams.
Discussions are currently underway regarding the upcoming Microsoft Office 2024. This implies that administrators should likely brace themselves for the imminent arrival of new applications, and possibly the deprecation of versions 2019 and 2016, if they're still in use.
There are additional features in the pipeline for the Microsoft 365 admin center. Particularly in relation to multi-tenancy, plans are in place to provide a more macro view. This will allow organizations with multi-tenant environments to have more robust and advanced reporting, as well as enhanced management capabilities.
The lines between different areas of technology are becoming increasingly blurred. This means that IT administrators will need to manage a wider array of elements within the Microsoft ecosystem, beyond just Office 365.They will need to consider aspects like the operating system, central ID, and various security elements, indicating a further convergence of disparate admin skill sets. This convergence suggests an interesting and challenging time ahead for IT administrators as they navigate these changes.
One of these changes is the ongoing convergence of various administrative skill sets, which are evolving into new roles and titles. Expect to see a growth in roles and titles that reflect AI skills, such as 'Prompt Engineering' and others of similar nature.
And, lastly, it’s important to note that the language we use is changing. Terms like “modern workforce” and “digital transformation” that used to not exist are now prevalent ideas. And, as new ideas continue to emerge,we'll all discover fresh perspectives and ways to articulate the work we do.
In conclusion, 2024promises to be a year of significant advancements for Microsoft with enhanced AI capabilities, changes in licensing structures, and updates to collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams. IT administrators will need to adapt to these changes and broaden their skills, particularly in areas like AI governance and prompt engineering.
The role of ISVs will also become crucial in supporting organizations of all sizes, especially in the context of AI governance. With the increasing integration of AI tools like Copilot and the growing prevalence of Microsoft’s Power Platform, organizations need to be proactive in managing these changes to ensure data privacy, system integration, and effective user training.
If you need a way to keep up with all the changes Microsoft is releasing, download a copy of Tony Redmond’s Office 365 for IT Pros. Or, if you’re looking for an easier way to manage and govern Microsoft 365, take a 5-minute self-guided walk through of CoreView.