Windows 10 Security Updates to be chargeable from 2025

Just like with Windows 7, Microsoft are introducing a new “Extended Support Updates” (ESU) program for Windows 10 which will be available after the end of support date in October 2025.

When does Windows 10 go end of support?

Windows 10 goes end of support on October 14th, 2025.

What does Windows 10 end of support mean?

When Windows 10 reaches end of support, Microsoft will no longer provide bug fixes for issues, security fixes for vulnerabilities, time zone updates, or technical support for problems that might occur.

As noted on the Windows 10 release information page, version 22H2 is the final version of Windows 10. All editions of Windows 10, version 22H2 will remain in support with monthly security updates through October 14, 2025. Beyond that date, customers will need to pay for extended support updates if they wish to continue to receive security and bug fix updates.

What is the Windows 10 ESU Programme?

The ESU programme for Windows 10 is an extended support subscription, that will ensure that customers that choose to run or have technical / operation reasons why they can’t move to Windows 11 can continue to receive security updates and critical fixes for Operating System for three years beyond the October 2025 end of support date.

Whilst the ESU programme for Windows 7 was for commercial customers only, the Windows 10 ESU will instead be open to everyone. This means that consumers or organisations that allow employees to personal Windows 10 devices at work (BYOD) will also be able to pay for continued support beyond October 2025 if they don’t want to or can’t upgrade to Windows 11.

No pricing has been made available yet, but they did confirm that consumers and commercial, public sector, charity and education organisations will all be able to sign up for the ESU programme which will be available and charged for annually

If you are an individual consumer or an organization who elects to continue using Windows 10 after support ends on October 14, 2025, you will have the option of enrolling your PC in the paid Extended Security Updates (ESU) program. The ESU program enables PCs to continue to receive Critical and Important security updates through an annual subscription service after support ends. More details including pricing will be provided at a later date. The ESU program provides individual consumers and organizations of all sizes with the option to extend the use of Windows 10 PCs past the end of support date in a more secure manner.


Microsoft have said that they remain committed to the end of support date for Windows 10, with no plans to extend it beyond the current date of October 14, 2025. The paid-for ESU programme which will be available from November 2025 will ensure Windows 10 devices can still receive vulnerability patches, bug fixes and security patches for up to three years after this date.

ESU means Security Fixes but No new features

Microsoft made it clear that the ESU program will only provide security updates, meaning that there will be no new features or active development beyond 14th October 2025. Whilst available for consumers, the ESU program is most beneficial for commercial organisations unable to upgrade their devices to Windows 11 before support ends.

The ESU is of course optional – and customers will not be forced to pay for ESU. Windows 10 will continue to work beyond October 2025, but organisations will be at increasing risk since there will be no security updates to devices unless covered by the ESU subscription. .

Windows 10 end of support – Options

Options for commercial customers around planing for Windows 10 end of support are in essence

  • Move to Windows 11 on physical or virtual desktops
  • Stay on Windows 10 and pay for extended support for up to 3 years
  • Repurpose Windows 10 devices and use in conjunction with Windows 365 Cloud PC

Benefits of moving to Windows 11

Windows 11 is the newest version of Windows, and it’s one of the best Windows versions released. Windows 11 has several key differences compared to Windows 10. This is not covered extensively in this blog but some of the highlights include:

  • Most secure version of Windows ever with security that runs from Chip (silicon) through the OS and to the Cloud (Chip to Cloud).
  • Faster Boot time and Instant On – Windows 11 features instant on technology and boot time improvements of around 40% – saving on average 30 seconds.
  • Embedded AI features – from features like Copilot for Windows (also available in Windows 10), Windows 11 has many native apps with AI support. This is also a key development focus for Microsoft so expect more native AI embedded in Windows 11 through 2024.
  • Better application performance and muti-tasking management making Windows 11 faster. Microsoft say that Windows 11 does a lot of work in memory management to favour the app windows you have open and running in the foreground. This should ensure that they get more CPU power over other system resources. Windows 11 also suspends some data in RAM while your PC sleeps, helping it wake from sleep 25% faster than Windows 10.
  • New fluid UI which is modern, adaptive and well suited for new form devices, two-in-ones, multi-screen devices and for use across home, creativity, gaming and of course work.
  • Can run Android apps natively from the OS
  • Huge multitasking improvements that improve user focus and system performance with Snap Layouts that group your Windows and save them to the taskbar.
  • Improved docking experience – Windows 11 remembers how you had your windows on your external monitor(s) and brings them back to the same state when you disconnect from a monitor and then plug it back in – great for hybrid work set-ups.
  • Redesigned tablet mode experience – when you switch your device to tablet mode (for example on a Surface Pro), the device transforms and bring new gestures for opening the Start menu, dismissing windows, and more and the icons and other settings adapt to work better with touch and pen.
  • Deeper pen functionality – bringing support to “ink anywhere” in any text box and app, as well more native support in-app for pen and ink.
  • App Compatibility – customers can leverage App Assure – a Microsoft progtame that ensures and assists customers with applicatyion compatibility testing for migrations from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Benefits of leveraging the Windows 10 ESU Programme

The key benefits to an organisation subscribing to Windows 10 ESU after the October 14th, 2025, end of support date are:

  • Continuation of security updates and patches for Windows 10 PCs for three years after Microsoft stops supporting the operating system on October 14th, 2025. This can help protect the organisation from potential cyberattacks and vulnerabilities that may arise after the end of support date.
  • More time for organisations to plan and execute a smooth transition to the next version of Windows or to move to Windows 365 Cloud PC – This can reduce the risk of compatibility issues, employee training and legacy application compatibility testing that can occur (and need to be tested) when upgrading to a new operating system.
  • Avoid the cost and hassle of upgrading or replacing their existing Windows 10 devices before they reach their end of life if needed. This can save the organisation money and resources, as well as minimise the disruption to their daily operations and productivity.

Benefits of using Windows 10 with Windows 365 Boot

To help more organisations transition or take advantage of advancements in Windows 365 (Microsoft’s CloudPC technology), Microsoft also announced that commercial customers will have the ability and option to “transform” Windows 10 devices that are ineligible for Windows 11 into a Windows 365 Cloud PC that can stream Windows 11 from the Microsoft cloud. Whilst this can be done today on Windows 11, this feature, known as Windows 365 Boot, will be extended to Windows 10 devices, allowing them to be reprovisioned by Intune (Microsoft’s Endpoint management platform) to boot directly to Windows 365. As part of this, the underlying Windows 10 OS will automatically be enrolled into the ESU program at no cost to they continue to receive security updates.

This option is only available for commercial customers, as Windows 365 is currently not available as a consumer subscription service.

Microsoft are investing £2.5 billion for AI Data centres skills in UK

Microsoft has announced its biggest investment in the UK in its 40-year history, with a commitment to spend £2.5 billion over the next three years to expand their AI data centre infrastructure and train one million people for the AI economy.

This investment will more than double Microsoft’s data centre footprint in the UK, and will see them add more than 20,000 GPUs to the UK data centres for AI tasks by 2026. The new AI infrastructure will be located across in London and Cardiff, with future expansion into northern England.

Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure, easy access to the skills people need, and broad protections for safety and security.

Brad Smith |  President | Microsoft

This investment was announcement at the Global Investment Summit, where the UK government unveiled they were investing £29.5 billion into the most innovative sectors, including tech, housing, science and medicine, renewables, and UK infrastructure.

Microsoft are one of the founding fathers of modern technology and today’s announcement is a turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and development in the UK.

Rishi Sunak | UK Prime minister

Microsoft’s investment will help bolster the UK’s growing AI sector, which already contributes nearly £4 billion to the UK economy and employs around 50,000 people. Microsoft are also extending their Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) programme to provide prioritised access to GPUs for science, medical and research purposes.

To ensure the funding drives tangible outcomes, Microsoft are also investing millions of pounds into training, with a goal to train one million people with the skills they need to build and work with AI, including diducated pots of training support for AI start ups with a join goal with the UK government to accerate the UK in becoming a technology, science and AI superpower.

We are proud to be making this significant investment in the UK’s future as a global leader in AI. This is a critical moment for the UK to harness the power of AI to drive innovation, create new jobs and improve lives. We are committed to working with the UK government, universities and businesses to make this vision a reality.

Brad Smith | President | Microsoft

The investment comes as the government agreed a new Online Fraud Charter with tech companies, including Microsoft, to clamp down on attempted fraud taking place on their and other platforms. This represents the first agreement of its kind in the world and will help protect enterprises and consumers from online scams, phishing attacks and fraud.

The pace of change in AI demands action today to build a prosperous future for the UK tomorrow. Today marks the single largest investment in our more than 40-year history in the UK.

As business and the public sector embrace the AI opportunity, we are building the infrastructure that will support the growth they need, training the people who can deliver it responsibly and securing our society against emergent threats.

Clare Barclay | UK CEO | Microsoft

Why I can’t stop using Windows 365 CloudPC

I wanted to share my personal experience of using Windows 365 Cloud PC as my main device for the past 4 weeks since getting access to this as part of our partner internal use rights!

In short, I was using this both to test it out, but also because my new laptop had not arrived so I was left with the option to re-image an old one or repurpose our “home” laptop and use it as a gateway to Windows 365 – I chose the latter.

Four weeks later, using Windows 365 every day as main device, I simply can’t and don’t want to give it up. Even though I now have my brand new and awesome Surface Pro 9 device – I still haven’t get turned this on and am still choosing to use our seven year old Surface Laptop running Windows 10 (it won’t run Windows 11) with Windows 365 Cloud PC.

Why I love Windows 365

I keep asking myself the same question – why Windows 365 Cloud PC when I have a nice new Surface Pro to use. Well – Windows 365 Cloud PC gives me a seamless, secure, responsive, and flexible experience on the same device that I (and the family) share do everything else on – it’s essentially now become two devices in one and the experience is amazing – both for corporate use and for home use with out compromising anywhere!

It’s also great to have in your pocket when you bring the wrong device to work!

Here are some of the reasons why I love Windows 365 Cloud PC and how it is totally changing my perception on Cloud Computing.

  • Seamless experience: With Windows 365 Cloud PC, I can access my Windows 11 Enterprise Corporate Managed Desktop instantly on my personal device (or from any other device), anytime and anywhere I need to. I don’t have to worry about syncing files, installing apps, or using web apps.
  • Secure and Compliant: When traveling about, I also don’t have to worry about compromising my personal and work experiences, compromising corporate security or risk having any company data leak onto my personal device or stol n from dodgy WiFi hotspots. With Windows 365, my dideicated Cloud PC is in the Microsoft Cloud – ready for me to use at any time.
  • Connecting from almost anything: I can switch from my personal laptop to my phone (I can use Samsung DEX on a TV) or even access via my Xbox via the Edge Browser. Where ever I resume from – me session is exactly where I left off.
  • Responsive performance: Windows 365 Cloud PC is fast and smooth. I can run multiple apps, browse the web, and stream videos without any lag or stutter. This means the lowest spec device can perform like a powerhouse. The best part is that I don’t have to worry about the physical condition of my device, because the heavy computing work is done on the Microsoft Cloud.
  • Lightening fast Internet speed always since my Cloud PC is in Azure, I get superfast access to the web and my cloud apps regardless of the speed my physical device is using.
  • Flexible: Windows 365 Cloud PC is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a service that can cater to different sized organisations and needs of each user.

