Copilot for Microsoft 365 is the latest tool Microsoft has released as part of its goal to empower organisations and their people to achieve more. The everyday artificial intelligence (AI) companion has now been released for millions of people around the world to realise its potential. In this blog, Dan Coleby, Director of Client Technology Value at Advania, highlights what the release of Copilot for Microsoft 365 means for you, including some brand new capabilities.
Microsoft first announced its embedded AI assistant, now called Copilot for Microsoft 365 in March 2023, releasing it to select customers on the Early Access Programme over the summer. On 1st November, Copilot for Microsoft 365 became available for Enterprise customers to purchase with a minimum purchase of 300 licences.
This week, Microsoft announced that Copilot for Microsoft 365 was immediately available to customers of all sizes through all licence agreements, including purchasing through a Cloud Service Provider such as Advania. Furthermore, the 300-licence minimum purchase has been dropped, so the power of Copilot is now available to businesses from one user upwards. And all for the price of $30 per-user-per-month.
In addition to making Copilot for Microsoft 365 available to businesses of all sizes, the announcement includes the launch of a new product called Copilot Pro.
Amid the confusion of frantic re-branding over the past few months, the generic term Copilot has emerged as the brand for Microsoft’s more general AI assistant outside of Microsoft 365. Think of this as having similar functionality to the public version of ChatGPT, helping users research and generate content based on information available on the internet. Previously called Bing Chat, this product has benefitted from the re-brand, disassociating it from the much-maligned search engine.
Bing Chat Enterprise was launched and quickly re-branded to Copilot Enterprise, offering the same functionality but with protection of enterprise data to those customers with a Microsoft 365 licence.
Now, Copilot Pro has been launched enabling users with a Personal or Family Microsoft 365 licence to access the power of Copilot across these applications in a similar way to the business version, but for a cost of $20 per month.
All clear? There will be a test later…
Is Copilot for Microsoft 365 useful to all sizes of businesses?
Let’s focus on Copilot for Microsoft 365, the newly released product that will be used by most businesses.
Copilot for Microsoft 365 comprises embedded capabilities within each application in the Microsoft 365 suite. It serves as an AI assistant that accompanies you in your day-to-day work, enabling you to complete your tasks faster, more efficiently and with greater effectiveness. Whether you need a summary of emails received while on holiday or to catch up on a meeting you joined midway, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is designed to support you throughout your working day.
The opportunity and the problem with Copilot for Microsoft 365 is that the value that it delivers will be different for each person: we all work in a unique way and so an AI assistant will be of different help to each of us.
The business case for automating a business process is always clear-cut: the process previously took a certain amount of time and human effort. Afterwards these are both reduced by a measurable amount. The cost of delivering this through AI is clear – by comparing the two you have an obvious business case which usually delivers a quick return on investment.
With an AI assistant like Copilot, the savings are equally real, but more subjective. Each individual needs to change the way that they are working to obtain value from Copilot. The user needs to make these changes intentionally and in a personal way.
What this means is that everyone can benefit from Copilot, and the total benefit to the organisation is the sum of these parts. Even very small businesses will benefit from this, as they don’t need the network effect created by larger numbers of users and the data that they produce and consume.
Different sizes of organisation will have different dynamics. Employees of large businesses are more likely to suffer from the information labyrinth, finding it difficult to find information or people across the business – Copilot will help with this. Employees of smaller businesses may spend more time creating content on their own – Copilot can help with this. Users in businesses of all sizes will spend time in meetings or responding to rafts of emails – again, Copilot can definitely help there.
How do I determine the business case for Copilot for Microsoft 365?
Assessing the business case for generative AI tools requires a different approach. Traditionally, when developing an IT solution to a business problem, we start with the business problem, then identify technology that can help. Once a solution using this technology is defined, and the solution is introduced, the business problem is resolved. It’s the classic way of defining and delivering value.
At Advania, we base the business case for the value that will be delivered by a change on our experience of value that has been delivered previously by a similar technology in our own or other organisations. However, in the case of generative AI tools and Copilot for Microsoft 365, we all have limited experience on how users can derive the most value from the tool and drive change within their organisations.
When developing the business case for tools like this, it’s important to begin with Value Experimentation. This involves deploying Copilot for Microsoft 365 to a small number of users within your organisation, supporting their usage, and diligently measuring and monitoring the value they obtain from it. By doing so, we can start building evidence of the value that Copilot can deliver.
The great news with the announcement from Microsoft is that any organisation can now buy as few or as many Copilot for Microsoft 365 licences as they want. Therefore, every organisation can make an affordable investment to explore the value that it can deliver for different teams. By leveraging strong user adoption and change management activities, these users can be guided through the optimal use of Copilot, and the value that they create captured to be extrapolated to a business case for wider investment across the organisation.
How can I learn more about the Copilot for Microsoft 365 release?
Advania is here to help you to learn more about AI transformation, including how you can make the most of Copilot for Microsoft 365.
As discussed in our previous blog, it’s essential to check the security and sharing of your content within SharePoint, in particular, any sensitive data that you store which may be more accessible than you think.
Having a well-structured adoption and change management programme is also essential for successful deployment and ongoing value delivery: we are creating an AI movement, not delivering a project to implement a technology. People and culture need to change in order to obtain full value from the technology investment.
We can help you by:
- Delivering an ‘Art of the Possible’ workshop (funded by Microsoft, subject to eligibility)
- Conducting a Microsoft 365 Copilot Readiness Review: Technical Review
- Remediating issues with document security
- Helping you with Copilot Business Readiness: Adoption Services
- Developing the business case for Copilot
- Designing and implementing your Copilot and content Technical Artchitecture
- Developing Copilot Plugins, GPTs and AI tools
- Advising how to refine your Target Operating Model to get the most value out of AI