McKinsey and Microsoft drive business value creation with gen AI agents enabled by Copilot Studio

McKinsey is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Microsoft to use the power of generative AI (gen AI) agents to run independent complex processes across enterprise and shared services operations. This builds on the long-standing alliance McKinsey has with Microsoft to drive impact together for clients.

Gen AI enterprise use cases could yield  $2.6 trillion  to 4.4 trillion in annual economic benefit. Additionally, integrating gen AI and other technologies into business activities could enable the automation of up to 70 percent of the work hours in today's global economy. This is a crucial opportunity for leaders to proactively transform their organizations.

This alliance will help organizations harness the value of gen AI by bringing together Microsoft’s Copilot Studio with McKinsey's deep strategy, organizational, change management, digital and implementation expertise. This collaboration is part of McKinsey’s open ecosystem of leading gen AI innovators, which is led by the firm's AI consulting arm QuantumBlack.

QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey

QuantumBlack, AI by McKinsey

Learn how we're helping capture the opportunity of generative AI

The collaboration will offer an end-to-end transformation approach that will focus on helping businesses re-imagine their core workflows with Microsoft’s Copilot Studio, to ensure adoption of the tools and the new processes that workforces need to improve service quality, and enable growth and efficiency. McKinsey brings vast experience with over 7,000 tech experts, engineers, and data scientists who partner with over 500+ clients annually to build and deploy tech-enabled solutions.

McKinsey will develop several lighthouse solutions, built on Copilot Studio, to help advance clients through the next phase of gen AI. Led by principles of Rewired: The McKinsey guide to outcompeting in the age of digital and AI, and McKinsey’s digital transformation roadmap, McKinsey will work with Microsoft to develop a playbook for the next generation of gen AI agents.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with McKinsey and apply our Microsoft Copilot Studio capabilities towards helping businesses achieve their digital innovation goals with agents. This technology enables us to reshape business automation as we know it and will unlock significant transformation for organizations and their customers,”  says Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president, Business Applications & Platforms, Microsoft.

A hand reaching out to touch a deep blue screen covered in datapoint dots. A circular ripple effect emanates from the point of contact.

The promise and the reality of gen AI agents in the enterprise

Generative AI technology is improving so quickly that a range of new capabilities are rapidly coming online, but only for those who can understand how to use them.

Gen AI-enabled agents hold the promise of accelerating the automation of a very long tail of workflows that would otherwise require inordinate amounts of resources to implement. Microsoft’s new Copilot Studio Agents are a meaningful step towards accelerating enterprise adoption: “All of this means that gen AI agents are getting much closer to becoming true “virtual workers” that can both augment and automate enterprise services in all areas of the business, from HR to finance to customer service,” explains Lari Hämäläinen, a senior partner at McKinsey.

Our research shows that 60 to70 percent of the work hours in today’s global economy could theoretically be automated by applying a wide variety of existing technology capabilities, including gen AI. For customer operations specifically, research shows more than $400 billion of potential value from gen AI is at stake.

Gen AI agents are an important step towards this value creation. AI-powered Copilot agents can run end-to-end workflows in collaboration with human employees who can then focus on higher value-add activities. In addition, they can collaborate with each other just like teams who are managed by human supervisors. Businesses can achieve holistic end-to-end impact as AI-powered copilot agents function across historically siloed workflows to manage entire processes.

“We are excited to work with Microsoft to help our clients rewire their businesses with the latest in AI and cloud technology. Our joint efforts will enable enterprises to serve their customers and employees more efficiently and effectively across enterprise solutions, ultimately driving growth and success,” states Rodney Zemmel, senior partner and global leader of McKinsey Digital.

Organizations are excited about the power of gen AI in customer care. In a recent article, Jorge Amar, a McKinsey senior partner, notes the progress he has already started to see with clients. “Over the past year, we have seen a lot of successful pilots with gen AI agents helping to improve the customer service functions. For example, you could have a customer service agent who is on the phone with a customer and receives help in real-time from a dedicated gen AI agent that is, for instance, recommending the best knowledge article to refer to or what the best next steps are for the conversation.”

Leaders have already started seeing the impacts gen AI agents can have on their business. In a recent McKinsey interview, Linda Yao, head of the AI Center of Excellence at Lenovo, said, “With our gen AI agents helping support customer service, we’re seeing double-digit productivity gains on call handling time. And we’re seeing incredible gains in other places too. We’re finding that marketing teams are cutting the time it takes to create a great pitch book by 90 percent.”

McKinsey is committed to helping businesses evolve and innovate. Together with Microsoft, we are actively developing use cases with lighthouse clients and creating a holistic copilot agent roadmap.

Never miss a story

Stay updated about McKinsey news as it happens