Here’s a quote from myself about how Windows 365 Cloud PC improved my productivity and efficiency:

Windows 365 Cloud PC is a game-changer for me. It allows me to work from anywhere, on any device, with the same performance and functionality as a physical PC. I can easily switch between tasks, collaborate with others, and access my files and apps in the cloud. I literally have my corporate desktop with me on any device at anytime, wherever I go.

Pricing and Licensing

OK… So take a seat as on the surface the cost of Microsoft 365 can look expensive.

Firstly, Microsoft offers two subscription models, Windows 365 Business for smaller businesses and Windows 365 Enterprise for larger ones.

Prices are per user, per month subscription based and range from £26 per user per month for the base model (2CPU/4GB RAM/64GB HDD) but can be as much as £146 a month for a powerhouse configuration of 8 CPU/32GB RAM/512HDD.

Both models share the same range of features and provide twelve Cloud PC configurations to choose from to blend the right spec with the right person and role of Cloud PC within the organisation.

Unlike virtual apps and shared/pooled desktops (such as Azure Virtual Desktop), with Windows 365, each user gets a dedicated corporate Cloud PC, meaning it will run all the apps they need to use.

IT managers dream…

Managed by Intune: Like physical PCs, Windows 365 Cloud PC is managed from Intune. IT can Configure auto patch, install and schedule apps, use Autopilot for zero touch provisioning, reset and reissue devices, up size (upgrade) and down grade the specification on the fly. Intune provides details stats on performace, usage and even makes recommendations on down or up sizing of the PC based on usage and performace

Smooth Migrations: IT can choose between Windows 10 and Windows 11 (or make both available to users). This can also be helpful as a migration and training method to prepare users for Windows 11. IT can also choose to give users local admin control (or not) and can even allow users to reset their Cloud PC devices themselves.

Good bye to hardware failures: Since Windows 365 runs in the cloud, there’s no hardware to go wrong. If a users physical laptop (or TV, xbox, phone etc) fails, nothing is lost.. They can resume on a new/different device and session continues where they left of… Even the cursor stays in the sale place!

The downsides?

To be honest, from a user experience there aren’t many, unless you are working where there is no or poor internet access. Writing this, I am sat in Nero on “free wireless”, knowing my connection is secure and I’m accessing my Corporate Device through an encrypted connection, with no data leaking between the host (personal PC) and my corporate device.

The price tag can be “off putting” but the ROI is high when you take into account carbon reduction (runs in Microsoft carbon neutral data centres), cost of hardware, repairs, re imaging, recycling, replacement every 3 years, and costs due to lost or stolen devices. Do the maths…

Cloud PC is not for every one… You’ll find great use cases and bad ones.. Such as contractors, new starters, remote and over seas staff, developers, finance and other specific roles. I cover use cases in a separate blog post…

Note: Offline Access is coming for Windows 365

Free to try for 30 days

Organisations interested in trying out Windows 365 Cloud PC, can speak to their Microsoft Partner and obtain a free 30-day trial, or buy a subscription from Microsoft 365 admin centre.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog about Windows 365 Cloud PC.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Intro and demo of Microsoft Copilot Studio

Copilot Studio Logo

Microsoft has recently unveiled the introduction of its new Copilot Studio platform, aiming to empower Microsoft 365 organisations to build their own generative artificial intelligence (AI) ‘copilot’ assistants.

Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2023 this month, Copilot Studio was officially announced alongside a plethora of other updates (and new Copilots), as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance and expand artificial intelligence capabilities across their core product offerings.

With Copilot Studio, users will be able to efficiently create, test, and deploy independent copilots and custom GPTs, providing them with a seamless experience in harnessing the potential of AI technology.

Copilot Studio exposes a full end-to-end lifecycle for customisations and standalone copilots within a single pane of glass meaning you can build, deploy, analyse, and manage all from within the same Web experience….and since it’s a software as a service (SaaS), everything you create is live instantly.

Jared Spataro | Head of Modern Work & Bus Apps | Microsoft.

The announcement of Microsoft Copilot Studio follows the roll-out of a similar DIY copilot creation platform from OpenAI last week called GPT Store. Copilot essentially replaces Power Virtual Agents and is available to try now.

What does Microsoft Copilot Studio do?

Microsoft Copilot Studio leverages low-code, no code and provides a web-based platform that completely transforms the way Microsoft 365 customers users approach application development and extension. Of course, one of the key advantages of Copilot Studio is its seamless integration with the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem and the Microsoft Graph – enabling developers to easily leverage existing data and tools within their organisation, streamlining the development process and maximising productivity. Copilot Studio, like Power Platform is designed for professional developers or users new to AI application development – providing a comprehensive set of tools and resources to support your journey.

Copilot Studio makes it easy to design and prototype AI applications and offers a wide range of templates and pre-built components, empowering even non-technical users to create innovative solutions.

Copilot Studio also brings robust testing capabilities, including integrated debugging tools and simulation environments to help developers easily identify and address any issues before deploying their applications.

Once the AI app is built and tested, Copilot Studio provides a simple deployment process. It provides seamless integration with Microsoft 365 services that allow IT to publish the application to your Microsoft 365 cloud environment or share it with specific users or teams.

How to build your first Copilot in Copilot Studio (follow along).

Once you have signed up for a trial of copilot (it’s in preview), getting started is easy. To login, simply go to Microsoft Copilot Studio

Step 1: Build my Copilot. The easiest way to start is to follow the wizard and point Copilot Studio at a website. For this example, I have used my children’s school.

There are advanced options which include the ability to dive straight into existing data sets and experiences that you have created in Power Platform, but for simplicity, I am following the wizard.

Step 2: Explore the interface: From here you can then see the options expand. You can go straight to the Generative AI Chatbot and start to test it based on the website you have linked it too, or start looking at the options below which include the ability to:

  • Create Custom Topics for your Copilot.
  • Create Plugins and Actions to connect to data that is outside the website.
  • Extend the Microsoft 365 Copilot with data connectors and plugins to your other data.

Step 3: Customise the Generative AI settings: I’m going to click on the “Go to Generative AI” and customise the “sensitivity” of Copilot (I have set mine to medium). I can also further customisations such as adding additional websites for indexing or even upload specific files. The Generative AI model uses the Azure Open AI service. Here I have added another website to index.

Step 4: Testing my Copilot. I can now quickly test my Copilot out by asking a question. In this example I am going to ask it about the schools in the Academy Trust and then dig a little more into the school he attends.

Step 5: Adding Custom Topics: By default, you don’t have much control over the data that comes with the generative answers. This is where topics come into play. These allow you to add in specific topics that you want the bots to be able to speak or answer that have not come automatically from the data, websites, databases or documents you have connected in.

Step 6: Publishing your Copilot: To Publish your Copilot, you have a few options. You can publish to a website (either your own or one can be created for you), to Teams or other locations. To do this, you first need to navigate to Settings –> Channels and choose where you wish to publish your Copilot. For this example, I have chosen a Demo Website.

Once you’ve done that (you can pick multiple), head on over Publish menu on the left and publish your Copilot. You then get a link to test your Copilot. Here is mine below in a simple demo website.

There we go – a very simple first look at the potential of Microsoft Copilot Studio. Next time we will explore a little more. Have a play and look at the potential and possibilities.

How can I try Copilot Studio?

Copilot Studio is available to try now and will be available to all Microsoft 365 customers who have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license.


Copilot Studio should bring the same ease of use to Gen AI apps as Power Platform did for apps, virtual agents and flow. It’s central hub, intuitive design tools, robust testing capabilities, and simple yet powerful deployment options aim to help accelerate and simplify the design, build, testing and deployment of custom AI applications.

By providing users with the tools to develop their own copilots, Microsoft is fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Copilot Studio opens up countless possibilities for businesses, researchers, and developers alike. Whether it’s creating intelligent chatbots, generating realistic text, or automating repetitive tasks, the potential applications of GPTs are limitless.

Similar to its counterpart GPT Store, Copilot Studio puts the power of AI into the hands of those who seek to harness its capabilities. It offers a user-friendly interface that streamlines the process of building custom GPT models and applications. This accessibility ensures that individuals with various levels of technical expertise can participate in this exciting field, expanding the boundaries of what is possible with language-based AI.

The demo build example is a simple first step into building Gen AI led chatbots and copilots using websites and other data sources. This is simple to test and try.

Copilot coming to Windows 10

At Ignite 2023 last week, which was heavily centred about AI and Microsoft Copilot which is going to showing itself in pretty much every OS, app and service in the next twelve months, Microsoft also announced that Copilot in Windows (which is in preview on Windows 11) will also be coming soon to Windows 10…. And if you are in Insider you can get it now.

Copilot (preview) in Windows 10

Copilot in Windows 10 is about inclusion.

Microsoft have said that they are revisiting their approach to Windows 10 and will be “making additional investments to make sure everyone can get the maximum value from their Windows PC including Copilot in Windows.”

Whilst the migration effort from organisation to shift to Windows 11 continues as rapid pace, there is still hundreds of millions of devices out there (partuckaurly in the consumer world) that are still running or not able to run Windows 11 due to age or incompatible hardware (see below).

Microsoft have said that Copilot in Windows will be available in the coming weeks for Windows Insiders on Windows 10 in the Release Preview Channel for eligible. This requires those devices to be patched and running Windows 10, version 22H2. It will come to commerical customers first.

Once testing and feedback is complete (the role of the Windows Insider community and the product group), Copilot in Windows will then be rolled out more broadly to consumer level devices running Windows 10 the Home and Pro (version 22H2). This roll out of Copilot in Windows for non-managed Home and Pro devices will be via the controlled feature rollout (CFR).

When will Windows 10 get Copilot?

For supported versions of Windows 10 22H2, with Enterprise, Pro or Education editions that are managed by organisations will get for information when the updates are ready. This will be when the initial testing phase is complete.

Windows 10 users enrolled in the Windows Insider Program can get this now… So head over to Windows Update and download it now.

What are the hardware requirements for Copilot in Windows?

For Windows 10 devices to support Copilot, the following minimum hardware requirements exist.

