Let Me Save You Some Time on Azure OpenAI And Copilot

Michael Ruminer
4 min readMay 7, 2024
A Microsoft Copilot created image show some technicians and a couple of robots with OpenAI text above them.

I continue to develop my interest and some proficiency in AI. I am specifically focusing on Microsoft’s Copilot and Azure offerings. How did I end on that choice? I used to be a Microsoft MVP and also have a personal Visual Studio license that comes with $150 a month in Azure credits. So I have a long history in the Microsoft stack and tools plus some credits to play with each month. Those credits don’t go far when dealing with Azure AI pricing but I appreciate them. This last weekend I was going through an exercise I found on connecting up Azure AI search with Azure OpenAI layered on top, and then letting that be the foundation for a Copilot. You can find the excellent video by Lisa Crosbie here. This is a post on what I encountered that took me a while to overcome so that if you have a similar set of conditions you may spend less time to get running.

The crux of my arrangement and some heartache is the personal Visual Studio Azure subscription id; an emphasis on “personal”. This is where I have the monthly credits, but you need a business Microsoft account to use the Copilot Studio.

Here is the short end of it. If you can call this short. It’s complicated, what I did to get there, but doesn’t have to be too complicated for you. Here are the steps I went through so you don’t have to:

  • I needed to apply for a Microsoft OpenAI Studio preview access.
  • I needed to use a non-personal email. No outlook.com, gmail etc.
  • Once approved the following day when trying to kick off a Copilot creation from the deployed OpenAi instance it asked me to log in and would only accept a business or school Microsoft account — my personal account wouldn’t work.
  • I created a new Microsoft business account by subscribing to Office 365 basic business
  • I tried to kick off the Copilot creation from the OpenAI deployment on my personal account and when it asked me to log in for the Copilot I put in my new business Microsoft account. It complained that it couldn’t connect with the Azure OpenAi deployment. Which made total sense- it was under a different account than the Copilot I was trying to create, but I had to try it.
  • So, I subscribed to Azure using that newly minted business account. It came with $200 credit the first month.
  • I tried to apply for OpenAI using the “business” email address the Azure subscription gave me when subscribing to Azure- a ruminio944.onmicrosoft.com domain.
  • It immediately denied me saying that the email address was a personal email account. I wasn’t expecting that.
  • I had a dormant domain sitting in GoDaddy (who doesn’t) and added it to my Azure account as a domain and set up a shared email for that domain. I now had factraft@factraft.com email address. I am sure I could have set up an email box directly on GoDaddy for the domain but this was more fun and a learning experience.
  • I now had a MS business login with an Azure subscription and $200 credit to play with and what should be considered a business email.
  • I applied for the OpenAI Studio Preview again this time using my new Azure subscription id and new factraft email. I expected it to be denied as all the other information such as name, address, website etc. was the same as I had already submitted and been approved for under my personal Azure subscription id. Surprisingly, the next day I received a welcome message for OpenAi Studio Preview.
  • I went through the video exercise in my new Azure account and most things worked as in the video.

The Lesson

To make it work you need the OpenAI Studio Preview which requires a business email address, a website, and an approved use case to request admission to the preview, and that is no guarantee of approval. You’ll need a business Microsoft account to log into in order to kick off the Copilot studio. Personal emails and a personal Microsoft account won’t cut it. I created a business Microsoft account by subscribing to Office 365 business basic for about $8. Then added an Azure instance to this with $200 credits for the first month. Then I was off to the races- mostly. I was able to make it all work for a mere mortal for the cost of about $8, the one month Office 365 subscription, and a partial days effort . All in all, not bad. I’ll make another write up on what I discovered in the creation itself. If just the right person(s) finds this trying to play with Azure OpenAI and Copilot studio then it might save them a fair amount of time.

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Michael Ruminer

Delving into verifiable credentials. did:web:manicprogrammer.github.io