Ofcom released a statement earlier this month, announcing that halfway into its exploration of UK cloud services, it plans to refer the market to the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) for investigation.

The news, while major, is actually unsurprising when you think about the make-up of the industry, believes Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer.

“The UK’s two lead cloud players - Microsoft and AWS (Amazon Web Services) - hold up to 70% of market share, which definitely feels like a monopoly. There are other hyperscalers competing for customers’ business of course, including Google, but their presence is comparatively dwarfed by the other two giants.

“So we have to ask ourselves, do they have too much control? I would argue they do, but it’s hard to see how anything will change if the Government uses both.”

The dominance of Microsoft and AWS does make it harder for emerging cloud providers to gain traction, adds Tim.

“These providers have traditionally offered seemingly ultra-affordable options for customers - undoubtedly one of the reasons they’re the ‘go to’ cloud of choice for the public sector particularly. But big doesn’t necessarily mean best,” he said.

Ofcom’s article expressed apparent concern surrounding interoperability restrictions and significant price increases at the point of renewal, for example, no doubt just some of the factors that will be further examined by the CMA, if it goes ahead.

We’re told a final decision on the proposed investigation will be made by 5 October 2023.

“I hope it’s not merely an industry rumbling,” concluded Tim. “If there are ways to improve how the market works for all, then surely an investigation makes sense.“In the meantime though, I think the theme of this conversation reminds us of the importance of cloud agnostic conversations. After all, multi-cloud providers exist, who are able to advise organisations on the cloud infrastructure that is truly right for them - it might be Microsoft or AWS, it might be Google, or it might be something else entirely. That’s when things get really exciting.”

For those who don’t know, ChatGPT is a state-of-the-art natural language processing tool, driven by AI technology, that has been making waves across a whole host of sectors recently. Now being leveraged as the brainpower behind Microsoft 365’s latest update, Copilot, the platform is set to have a greater number of applications, and more intuitive functionality, than ever.

So, what does this mean for the UK’s most ambitious organisations? Here, Vapour CEO Tim Mercer offers up some insight…

Give yourself five minutes on ChatGPT and you’ll instantly see how powerful the tool is. Integrate it into the world’s leading productivity cloud, and that impact will grow tenfold.

The architecture has been trained on an endless corpus of text data, making it an ideal solution for natural language processing and word-based tasks. Augmenting organisations’ existing Microsoft systems or able to be implemented as an entirely new solution, it’s a truly game-changing development for firms looking to stay ahead of the curve in terms of productivity and innovation.

Of course, being in its infancy, there are a handful of iterations to come before the service works seamlessly. But, more than simply embedding ChatGPT into Microsoft 365, here are three ways the enterprise-ready Copilot AI system is set to supercharge productivity…

Augmenting the customer experience

With features such as chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated support, leveraging the power of ChatGPT to enhance communication capabilities will take the customer experience to a whole new level — improving engagement by providing timely and accurate responses to enquiries.

Crucially, this won’t replace humans. Instead, it will free up teams for more complex, revenue-generating tasks — leaving manual, laborious work in the hands of capable technology, and maximising business efficiency across the board.

Straightforward integration

For businesses already using Microsoft 365, the integration of ChatGPT will be a straightforward process. Microsoft has announced that the technology will be merged into the platform's existing tools — including Teams, Word, and Outlook — meaning features will be available for use almost immediately.

For companies looking to implement the pairing as an entirely new solution, the process is equally simple. Microsoft's suite of tools is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, making it easy to get started with the platform. Plus, as a cloud-based solution, it’s ideal for geographically dispersed teams too — with applications able to be accessed from any location, at any time.

Unlocking seamless collaboration

This update is significant from an internal productivity perspective too. It means that you can finally say goodbye to clunky interfaces and hello to seamless collaboration. Imagine being able to ask Microsoft 365 a question in the same way you would ask a colleague, and getting an instant response that is accurate and helpful. 

And that's not all. ChatGPT is also capable of generating text — not just interpreting it — which means that Microsoft 365 can now help you write emails, reports, and even presentations, as well as summarise key points of an email thread or Teams meeting. No more staring at a blank page or struggling to remember details. Just tell Microsoft 365 what you want to achieve, and the AI will do the heavy lifting.

At Vapour, we believe that technology should be harnessed to empower businesses and individuals to achieve their full potential. If you are interested in learning more about how Vapour can help you provide a competitive edge with Microsoft 365, get in touch to discuss your custom solution, today.

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