  • Memory: 4GB minimum
  • Display Adapter: 720p minimum resolution

Microsoft put a safeguard hold on your device receiving Copilot if they detect an issue, such as an application incompatibility until further testing with more devices (part of their app assure policy) have been tested and the issue resolved.


There has been huge demand and moans from users that can’t or haven’t been able to move to Windows 11 and with Copilot front and centre of everything a Microsoft it’s great to see it here.

Personally, I love that Copilot is coming to older devices. We have a could of older devices in the family household and whilst they are happily using a Bing Chat (Copilot in Edge), giving older (but perfectly happy devices) a new lease of life with Copilot is welcomed….

P. S – About the AI created title image

I’m getting more impressed by Bing Image Creator every day. What prompt did I use?

“Create me an image showing Windows 10 with Copilot and AI. Make it look like Windows 10 getting a new lease of life!”

I love the image and especially the R2D2 theme it added…..

Microsoft Ignite 2023: A new family of Copilots announced.

At Day One of Microsoft Ignite 2023 yesterday [Microsoft Ignite is Microsoft’s annual conference for IT techies, leaders and business decision makers, which is being held digitally and in-person at Seattle this week], the word Copilot certainly dominated almost every session (even those that weren’t specifically focussed on Copilot!).

The dominant themes of the event so far, has been around the role of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) in transforming businesses and empowering users.

With so many Copilots being announced since March this year (Microsoft 365 Copilot, Bing Chat, Security Copilot, GitHub Copilot etc.,) Microsoft used Ignite standardise the Copilot branding. Microsoft promoted the concept of a single “Microsoft Copilot” experience that works across all their apps and services, as well as a new Copilot Studio to allow organisations to build their own Copilots with “One experience across work and life“.

Copilot logo | Image (c) Microsoft

Whilst the branding made sense from a brand perspective, not all Copilots are the same which will no doubt make it difficult for many to understand – the previous names (whilst they did not roll of the tounge) were, IMO, easier to understand.

There are multiple different Microsoft Copilots. And GitHub Copilot and the Copilots used in Windows or Microsoft 365 apps have little in common and in some cases are trained on different LLMs to perform their core functions. Microsoft 365 Copilot is vastly different to Bing Chat for example – both are now simply called “Copilot”.

This blog attempts to summarise the key announcements and insights about the new Copilots from Microsoft Ignite 2023.

Recap: What is a Copilot?

In case you’ve been asleep for the past 8 months, “Copilot” is an AI assistant that helps users with specific tasks or scenarios, such as writing code, creating presentations, searching the web, or chatting with customers. In short, a Copilot can provide suggestions, recommendations, insights, or take in-app actions based on the user’s context, preferences, and goals. Copilot can also learn from the user’s feedback and behavior to improve its performance and relevance over time.

Microsoft has been developing and deploying Copilots across its product line since the start of the year and at Ignite 2023, they announced plans for a load more Copilots – some of which are now in preview, whilst others are still “to come”. Remember these will also be different and serve different purposes but will all fall under the new unified Copilot branding.

Microsoft have also launched a new and adaptive Copilot Website which will adapt to your experience dependent on your license entitlement. This can be found at

We know how Microsoft like to name, rename, and then revert again (they did with Intune recently) so I wouldn’t be surprised if a different (or original) naming convention appears in the coming months!

Welcome to the new Copilots

Microsoft announced a bunch of new Copilots at Ignite 2023 which I have summarised below. I’ll share more updates on these are they move into preview or when I attend more of the live sessions.

  • Microsoft Copilot Studio: This is what will allow organisation to be build their own copilot and plug-ins using similar low-code tool as customers that use Power Platform will be familiar. This will allow organisations to build their own Copilots that can integrate their own data and back-end with the Microsoft eco system and Microsoft Graph. Copilot Studio can also work with OpenAI’s newly announced GPTs. Copilot Studio will be included within Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 licenses (aka Microsoft 365 Copilot).
  • Microsoft Copilot Dashboard: This is public preview now and has been designed to help organisations that have got Microsoft 365 Copilot Licenses. This will help IT better analyse usage across apps and measure the impact on productivity that Copilot provides. Microsoft also said that organisations with Viva Insights will also get enhanced dashboard capabilities around how Copilot is helping them be productive and manage time.
  • Copilot for Service: This new Copilot connect is designed to connect Microsoft Office applications with third-party CRM and Contact-Center solutions. This will have a $50 pupm price tag, but will include a Microsoft 365 Copilot license, and will be generally available sometime early 2024. There will be a public preview in December.
  • Copilot for Azure: Annouced and already in preview – Copilot for Azure is designed to help Azure customers with designing, operating, optimising and troubleshooting their Azure workloads, infrastrucutre and applications.
  • Copilot for Fabric: This was originally announced back in May 2023 and includes several new AI assistants across the platform such as Power Automate. Each one will use the underlying Fabric analytics platform but will be designed for a different Fabric “experience” This is in preview now.
  • Copilot for Cosmos DB: This is essentially about helping developer write “NoSQL” queries. It will be embedded into the Cosmos DB Data Explorer and is a free tool for developers.
  • Copilot for Viva: This was orginally announced back in April this year. These are going into Public Preview in stages over the next few months for each tool within the Viva Suite.
  • Copilot for Loop: Loop is a new collaborative work space that lets you share workspaces, pages and compents of conent across difereince apps and services. The went into General Availability yesterday and it too is getting it’s own Copilot. The license for this is included within the Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

A new single website for all your Copilots – see above.

What are the differences and similarities among the Copilots?

While Microsoft wants to promote the idea of a single “Microsoft Copilot” experience that works across its software and services, the reality is that each Copilot has a different license, is trained on different data models (LLMs), performs different functions, and has also have different security and data permissions.

For example, GitHub Copilot, which helps users write code in various programming languages, is powered by OpenAI’s Codex model, which is trained on billions of lines of public code. GitHub Copilot is available as a technical preview for GitHub users who sign up for the waitlist. It is free for open source projects and personal use, but requires a paid subscription for commercial use.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Copilot, includes Copilot for PowerPoint, which can helps people create, update and innovate presentations from different data sources across Microsoft 365. It is powered by Microsoft’s “business ready” GPT-4 model, which is private to an organiation (no data leakage) and is grounded in your organisations Microsoft 365 Graph data. It also has access to the a large corpus of text from the web and other sources and can search the internet. PowerPoint Copilot is part of Microsoft 365 Copilot . PowerPoint will also have access to the Open AI DALLE-3 image creator.

Another example is Bing Chat (Consumer version), which helps users chat with Bing and get answers, information, or entertainment. Bing Chat is powered by Microsoft’s own Turing-NLG model and Chat-GPT4, which is trained on a large corpus of text from the web and other sources. Bing Chat is available as a free service for anyone who visits or uses the Bing app. It does not include data protection or compliance features.

On the other hand, Bing Chat Enterprise, which helps users chat with their organisation’s data and apps. This is powered by the same , is powered by the same ChatGPT4 model and Turing-NLG model as Bing Chat, but does include data protection and compliance so it can bve used safely within an orhanistion without risk of data leakage. Bing Chat Enterprise is available as a paid service for Microsoft 365 subscribers and is included in Microsoft 365 F3, E3, E5, A3/A5 (faculty only), Business Standard and Business Premium plans.

As you can see, there are significant differences among the Copilots in terms of their data sources, functions, security, and licensing. However, there are also some similarities and commonalities among them.

For example, most of the Copilots use natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG) techniques to understand and communicate with the user. Most of the Copilots also use reinforcement learning and active learning methods to learn from the user’s feedback and behaviour, and improve their performance and relevance over time. Most of the Copilots also use a similar user interface and interaction model, where the user can type or speak to the Copilot, and the Copilot can provide suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions in a conversational manner.

What are the benefits and challenges of using Copilots?

Copilots will no doubt bring many benefits for users and organisations on a scale we are only just begining to image.

Microsoft shared some data from their latest work tend index report (link here) that Early adoptors of Copilot said users don’t want to go back to working without it with 77% saying they don’t want to give it up.

  • Saving time and effort: Copilots can help users complete tasks faster and easier, by providing guidance, assistance, or automation. For example, GitHub Copilot can help users write code faster and with fewer errors, by suggesting code snippets or completing code blocks. PowerPoint Copilot can help users create presentations faster and with more impact, by suggesting layouts, designs, or content.
  • Enhancing productivity and creativity: Copilots can help users achieve more and better outcomes, by providing insights, feedback, or inspiration. For example, Excel Copilot can help users analyze and visualize data better, by suggesting formulas, charts, or tables. Word Copilot can help users write and edit documents better, by suggesting words, phrases, or paragraphs.
  • Enabling learning and discovery: Copilots can help users learn new skills and discover new information, by providing explanations, examples, or resources. For example, Power BI Copilot can help users learn how to use Power BI better, by providing tutorials, tips, or best practices. Bing Chat can help users discover new facts, trivia, or entertainment, by providing answers, information, or fun.
Data from Microsoft Nov 23 Work Trend Index image (c) Microsoft

However, using Copilots brings about challenges and risks – some real, some perceived – such as:

  • Trusting and verifying: Since Copilots work on the available data, that can “make mistakes” or provide inaccurate or inappropriate suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions, due to the limitations or biases of their data, models, or algorithms. Organisations need to provide training to users and make sure they understand the need to verify and review any content generated by Generative AI in order to be able to trust and verify the Copilots’ outputs. This may include checking their sources, methods, or evidence. People can also, and should be encouraged to provide feedback and corrections to the Copilots, by rating, reviewing, or reporting their outputs.
  • Protecting and complying: There are concerns that these Copilots “could” access or expose sensitive or confidential data or information, due to the nature or scope of their tasks or scenarios. Copilot in fact, operates under the context of the person using it so t has the same level of access than it’s “pilot” has. Organisations will need to review their data security and compliance policies to ensure the right permissions, controls and protections are in place. Copilot wont break these polcies but may well expose weaknesses in them. Organisations need to review data sharing polcies such as Data Loss Prevention to prevent confidential data leaving the organisation that Copilot has created. Employees need to need to be re-educated on this in many cases to ensure they understand how to use the various Copilots and how they work with your organisational data, the language models and the web. Users may also need to be aware of the Copilots’ privacy and security policies, by reading, understanding, and agreeing to their terms and conditions.
  • Balancing and controlling: Another concern of using AI tools is that these Copilots may “influence” or affect the user’s decisions or actions, due to the power or authority of their suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions. Users need to be able to balance and control the Copilots’ impacts, by applying critical thinking, judgment, or ethics. Users also need to be able to choose and customize the Copilots’ settings and preferences, by adjusting their levels, modes, or options. You can read Microsoft’s guidance on Responsible AI here.


GenAI is going to be infused into every tool and product Microsoft has and with Copilot Studio, organisations will be able to build their own plug-ins, connectors or deicated Copilots for every business need. 2024 will be the year all these annoucements really come into fruiotion. Its gonna be a roller coaster.

Copilot (what ever flavour) is still in preview or new and many will be looking to see real life ROI and drive organisational pilots to help.

Read more.

Meet “Meet” in Teams

“Discover, prepare, and recap your meetings in one place with the Meet App in Microsoft Teams”.

If you haven’t seen or used the new Meet app in Teams you are missing a trick. It’s pretty new and I only discovered it recently, but it’s a really simple and intuitive way to see and manage all your Teams meetings past and future. Here’s what it is and how it works.

The Meet App in Teams. Image (c) Microsoft

Meet is an app available in the new Microsoft Teams experience that centralises all your common meeting preparation and catch-up activities, helping to enhance meeting efficiency by simplifying the prep work and reducing time spent reviewing missed meetings. Meet provides a single view of upcoming meetings as well as
recent past meetings, and enables quick discovery of meeting content like chats, files, agendas, shared documents, and meeting recap.

Meet helps you to prepare for, participate in, and follow up on your online meetings more efficiently and effectively.

With Meet, you are able to access all your meeting-related content in one place, such as chats, files, agendas, shared documents, meeting recap and transcriptions and more. You can also view all your upcoming and recent past meetings in a single view, and easily join or rejoin them with a single one click.

Meet also integrates with other features of the new Teams app, such as PowerPoint Live, Microsoft Whiteboard, and the new Loop AI-generated meeting notes, to enhance your meeting experience and productivity.

How do get the Meet App?

The Meet App is a native Microsoft app for Teams but needs to be added by your IT admin or added manually yourself (assuming you are allowed to do so).

From here, click on the three dots in the left-hand menu and type “Meet”. You’ll see the app listed and from simply click the icon and select “pin”.

Pinning the new Meet app.

Note: To start using Meet, you need to switch to the new Teams app, which is now generally available for Windows and Mac users, the web, and also in public preview for Windows 365, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and government cloud customers.

See Meet in action

The video below, courtesy of Microsoft, shows a walk through of how it works.

Microsoft YouTube summary of Meet in Teams

Hope you find this useful. I love it and wish it was a default installed experience.

What do you think…?

Be a meeting Ninja with Scheduling Polls in Outlook.

Microsoft has replaced the legacy FindTime plug in for Outlook with a new native experience called “Scheduling Polls” which is now built directly into Outlook on desktop and the web experience.

Information regarding the end of support for FindTime can be found in the Message Centre article MC688929

Introducing Outlook Scheduling Polls

Scheduling Poll (which replaces a similar tool called FindTime) is now available to all users of Outlook on the Web and Mac. It is available to Classic Outlook for Windows users in Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel, and Semi-Annual Enterprise Preview. It will become available to Classic Outlook users on the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel in January 2024, and to the Semi-Annual Extended Channel in June 2024.

Users who do not have access to Scheduling Poll yet can either switch to the Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel, or Semi-Annual Enterprise Preview in Classic Outlook for Windows; or they can use Outlook on the Web to create polls.

Creating and using Scheduling Polls

Using Meeting Polls is really simple. You need to be using the Outlook Desktop app or Outlook on the web, and it’s not currently available on mobile devices but hoping that will change as I create lots of meetings on the go!

Step 1: Start with an email message

We start a new Scheduling Poll from an email (not from Calendar). For example we might start with an email to a team of people (or it could be reply) and instead of asking for or suggesting a list of dates “that work”, we simply click on the Scheduling Poll button on the Toolbar as shown below.

I’d advise adding the people you need to the email message before clicking on the button.

Step 2: Create the Scheduling Poll

Try to ensure you have added the people you need to the email before you click the “New Scheduling Poll” button. You can add them later, but it makes the process a little slicker.

Once you click the “New Scheduling Poll” button, you’ll be presented with a new side-bar screen with some options within it.

From here, you can choose the meeting duration (default is 30mins), and then you’ll see availability of your “invited” attendees, based on calendar availability at the time of creating your poll.

You can see below, that there is availability on the 13th Nov but limited availability on the 14th November. You can also look as far out as you need to, but Scheduling Polls will help you find suitable dates.

Using Meeting Polls within Outlook
Scheduling Poll side bar in Outlook (picking options).

When you have finished picking the best dates for you (you are the organiser after all), you can click the “Next” button.

You are then presented with the ability to customise the meeting poll including:-

  • Meeting Location: For example Boardroom, Nero Coffee etc or online (via Teams).
  • Schedule with attendees reach consensus: This means once everyone has voted on a date that everyone can do, Outlook will automatically schedule the meeting
  • Hold Selected Dates on my calendar: Means the options you offered get blocked until the meeting is scheduled – in case someone books you first.
  • Notify me about poll update: Means you get an email notification when someone votes.
  • Lock Poll for attendees: Means attendees can’t suggest alternative dates.

When you are happy with the options (the ones below are default), you can click Create Poll.

Step 3: Send the Scheduling Poll

You can then check your email body and simply send the email with the poll attached. You can also if you need to add other people at this point which can also include external attendees such as customers or partners from other organisations.

Once everyone has voted on the meeting and a common time is agreed, Outlook will schedule the meeting for you and free up and “blocked” time.

Step 4: Editing or Viewing your Polls

You can get back to your polls at anytime to update them, cancel them or review the status of the voting, before and after the meeting is scheduled. You can do this from the email with the poll it or from the “Scheduling Poll” button in Outlook.

You’ll see that from here, you can do things like:

  • Send a reminder – this emails all attendees to remind them to vote (I use this a lot)
  • Cancel the poll – this cancels the poll and frees up your diary again
  • Add or Remove attendees – perhaps some one emails you and asks you invite someone
  • Update your preferred times – just like attendees you can pick a time you “prefer”

Responding to a Scheduling Poll as another person.

Any one receiving a Scheduling Poll will see the following within their email when the poll is sent. This is the email sent in the previous step and invites each requested attendee to vote.

Image showing the meeting poll email as received by a user.
Scheduling Poll email received from meeting organiser.

Each requested attendee then, simply needs to click on the vote button and choose the times they prefer, can attend or cannot attend. At the time of voting, the scheduling tool updates availability options based on their Outlook Calendar.

Depending on the options chosen by the meeting organiser (host), they can also see how others voted and can request a different date and even add additional attendees. These settings are controlled by the meeting organiser.

When everyone has voted the meeting is automatically scheduled. It not everyone votes, the meeting organiser can choose to schedule the meeting based on their own choice.

Voting on a meeting Scheduling Poll in Outlook.
Voting on a meeting Scheduling Poll in Outlook

Forcing the meeting to be scheduled.

Every time an attendee votes, (depending on the options you chose), you’ll receive an email notification like that below. This also includes the current status of everyone else that has voted (you’ll see here that 3 of the 4 attendees have voted).

I have the choice to wait until everyone has voted and the meeting get’s arranged for me, or if there are certain attendees that have not voted, I can choose to go with the majority and just book the meeting.

To do this I simply need to

  • Click on “view all your polls” to go see all my meeting schedules .
  • Select the meeting I want to schedule.
  • Decide if I want to send a final reminder.
  • Update the meeting time options or attendees
  • Schedule the meeting I think is best.
Choosing to schedule a meeting in Outlook Scheduling Polls
Choosing to force the meeting to be scheduled.

Once this is done, the meeting is scheduled and an invite sent to every user.

Attendees still need to accept or decline the meeting as usual.

That’s it – an overview and guide on using Scheduling Polls in Outlook.

You’re missing a trick not using Surface and Pen in meetings

Taking notes on Surface

As a Chief Technology Officer, I meet with a lot of clients, partners, and executives within our customer base. I have often found the clicker clatter on a keyboard (taking notes) in a meeting off putting and acutely aware that it can look like I’m not paying attention or catching up on emails. Sorry to say, I do get the same impression sometimes of others in meetings (it’s like having your camera off in meetings!).

Taking notes and actions in meetings

But….often, if we are using a laptop to take notes looks like we are not paying attention, then ways the alternative?

It amazes me (at a technologist) that “most” people still resource to scraps of paper which they shove in their bag or at best a neat company (or vendor freebie) paper notebook. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you should never write on paper, but there’s a much better way… Stay with me here!

Picture of a notebook with notes

We take notes for a few reasons…

  • To be clear of our actions during the meeting or workshop
  • To jot down the names and roles of people in the meeting
  • To summarise key points and
  • To of course take notes that we will later use for following up on, or to look back at in a week or month or so.

Using a physical notebook to take notes can causes admin and security headaches.

  • I need to hope I do not misplace my book and know where it is and how to find the notes I took in ink. This not only means my notes are gone but others may have access to stuff I capture (which could be confidential).
  • I need to write up my notes and type them into OneNote, Outlook, or CRM system.
  • I may need to search for something in the notes and can’t remember exactly what book it’s in or what I’m looking for.

That’s where the Surface with pen and ink comes in (yes, I am aware you replace this with an iPad or other tablet and pen), but my key message here is why not to use scraps or paper, or even a traditional clamshell notebook for typing notes.

Inking on Surface Pro

Note taking is best with Surface and Pen

Here are some reasons I can’t imagine using anything other than Surface with pen and ink for client and team meetings:

  1. Perception and Focus: It looks like I am paying attention, taking notes on the meeting at hand and not doing emails or something else.
  2. You remember more: This is true. research shows that when we write notes down than when we type them
  3. It’s a natural Writing Experience: Using a Surface Pro (or Surface Go) with Surface Pen provides a natural writing experience that feels like writing on paper. I can write notes, draw diagrams, underline things, and even cut and paste text etc and then highlight or scribble all over it. It’s just like using pen and paper and has so many other benefits.
  4. Realtime Collaboration: If I am with other teammates, I can use the features in Microsoft OneNote and collaborate in real-time. Using a shared OneNote, I can write and draw on the screen, and my colleagues can see my work in real-time and add their notes to it. This makes it easy to brainstorm and collaborate on ideas. Alternatively, I can keep my notes as “my notes”.
  5. Efficient Notetaking: Using Surface with Pen makes note-taking more efficient and saves me time later.  I can choose to leave my notes as digital ink (this means I can search the text later without converting it to text), or I can have apps like OneNote convert my handwriting into text which then makes it easy for me to copy and paste into emails, CRM systems or anything else. Using OneNote, I can also easily organise my notes into folders and different notebooks.
  6. Professional Experience and Appearance: As a technologist, working on Surface with pen and ink looks professional and sleek. I find it’s a great way to make a good impression on clients and colleagues and helps us promote the use of the best devices of business on the market.
  7. Secure yet accessible: Since my notes are digital (in my case in OneNote), I can access them securely anywhere from any device whenever i need them. I don’t need to worry about losing my notes, not being able to find content or having to ask others to “send me their notes”. If I lose my device or get a new one, my notes are securely stored in the cloud.

Best Surface devices to use

With the exception of the Surface Laptop Go, all Surface devices support touch, pen and ink, however for the optimum inking/writing experience you don’t want to be trying to write on a clamshell type laptop. As such I’d suggest either the

Surface Studio Laptop, Surface Pro or Surface Go devices.


Anything other than Surface + Pen + OneNote is a compromise in a meeting where I need to take notes. It provides a natural writing experience, makes it easier for me to come back to my notes, search for notes later and keeps them safe and secure.

Using Surface devices with ink and touch is also a superior experience and looks professional too. No more tatty notebooks, no more typing loudly on a keyboard with a screen between you and your customers or colleagues or boss.

As always, I welcome your views and comments….

Some useful links

Cisco go Beyond Expectation with huge upgrade to partner incentive program at 2023 Partner Summit.

At Cisco’s 2023 Partner Summit this week, Cisco annouced a massive shakeup in their partner incentive programme. I my experience (and from the partners I work with), this makes Cisco’s incentive programme really stand out as top in class, in terms of where and how partners are rewarded.

In short, this new Partner Incentive is based-on three areas.

  • Rebates for one-time sales deals.
  • Incentives for recurring business.
  • Additional rebates for driving customer value services such as driving adoption and increasing subscription volumes (seats).

Inventives aligned to Cloud

Cisco said that they are transforming the partner program to align with its transition to more software and services-based offerings.

The new Cisco Partner Incentive programme is designed to reward partners for selling Cisco hardware, software and as-a-service solutions by aligning the rebates paid, based on total contract value, customer adoption and growth of the subscriptions they have bought. This will help ensure Cisco partners work more closely with their customers (as against one off deals) to ensure their customers buy it, use it and grow it, rather than just focusing on selling product.

This is a similar approach that longer standing cloud vendors such as Microsoft use to drive usage and adoption of their products and services.

The Cisco Partner Incentive is the biggest change we’ve made to partner incentives in more than a decade and is the capstone on the Cisco partner programme evolution started in 2020.

Marc Surplus |VP partner programs|Cisco

The new icentives will also better support their partners to acquiring new logos, for up selling additional cisco products and services and for cross selling into other accounts. Partner that offer and upsell “Cisco Powered Managed Services” will also receive increased rebates.

Skills Shortages driving Managed Service Demand

Cisco estimates that the managed services market for its products is worth $161 billion, and expects 46% of its sales to be sold as a managed service by 2027.

More and more organisations are turning to trusted Cisco Partners to look after support and maintaining their technology and help drive adoption of technologies to increase ROI and usage across their organisations.

New Specialisations to differentiate the top partners

To help partners differentiate in the market and demonstrate their expertise, Cisco is also introducing up to six new solution specialisations within the next nine months. These will cover areas such as cloud, security, collaboration, IoT, data center and enterprise networking.

Cisco is also enhancing its partner experience platform (known as PXP) with new features which include as a new sustainability estimator, that will enable partners to calculate and present their customers with environmental and cost benefits of modernising their IT hardware with the latest technology. This will made available only to environmental sustainability specialised partners.

Cisco is also introducing new Partner Advanced Support for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) along with guided access to API integrations that build on MSPs’ existing services and integrate into their operation and support services platforms such as Service Now.

New partner program starts H2 2024

The new Cisco Partner Incentive is expected to begin in the second half of 2024, and will replace the existing Value Incentive Program (VIP) and VIP Annuity.

Designed for everybody to wins

Cisco says the new incentive will provide more predictability and profitability for partners, as well as more value for customers. This is great news for partners like us (Cisilion) as it helps us drive more value for customers, while keeping prices for product and services low in an ever more competitive landscape.

Rewarding partners for growth and adoption of Cisco products helps ensure customer leverage maximum value and ROI of their investment, ensures partners continue to add value and that Cisco (hopefully) retain and grow their market share across their extensive product portfolio.

Rob Quickenden | CTO | Cisilion.

Microsoft Authenticator now protects against “MFA Bombing” .

The Microsoft Authenticator is getting a backend upgrade in which it now be able suppresses risky sign notifications in an attempt to mitigate against “MFA fatigue” caused by this new attack tactic called MFA bombing. As a big internal advocate of passwordless within my own organisation this is great news…

What is MFA Bombing

“MFA Bombing”, is an attack method in which attackers continually try to logon from unfamiliar locations causing an influx of MFA prompts aimed to truck the user to click accept and allow the sign in since they get sick of dismissing notifications. This is known as MFA bombing attacks.

Microsoft say that this new policy should address the root cause of this growing security breach method.

How Microsoft Authenticator protects against MFA Bombing

In response to this, Microsoft’s Authenticator app will now automatically suppress notifications that come from “risky signins” based on number matching, a MFA method that requires users to verify their identity by entering a numerical code displayed on the screen.

This is aimed to protect users that use the “approve only method” but acts on any method used. Microsoft will now suppress Authenticator notifications when a request is deemed to pose potential risks, such as when the request originates from an unfamiliar location or is exhibiting other anomalies such as repetitive requests (or bombing).

We now suppress Authenticator notifications when a request displays potential risks, such as when it originates from an unfamiliar location or is exhibiting other anomalies. This approach significantly reduces user inconvenience by eliminating irrelevant authentication prompts.


With this feature, and in the event of a login request that looks risky, the standard notification will not be sent to the users device via the authenticator app. Instead, the user (or attacker) will receive a notification on screen (where they are trying to logon) and be told to “Open your Authenticator app and enter the number shown to sign in,”.

When the user opens the Authenticator App, the request will be available for the user and they can sign in…..

Since no notification will be shown on the users mobile authenticator app, if the request was not made by the user, no notification will be displayed so the request will time out.

This significantly reduces user inconvenience by eliminating irrelevant and known risky authentication prompts.

Microsoft recommend “number matching”

Whilst these additional protections are great, it’s recommended that organisations look to implement number matching (if not enabled by default) to enhances the security of the sign-in process by requiring users to enter a sequence of numbers that are displayed on the sign-in screen when approving an MFA request in the Authenticator app. This has a number of immediate benefits over simple approve/deny options including:

  • It prevents accidental approvals by making sure that you are aware of the sign-in request and have access to the sign-in screen.
  • It defends against MFA fatigue attacks, which are spamming attempts to trick people into approving access requests by sending you multiple notifications.
  • It provides an additional layer of security by verifying that the device or app that generates the numbers is the same as the one that receives the approval request.

The implementation of number matching, is a grest way forward and has been extremely successfully in preventing attackers that engaging in MFA fatigue / bombing attacks.

Combined with the new suppression technology for known attacks , Microsoft say that this change has already prevented more than 6 million MFA notifications since September 2023.

Number matching in MFA is available for the Microsoft Authenticator app and can be enabled by IT admins for different scenarios, such as multifactor authentication, self-service password reset, combined registration, AD FS adapter, and NPS extension.

Windows 11 2023 Update (23H2) is now available.

Last month, Microsoft rolled out the moment 4 update to Windows 11 22H2 which included loads of new AI features as well as a Windows Copilot.

I cover this in more detail in a previous post.

Today, Microsoft have started offering Windows 11 version 23H2 as an optional update. This includes all the new AI features that rolled out to users in 22H2.

What’s in Windows 11 23H2?

The new features included in this update being all the new AI features including Windows Copilot which is now pinned to your Taskbar by default. You also get all the new inbox updates including AI powered additions to the Snipping Tool, Paint, and Quick Settings.

How to get Windows 11 23H2 update

Since this is an optional update, you need to head over to Settings-> Windows Update and ensure that the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” toggle is set to on.

You can the check for updates and should see “Windows 11, version 23H2” appear in your Windows Update downloads list for download.

If you are already running Windows 11 22H2, this update may not be available straight way but Microsoft will he making this available shortly.

Windows 11 release rings and support cycles

Microsoft has a 6 monthly core version update model for Windows. This means that the support cycle for Windows 11 version 23H2 will be supported for 24 months starting November 1 for Home and Professional users, and 36 months organisations running Enterprise and Education versions of Windows 11.

To find out more about the new features included in 22H2 and 23H2 check out my post below.

Microsoft 365 Copilot – what makes good AI “prompts”

Microsoft 365 Copilot was released to GA today with a minimum price tag of three hundred licenses at $30 US dollars per user per month [around $108k minimum].

My last blog covered the potential ROI of using Gen AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot, but it’s also worth remembering that Copilot also exists (for free) today inside Bing Chat and Windows 11 (if you are running the latest 22H2 or 23H1 release rings).

Organisations looking to move quickly and get onboard with Copilot have work to do to get their data in shape, educate and train users and find and test the use cases within their organisations to determine if and where Copilot will add most value.

Once deployed (and this goes with any Gen AI tool to be honest), the areas your adoption specialists, training and AI success units will be wanting to be focussing on with employees is how to get Copilot to do what you ask in the most efficient way. We call this “prompting”. This blog introduces the concept, shares some tips, and tricks we (Cisilion), have picked up on the way.

The way we interface with Generative AI is very different to the way we use search engines (which are typically based on key word searches). Generative AI has the ability to really understand what you are asking for and how you want the information you ask for presented. It takes a bit of time to get used to and refine and the more you use it, then better the output and the easier and faster you get to your end result.

The Perfect AI Prompt?

Prompts are how you ask your Copilot (whether Microsoft 365, Windows, or Bing) to do something for you. This could be creating, summarising, comparing, editing, or transforming content. Prompts are “conversations”, using plain but clear language and providing the relevant information, background, ask and context of the request – just like you would if you were asking a human assistant.

Writing good prompts is the key to unlocking the power and potential of generative AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot.


In short a prompt has three parts.

  • Telling Copilot what you want – for example creating, editing, summarising etc.
  • Including the right prompt ingredients – for example what you need and why.
  • Keeping the conversation going to fine tune your request and get the content you need.

Telling Copilot what you need

This may sound obvious, but we often find many people do not appreciate or understand just how particular and precise you can be with these tools. When we run workshops, I often ask the audience to use Bing Chat to create an output with the minimum number of prompts. What i typically see is people “talk” to AI like they talk to their smart speaker, typically asking a simple open question about the weather, train times, or a fact [or in my case my kids ask it for a rude joke or a silly song…or worse].

Working with Generative AI should be seen as similar to working with a person. As such, the more ambiguous the request, tone and language is, the more likely it is that the response you get from Copilot won’t be what you need or expected.

For example, a prompt such as “please analyse this spreadsheet of customer spend and provide insights into the most frequently bought products and services our customer buy for a meeting I have with the leadership team about product and service performance will give Copilot a lot more content and context about what you need work to do with that please analyze this dataset and summarize the results. A prompt that simply asks “summarise this information for me” – clearly misses the conext and framing of what the information is required for.

Include the right prompt “ingredients”

In order to the get the best response from your prompts, it is also important to focus on some of the key elements that will impact the type of response you get from Copilot. In short this is about setting the right goal and the right context along with which data source of information you want to use and you expectations of the output.

  • The Goal refers to what response you want to get from Copilot
  • The Context refers to why you need it and who or what is involved
  • The Source refers to which information source(s) or examples Copilot should you
  • The Expectations refer to how you want Copilot to respond to your request.

Here’s how that fits together into a “good prompt”…

Keeping the conversation going

Since Copilot uses the concepts of turns with regards the prompts you use, you can tweak, fine tune or ask further questions based on the information generated and information you feed it. Whilst Copilot will not learn from your data, it keeps the conversation active until you finish meaning you can refine your requests. This helps you collaborate with Copilot like you would a person. You ask for more information, to present data in a different way or simple change the language or tone of the response.

Examples based on the above could include:

In short – When creating a prompt, think of it as if you were talking to a helpful colleague – there no need to worry about the order, formatting, or structure – the goal is to keep it conversational.

General Do’s and Don’ts

Finally, there are some wider tips and guidance to help ensure you get the best from these conversational input methods. In short, the do’s a don’ts can, be summarised as.

Be clear and specific with your ask. tell it how you want the response or output generated. A draft, bullet points, in Word or in PowerPoint for example.Be vague or ambiguous. Use concise and unambiguous language. If you want something in a certain way – tell it what you want.
Give examples to help Copilot do what you want. If there is a previous document or table you want, state it. If you want something in a certain style, ask. Use slang words, jargon, or informal language. The Lange models Copilot uses are well trained but may miss interpret acronyms, slang words and jargon and therefore give random results.
Provide details that help Copilot do what you ask. Give as much background to what you are asking as possible – just like you would to a human assistant. Set the context and ask clearly. Give conflicting information or ask Copilot to compare or contrast unrelated data or something that is a bad example of what you need. Keep the responses clear and concise and use additional prompts to refine if necessary.
Use turns (these are additional prompts) to tweak and refine your response. If you don’t like something or want something expanded or changed – simple, ask. Change topics without starting over. The best way to end a conversation and start over is to either write “new task” or click the new conversation button.
Feedback to IT. Copilot is only as good as the data and information it has access to. If you are not getting the right response, it may be because you don’t have access to the right data or that the data is out of wrong. Check the data source Copilot refers you to with IT or the document owner. Take what Copilot produces as fact without checking first. Copilot is only as good as the data and information it has access to. If you are not getting the right response, it may be because you don’t have access to the right data or that the data is out of wrong. Check the data source Copilot refers you to with IT or the document owner.
Examples of Good and Bad AI Prompts

Microsoft 365 CoPilot: What is the ROI?

So, who is excited then? Microsoft 365 Copilot will be officially GA from 1st of November 2023 at a cost of $30 per user per month for commercial customers. That is THIS week!!!

How much will Microsoft 365 CoPilot cost?

Microsoft continue to be firm that any organisation that invests in Microsoft 365 Copilot from the 1st of November will pay $30 per user per month. Note that initially, the licensing will not appear on a price list and must be purchased alongside the organisations Microsoft Account team. There is a minimum number of seats of three hundred.

When will Microsoft 365 Copilot be released?

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be generally available from 1st November 2023. There have been several hundred large organisations on a paid (around $100,000) Early Access Preview since the summer who have been helping Microsoft with performance, accuracy and tuning guidance as well as helping Microsoft to capture and prove use-cases and guidance for other future organisations and to help them justify the cost of ownership. I am sure that next year, we will see a Total Economic study from Microsoft and Forrester on this!!

Note: Initially, Microsoft 365 Copilot will not be available to EDU customers or in the government/Gallatin clouds. All apps, except for Copilot in Excel, will be available in the
following languages: English (US, GB, AU, CA, IN), Spanish (Spain, Mexico), Japanese, French (France, Canada), German, Portuguese (Brazil), Italian, and Chinese Simplified. Copilot in Excel is currently only available in English. Support for additional languages will be extended through the first few months of calendar year 2024.

Copilot is very new. As such expect it to evolve quickly and get better…

The ROI of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Even after the 1st of November, most organisations, Microsoft partners and many of Microsoft, will still not have access to Microsoft 365 Copilot. There have been those on the paid early access program, some of the global solution partners have also been involved.

Due to the minimum limit of three hundred licenses, I expect that many organisations may wait a little rather than rush in. Wait until they are ready, they can learn from other organisations successes and blips and (I imagine) for the entry point to be lowered and in fact I have heard rumours that this might drop to fifty.
Note: Smaller organisations and anyone who buys licensing via a CSP provider will also have to wait a bit.

There is plenty of information out there to help organisations start strategizing and preparing for what will be one of the most significant uplifts (both in cost of their Microsoft 365 license, and in capability) in the history of IT and IT budgets.

The questions of course that the CFO and CEO will want to understand are

  1. What will the actual cost be?
  2. How will affect our bottom line?
  3. Are the perceived benefits worth the price?
  4. How can we keep our Microsoft licensing costs under control?
  5. What do we need to do to make sure we can really get the best from Microsoft 365 Copilot.

1. Understanding the cost of Microsoft 365

Microsoft Copilot is an add-on license – meaning it is purchased (at $30 per user per month) and applied to a base-level license. Also, not every Microsoft 365 license will be eligible for a Copilot “bolt-on”. Currently Microsoft 365 Copilot can only be attached to:

  • Microsoft 365 E5,
  • Microsoft 365 E3,
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium,
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard.

Whilst the above is good news for smaller businesses (in that they dont need to upgrader to an E3 or E5 base license), the cost is (currently) the same regardless of what base-level license you are attaching it to. This means the cost uplift (as a percentage) is much higher for organisations on Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 Business. Nothing is of course set-in-stone as we are still in early preview, and we might see pricing changes or tiering as we get nearer to release. I’d also expect customers on large Enterprise Agreement to pay less (and be able to haggle!).

Frontline workers (or anyone with a Microsoft 365 “F” license) are not currently able to use Copilot without being upgraded to an enterprise E3, which means a cost difference (for M365 E3 plus Copilot) of a staggering 8.25x.

If we look at the cost of the current licenses and the effect of adding Copilot to every user, then the costs can look scary (this is based on Online RRP pricing).

Base LicenseBase CostM365 Copilot*License + Copilot% Increase
Microsoft 365 E5£52.40£25£77.4048%
Microsoft 365 E3£33.10£25£58.1076%
Microsoft 365 Business Premium£18.10£25£42.10133%
Microsoft 365 Business Standard£10.30£25£35.30242%
Costs before and after Microsoft 365 Copilot (pupm RRP).

Things to note:

  1. Microsoft 365 Copilot is optional – it’s your choice as to whether you invest in it or not, but it is not and will not be included in any of the base licences – for some AI features in Bing Chat or the use of ChatGPT may be enough.
  2. You don’t (and won’t) need to buy it for every employee – persona mapping and use case studies will be vital to determine who is likely to benefits most.
  3. The pricing for Copilot for Business SKUs may change (as will the rest of the pricing)
  4. Organisations may be able to “fund” their Copilot investment through savings in smart licensing procurement and consolidation of third-party products (especially for M365 E5 organisations). We are seeing a lot of this and makes sense if you have most of your “eggs” in the Microsoft Cloud Basket.

2. How will Copilot affect our bottom line?

One of the recurring questions I get asked when talking to organisations about Microsoft 365 Copilot is “how can we ensure we get a measurable ROI when planning for or investing in Microsoft Copilot?”

Even so, adding $30 (around £25 pupm) to your existing productivity toolset does seems a lot, especially if you are paying for M365 E5 + Teams Premium + Calling Plan already, plus of course things like Microsoft Viva Suite, etc.

At Microsoft’s recent Envision event in London, Microsoft talked a lot about usecases from customers on the Early Access programme, talking about various diffferent use cases that improve work experience, remove creative blocks and speed up decision-making across a number of different sectors including retail and finance.

So – from an ROI perspectives some of the maths you may look at are:

  • Assume a sales exec, data analyst or admin position that earns £50,000 annual salary.
  • With Microsoft 365 Copilot at $30 a month, thats ~$1 a day or ~80p in UK money. If we also assume the normal 250 working days a year then that equates to ~£200/day or ~£25/hr.
  • If these “roles” can each save just two hours a month using Copilot to sumamrise meetings, take notes, automate and send a customer propsosal out, then that is already a productivity saving (in time) of 2:1 or £50 per person per month.

I have already heard other organisations share ROI stories for the use of ChatGPT Premium since its commercial introduction with organisations reporting ROI’s of over 25:1 on a $20 pupm subscription. Given the extensive enterprise data integration and interaction into the Microsoft 365 apps and services that Copilot will bring out of the box, I would not be suprised to see ROIs (once studies are done) of more than 30:1

There is then a moral and emotional play here too. Everyone loves a productivity gain [I think there will be loads], but there may also be instances where entire roles (or aspects of roles) may no longer needed because AI will do that part of the job for us. The same goes to be honest for automation technologies like Power Automate. Then is there the case, where you as an organisation (whether you are involved in B2B or B2C) may win more business because you have “the power of AI” either helping make decisions, responding to a client/customer faster or helping you make sales faster by directly interfacing with the customer or following up on things.

Advice is to ensure you work with Microsoft and your partner(s) to identify which departments or individuals are likely to benefit the most from the features within Microsoft Copilot’s features and make sure they are part of a pilot.

This usually starts with a well thought out and managed pilot programme during which you’ll be looking at identifying, testing, and proving the potential timesaving and productivity gains it can bring to roles like sales, finance, and your data teams.

3. Are the perceived benefits worth the price?

I think so – but again this will all loop back to the point above. Whilst it wont just be about price, these GenAI tools are likely to improve the way most people work. These pilot phases, will require organisations to explore and experiment with Copilot’s features and capabilities to discover new ways to enhance their work experience.

Using these tools also requires that users are on-board, educated and informed. As such, once you have identifyied the most suitable users and scenarios for the “pilot”, you’ll need to ensure you provide adequate training and support and closely monitor and measure the outcomes and champion quick wins whilst soliciting feedback and suggestions from employees.

A report on the early findings on the promise of Generative Al put together by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group found that Generative Al in the workplace lead to a:

  • 12.2% increase in task completion rates
  • 25.1 % decrease in time spent to complete tasks
  • 12.5% increase in the number of subtasks completed
  • 40% increase in the quality of responses to subtasks

4. How do we keep our costs under control?

A good question…let’s look at cost reduction to free budget (either for cakes, salary rises, bottom line or, yes, Copilot).

Organisations may be able to “fund” their Copilot investment through savings in smart licensing procurement and consolidation of third-party products (especially for M365 E5 organisations). We are seeing a lot of this and makes sense if you have most of your “eggs” in the Microsoft Cloud Basket.

Mch of the above is general good practice but I’m seeing lots of organisations looking at this to “free” budget to drive Copilot “pilots”.

5. What do we need to do to make to get the best from Copilot?

I have covered this before in previous blogs and videos, but in short the key focus organisations need to do outside of runing a pilot, training users and streamlining how you fund it, is data data data.

The key advantage that Microsoft Copilot will have over its rivals is that it seemlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications and uses enterprise data to provide personalised and contextual assistance. As such, ensuring your data is accessible (in the cloud or cloud connected at least), managed correctly, classified, labelled and protected. I have covered this a few times here.

Successful adoption of Microsoft 365 Copilot is much more than the technology and licensing. Organisations need to see this as a significant technology project and not just a product you buy. As such they key activies critival to success are:

  • Having a defined vision and identification of how Microsoft 365 Copilot will be used
  • Obtain proactive support from key roles in the organisation to accelerate the use of Copilot. including senior leadership, legal, IT and key Business Development Managers.
  • Enable Champions and provide business relevant, snackable and on-demand training for end users this includes leveraging the “power of the prompt”.
  • Raised awareness through launch event & omni-channel communications planning.

Copilot Q&A

Will CoPilot be included in Microsoft E5?

No, Microsoft 365 Copilot is not included in the Microsoft 365 E5 license. Microsoft 365 Copilot is an add-on license at an additional cost [$30] irrespective of the Microsoft 365 licenses you have within your organisation. This means that even if you are on Microsoft 365 E5, you will need to pay for it separately if you decide to implement and use it.

Whats the minimum number of licenses we can buy?

Currently the minimum liceses you will be able to buy from 1st November is three hundred at a cost of $30 pupm.

Will there be free trails?

No – at the moment Microsoft have confirmed that trials will not be available.

Will I be able to get Microsoft 365 Copilot for free?

If you do – let me know!!

No… as of the information available, Microsoft 365 Copilot will not be available for free. At the time of writing, there are six hundred organisations globally that are currently on an Early Access Programme, and they all paid $100,000 for the preview. Microsoft Copilot is positioned as a premium add-on with huge substantial benefits. The initially announced price is $30 per user per month, but it’s this price is not yet finalised, and we don’t know if different sectors or license volumes will affect the price.

We don’t have Microsoft 365 – can we still use Copilot?

No, Microsoft 365 Copilot will only be available for organisations that use Microsoft 365 Business, Business premium, Enterprise E3 or Enterprise E5. I is not availbale for organisation of Office only plans, or Front-line worker SKUs (Microsoft 365 F SKUS).

We also do not yet know the intentions Microsoft have for Copilot with Education and Not for Profit organisations.

Will I be able to negotiate the price for Microsoft 365 Copilot?

It depends. The size of your organisation, the level of your base licensing and demand will all likley affect what you pay for Microsoft 365. I suspect the largest organisations – those with huge Enterprise Agreements will get a better deal than smaller organisations, but I’d expect tie ins to the higher licnese SKUs like Microsoft 365 E5.

My advice is to speak to a product and licensing specialist to work with your Microsoft Account team and who can help you assess your deployment roadmap from various angles.

Summary and Key Points

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available to Enterprise customers at a price of $30 per user per month on top a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license.
  • Initially there will be a minimum license purchase of three hundred licenses, Though I have heard that this might get reduced to fifty.
  • Initially it’s only available to Enterprise sized organisations though will be coming to CSP customers and small, medium, and commercial organisations by end of the year.
  • ROI should be significant if Copilot is properly implemented, but organisations need to prepare to pay for this and it’s not “cheap”. Expect Copilot to impact everyone person in the organisation.

Microsoft Envision 2023 – AI is the fuel for the next generation of digital transformation

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Microsoft Envision in London.

Hosted by Clare Barclay [Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft UK], this was the first in-person only event Microsoft had run in some 4 years, and it was absolutely packed with a real buzz and energy I haven’t seen at an event in years.

The theme of the entire event, including breakouts and exhibitors was all centred around AI – which is hardly surprising with the upcoming 1st November date for “general availability” of Microsoft 365 Copilot

The KeynoteAI Transformation

The event comprised of a keynote delivered by Judson Althoff [Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial officer].

AI transformation is going to follow many of the same rules of digital transformation…Many of you embarked upon your cloud journeys many years ago, and one rule really applied – that digital transformation was business transformation, empowered by technology, and in that order.

Judson Althoff | Microsoft VP and CCO

His 45-minute session was all about AI about and how “to lead in the era of AI” at the keynote.

During this session. Jedson explained how generative AI technology is opening doors for any, and all business from healthcare, to manufacturing to public sector and finance to “imagine new ways to solve challenges”, while unlocking innovation and delivering greater business value that any technology has ever done before. As well as some demos and in-person interviews from some leading UK brands like Sainsburys and ASOS who talked about how they were leveraging Microsoft AI to build new shopping experiences.

Judson spent most of his time on stage bringing the audience up to speed and on the same page about Microsoft 365 Copilot, Sales Copilot, Security Copilot and then spent some time talking around GitHub Copilot and the huge benefits this is bringing to developers. He showcased the ever expanding “collaboration” between Microsoft and OpenAI, which most recently has also resulted in the creation of Llama 2, a powerful generative AI model that can generate text, images, code, music and more which will soon be available on Azure and Windows platforms as part of the expansion of the Azure AI model catalogue.

Finally, he introduced the new Vector Search, a new feature in Azure Cognitive Search that enables searching across different types of data using natural language queries with a live demo (which mainly worked), in which he showed off how Vector Search can help find relevant information from documents, images, videos and more through semantic indexing (the same powerful index too that will power Microsoft 365 Copilot.) Jedson also re-introduced Microsoft Fabric which has been in preview for six months and goes into General Availability next month.  

AI transformation is going to reshape how companies think about their employees, how they think about engaging with their customers, how they think about their own businesses, and how they think about innovation

Whilst Microsoft covered a lot of ground in this session, much of it was a rinse and repeat of things many of us had seen before. What Microsoft did though through event was kept the fire burning. Delivering this on stage in front of thousands of people had real appeal. You could feel the buzz from the audience and the conversations leaving the main hall were all of excitement and energy – Microsoft really did capture hearts and minds.

The Breakouts

I was less impressed by many of the breakouts though to be fair I only attended a handful of them. Many were met with repeats of what we had already seen earlier on, but with less passion and energy. Most demos were impressive to those that had not seen them before, but for partners and “tightly managed” Microsoft customers, there wasn’t much we hadn’t already seen before – that said, it didn’t stop the buzz and interest through, and the exhibition halls were buzzing.


For me – these events are all about the networking. We had a team of people there – some there to learn and see what was coming and how it was being presented to customers (this was not a technical event, and it was aimed at business leaders). For me it was great to meet many of our customers, who I’d previous only met over Teams) and was even nicer to get a chance to really interface with people from different industries, from Microsoft product and Client Success teams and to get some deep dive demos on some other aspects of the solutions Microsoft offer that we don’t specialise in. I was extremely impressed by just how powerful Dynamnics 365 is now for example.

Satya’s Closing Points

Unlike previous events, this even stayed busy until the end (and beyond)- this was probably due, in-part to the closing note being delivered by Satya Nadella (in person), followed by Steve Bartlett (CEO and Founder of Diary of a CEO).

Satya brought his usual passion and twist to the day, summarising the key points delivered throughout the day but homing in on GitHub Copilot and the enormous potential this has to help software developers, businesses and citizen developers have in building AI powered apps for the future. He talked about Microsoft’s commitments to ethical AI, AI for good and the new wave of AI transformation that is taking over every facet of our lives and every business big and small.  He talked about this next wave being about “digitising people, places and things with new reasoning engines that can really analyse data in seconds”.

There were a few points which you could feel really resonated with the audience.

  1. This AI wave is bigger than when the Windows PC transformed the office in the nineties
  2. We are on the cusp of interfacing with technology in true natural language where our computers can now actually “understand” us
  3. For the first time, we will be able to interface with technology in true multi-modal and multi-domain and engage in full meaningful discussions.

He finished by re-iterating the work many organisations need to do to get the best from Generative AI. Much of this was around data. He said, which I think is the most relevant bit of advice for every organisation, that “The Cloud is what makes AI possible, but it is your data that makes AI work”.

My Take: What organisations need to do next

For me this resonates as this is what we see every day and on the back of every discussion around AI we have with our clients.

Data is the fuel of AI: Many have lots of work to do to get their data in shape. Whether that is getting it in the cloud, managing stale and duplicate data, controlling security and governance, and protecting it from mis use or leakage. Many are not there yet and fear that many will miss this important step and jump straight it – resulting in poor results, low ROI, and poor adoption.

Adoption is the accelerant: Cloud Adoption is what makes AI possible . The UK has good cloud adoption the main, but it’s very hit and miss. Some are full in and others are still starting the journey. For AI to work we need good Cloud Adoption and it’s not just about migrating to the cloud. We need data and apps structured to get the best from AI -we need data accessible (but secure) to allow these LLMs to surface and make decisions or conclusions based on this data and it needs people to understand the true power of what these tools can do. I still feel many see AI as something of a fad, a promise of something and something others will do. Even looking inside our own organisation we have a lot to do – to really deeply understand and appreciate what AI will do for us.

If you haven’t used it – dive in , start interfacing with your PC via Windows Copilot, leverage Bing Enterprise Chat, get ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot by working with your Microsoft Partner.

AI is the future – it’s here and it’s for everyone and every organisation – but your data is what will make it successful and useable.

Microsoft Teams can now proactively monitor meeting quality.

Microsoft have annouced that users with Teams Premium licenses can now be proactively monitored with IT being alerted to users that are experiencing poor meeting experiences in Teams.

Users under monitoring must have a Teams Premium license to enable proactive monitoring notifications. Room devices with Pro licenses are also supported.

How it works?

IT or help desk can now set up rule-based alerts to notify them of significant quality issues that users might be experiencing in Teams meetings such as such as audio, video or app sharing problems which helps them raise tickets and troubleshoot issues quickly. The alerts are delivered by a chat bot into a team site for example and can also be picked up and routed though a power automate flow to the IT ticketing system for example.

Image (c) Microsoft

Benefits to IT and Helpdesk

Real-Time telemetry, has been available in the Teams Admin Center for a while, but required manual reviewing and repetitive admin involvement to detect anomalies and pinpoint specific issues. Previously IT needed to search for a user, check their call history, find ongoing meetings, or live events in which their users were involved, and then locate the necessary telemetry information to spot exact issues.

Benefits for users

For users with Teams Premium licenses or those joining Teams meetings from devices with Teams Room Pro licenses, Real-time telemetry data will allow IT to proactively be aware and troubleshoot transient issues that users might face with meeting quality without manually sifting through logs or waiting for the user to complain.

How to enable proactive monitoring

This functionality is configured within the Teams Admin Center using rule-based notifications. Microsoft’s instructions are:

  • Configure the “Audio/Video/App sharing quality for in-progress meeting” rule in the Teams Admin Center under Notifications & Alerts > Rules.
  • Specify the list of users to monitor.
  • Adjust default monitoring parameters based on which audio, video or app sharing quality is monitored.
  • Configure a Teams channel or webhook where you want these notifications to be delivered.
  • Save the rule.

For more information see the formal Microsoft documentation here.

For more info on Teams Premium see here.

Image and design by Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator.

Windows 11 gets Copilot upgrade as “moments 4” update rolls out.

Microsoft’s AI infused update is now rolling out for the masses. The update started rolling out last Tuesday and is the lastest next major feature update for Windows 11. It is bundled as part of the October’s security release for all Windows 11 users.

This update (known as Moment 4 update) is far more than security updates and includes lots of improvements and big new features to take advantage of that include a new File Explorer design, Copilot for Windows (a new AI assistant). There are also lots of improvements to the Taskbar, and notable in-box app updates as well including notepad and paint.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key new things and changes.

Major AI related stuff

  • Windows Copilot (incorporating Bing Chat)
  • AI-powered file recommendations in both File Explorer and Start
  • A new AI Hub for “AI-powered apps” in the Microsoft Store

Changes to desktop and taskbar

  • A new File Explorer design with more modern interfaces plus a new “Gallery feature”
  • System wide ability to Ink directly into text boxes
  • Taskbar app labels and other improvements
  • HDR desktop wallpaper support
  • New Windows Spotlight wallpaper UI
  • Native support for more archive file formats such as .RAR
  • New sound output menu
  • Native RGB peripheral controls

New features and UI changes

  • New account recommendations in Start and Settings
  • A new revamped Settings homepage

Inbox app updates

  • A new cloud-based backup and restore feature built in to Windows
  • Snipping Tool improvements including OCR text and ability redact / mask sensitive information
  • Improvements to Notepad including new auto save feature

When is Windows 10 end of life?

As a reminder to those still on Windows 10, this will go end of support on October 14, 2025 meaning now more feature or security updates…

Microsoft says that “Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to update, upgrade or make other changes to your software.”

Windows 11 is now on over half a billion devices as of October 2023 according to Microsoft.

The end of Windows Server 2012 – Band-aid it or innovate it?

What has happened?

Support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 ended on 10th Oct 23.

This means that the security updates that rolled out in this month’s Patch Tuesday was the last for Windows Server 2012, meaning that there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, bug fixes or technical support.

What are my options

With any end of support stages, there are always options. In short these can be summarised as:

  1. Do nothing [not the best idea]
  2. Upgrade to a supported version of Windows Server [this means upgrading to Windows Server 2022]
  3. Purchase Extended Security Updates (ESUs) for Windows Server 2012 – [these provide one to three years of security updates only – no new feature or bug fixes]
  4. Migrate the on-prem 2012 servers to Azure [by doing this and receive up to three years of free Extended Security Updates (ESUs) for free]

Option four is a logical choice for most – from an operational, cost and sustainability perspective – besides of course mitigating the immediate increased security risk (with free security updates for 3 years)

So why is now the right time to migrate and modernise with Azure?

Shifting on-prem servers to Microsoft Azure provides many benefits including reduced maintenance/support costs, less/no power usage (good for your CO2 numbers), flexible and predictable pricing, and an opportunity to migrate and modernise the workloads running on these servers to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for example Azure SQL or Azure App Services. You can of course migrate to Azure and still upgrade to Server 2022 if you are not ready to move to PaaS 😊

Your Azure / Cloud Partner can help

Many organisations are eligible for “migration assistance”, usually in the terms of funded assistance from their Azure Migrate partner or directly through Microsoft. Depending on where you are on your Cloud journey, the Azure Migrate and Modernisation Program is designed to simplify and accelerate an organisations cloud migration and modernisation projects and offers by working with a certified Azure partner.

Working with Microsoft and your Azure partner (like Cisilion) can help you by providing: –

  • A Proven Approach: We use best practices based on the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure and Well-Architected Framework at every stage of your cloud adoption journey.
  • Expert Assistance: We provide industry and hands on guidance direct from certified Azure engineers – we help by assessing your environment, planning migrations, and can support your transition.
  • Inclusive support: If you choose to use us as your Azure partner, we can also provide your Azure licensing through the Cloud Solution Provider programme (CSP) which includes inclusive 24/7 support at no extra cost.
  • Cost Savings: Our expertise in cost optimisation, platform design and fin ops means that not only can we help you minimise migration costs (with funding assistance), but we ensure right sizing, the right licensing models and the right terms – typically saving organisations more that 38%.

Bing Image Creator gets an upgrade – now powered by DALL-E 3

Bing image creator has recently been upgraded to use OpenAI’s DALL-E 3, resulting in significantly better quality, more creative and more realistic images from using natural language prompts. DALL-E 3 is a newer and improved version of DALL-E 2.

These enhancements (as a result of the upgrade to DALL-E 3 brings the following enhancements to Bing image creator:

  • Relevance and prompt following: DALL-E 3 follows your prompt with more precision and reliability than previous models. For the best results, you should provide a greater level of detail in your prompt.
  • Coherence: DALL-E 3 generates images that are more photorealistic and logically consistent with your prompt. The images are not only visually appealing, but also make sense. You also get less ‘deformed” looking images (especially with people) than before.
  • Aesthetics: DALL-E 3 generates images that are not only realistic, but also creative and artistic. The images can be uniquely styled with flair that matches your creativity.

New safety and ethics features

As well. As the upgrade to image creativity, Bing image creator now also brings improved safety and ethics by using content credentials and content moderation system.

  • Content credentials are invisible digital watermarks that confirm the provenance of the image as AI-generated.
  • Content moderation system is a trained system that removes any images that are harmful or inappropriate, such as nudity, violence, hate speech, or illegal activities. This also means its better for educators and children to use.

How simple is Bing Image Creator to use?

Here’s one I created early inspired by recent trip to Transylvania in Romania.

Created with Bing Image Creator

To get started, you can use the bing mobile app or go to and start by simply asking Bing to create an image.

What makes a good prompt?

The key in getting the image you want is to be descriptive (as much as you can). The image above was created with the following script.

Creating images with Bing Image Creator

Once the images have been created, you can choose which one you like best or ask Bing to change it, add something or change it until its how you like it… Totally awesome.

How do I access Bing Image Creator?

To get started, you can use the bing mobile app or go to and start by simply asking Bing to create an image.

Microsoft unveils OneDrive 3.0

Microsoft ran a special OneDrive event yesterday (3rd October) where they announced a major new update for their OneDrive platfom (which provides cloud file storage, management and sharing) for Microsoft 365 consumer and commercial customers.

The event was hosted by Jeff Teper (president of collaborative apps at Microsoft).

Dubbed “OneDrive 3.0 update” this includes some new design elements, AI and with many new features for IT and for users.

OneDrive 3.0 – (c) Microsoft

What’s new with OneDrive 3.0?

Microsoft’s OneDrive blog takes an deep dive at what’s coming next with the OneDrive 3.0 update, but one of the major efforts Microsoft are promising with this update is to make it easier for users to find the files they have stored and shared, which is going to result in some design changes to the OneDrive home page on the web including a new “for you” area.

“The new OneDrive Home experience reduces the time to find your files so you can spend more time doing. Our new “For you” area uses AI-powered file recommendations to surface files personalized to you, bringing the most relevant, time-sensitive content to top of your OneDrive. We’ve also added rich, context-based organization, such as views that show you recent, shared, and favorite and files from meetings“.

Onedrive 3.0

Microsoft also has a new Shared page in OneDrive, where users can see which files are shared by which people and how they were shared. There’s also a new People view page, where you can see the files shared with individuals. Other new OneDrive file pages including seeing which files were shared in different meetings, along with filtering files by their specific type.

Users will also receive a revamped Shared page, where they can see all the files they have shared or received, along with the names of the people involved and the sharing method. Another new feature is the People view page, where users can see the files they have shared with specific individuals or groups which is designed to help users keep track of their collaborations and communications. OneDrive will also allows users to see the files they have shared in different meetings, such as Teams or Outlook meetings. Users can also filter files by their type, such as documents, images, videos, etc.

New OneDrive Sharing Page coming soon.

These new features are designed to enhance the user experience and productivity of OneDrive. There also new cudtomisation options and a slew of new security enhancements, and IT tools.

Onedrive Customisation

Microsoft are also bringing more customisation to OneDrive allowing users to change the look of their OneDrive files by changing the colours of different files, folders or file types in the web interface. There is also the ability to label certain files as Favorites.

More updates on their way

Microsoft also revealed that OneDrive will soon a flux of other new features which will roll out the next coming weeks and months. These include:

  • Being able to launch your preferred desktop app to open a file stored in OneDrive.
  • Being able to view all your photos and videos in one page with the new Media view.
  • Ability to create a new document and go straight into edit mode from inside OneDrive with the “Add new” feature.
  • New offline mode which will work in the browser and then sync changes when back online, allowing users to launch OneDrive in the browser without internet access and perform various file operations.

Security and Admin enhancements

A bunch of new IT admin management and security control are also on their way…

  • Granular conditional access policies will provide IT and SecOps teams to set different access requirements for users who work with confidential files, such as multi-factor authentication and granular conditional access policies.
  • Restricted access control policies will enable IT to block access to shared files in specific OneDrive accounts by limiting them to a certain security group
  • Moving OneDrive accounts across tenants (a much requested feature) will allow IT admins to migrate OneDrive accounts from one tenant to another during mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures, while preserving the existing sharing links and permissions.
  • Block download policy is a new control that will more easily allow IT admins to prevent users from downloading, printing, or syncing files and Teams meeting recordings from SharePoint or OneDrive.
  • Collaboration insights (currently in private preview) will allow admins to identify user collaboration and sharing patterns across the organisation.
  • Data export for OneDrive sync client admin reports: Allows admins to access sync admin reports on volume, health, errors, and more via Microsoft Graph Data Connect for SharePoint. This feature will be available in public preview in Jan 2024

Copilot is coming OneDrive

Finally (and it wouldn’t be a Microsoft event in 2023 without it), Microsoft annouced that in December, OneDrive for Microsoft 365 commercial customers will also get access to Copilot, a generative AI assistant that can help you find and summarise the files you need without opening them.

This new Copilot for OneDrive will need a Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

Read the formal OneDrive blog and watch the annoucement below. 👇