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Embrace The Future of AI: An Introduction to Microsoft’s Copilot for M365 

January 15th 2024 was a red letter day for Microsoft 365 users worldwide when Microsoft announced a suite of new products in the Copilot family and the wider availability of Copilot to all businesses with appropriate licenses.

AI-powered tools are in high demand from individuals and organisations, so the news that all M365 business and enterprise users can now get their hands on Microsoft and OpenAI’s AI-powered solution with no minimum user count was exceptionally well-received.  

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Copilot, why we’re excited about it and how to make it work in your organisation. 

But first, the news. Here are the new details of the announcements on January 15th: 

  • Copilot for M365 – Copilot integration into M365 apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Available to Office 365 E3/E5 and M365 E3/E5/Business Premium/Business Standard subscribers as an add-on licence (it was previously only available to enterprise customers with a 300-seat minimum commitment) 
  • Copilot Pro – Premium AI power available to individual and family subscribers 

Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers several features unavailable in Copilot Pro, including Teams integration, Microsoft Graph grounding and enterprise-level data protection. 

If you already partner with Doherty for your M365 setup, you can purchase Copilot for M365 directly from us. Alternatively, if you’re a new customer, we can set you up on Copilot immediately. 

But why should you? Let’s dive deeper into Copilot for M365. 

Why We’re Excited About Copilot for Microsoft 365 

Copilot is the result of a partnership between Microsoft and ChatGPT originator OpenAI.  

Copilot infuses AI into the Microsoft solutions you use every day (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams and Outlook), so individuals and organisations can reap the rewards (1): 

  • Productivity – 70% of early Copilot adopters said it made them more productive, while 68% said it improved the quality of their work 
  • Speed – In a series of searching, writing and summarising tasks, Copilot users were 29% faster than they were before Copilot 
  • Time – Copilot users save an average of 1.2 hours per week thanks to this solution 

We’re always thinking about data security and compliance. So, it’s good to know that Copilot’s data protection policies reduce the risks of using AI with your data, while Microsoft’s legal protection covers the copyright of your output. 

Unsurprisingly, 77% of initial Copilot users said they wouldn’t want to give it up. 

What Does Copilot Do? 

Think of Copilot as your assistant, but not like one you’ve ever worked with before. Copilot is available 24/7, incorporated seamlessly into your favourite M365 apps, with access to everything you do (2). 

Here are just three ways in which Copilot makes you more effective in your everyday work: 

  • Create – Copilot kickstarts your creative process, delivering first drafts of written content and presentations with a few simple prompts 
  • Summarise – Copilot can produce a summary of your Teams meetings, including key discussion points and action items 
  • Analyse – Working with Excel, Copilot can spot trends and provide immediate data visualisation 

Another great feature of Copilot is Business Chat. This AI-powered feature works across all your M365 apps simultaneously, analysing your data and presenting a simple version back for you to digest. For example, you could ask Business Chat, ‘Tell me everything about how we updated our marketing strategy today.’ The AI will then scour your data, from your meetings, emails, chats, documents and more, then present a status update that answers your question simply yet comprehensively. What’s more, it completes this task in seconds. 

Who Needs Copilot and How Do We Recommend Rolling It Out? 

If you’re itching to get started with Copilot in your organisation, you’re not the only one. But first, you should evaluate whether this new solution is right for you.  

Copilot for M365 is currently priced at £24 per user per month on a 1-year contract. To determine whether it’s worth the outlay, consider what time common tasks like writing meeting minutes, capturing tasks and drafting documents takes (among others).  We think that the return on investment in speeding up those tasks and spending time on adding value elsewhere is clear. 

If you’re still assessing the return on investment, consider rolling Copilot for M365 out to key stakeholders who will benefit most from the solution. These people can be the test cases and act as Copilot ambassadors within your organisation. When you start to see tangible benefits from Copilot, start thinking of a wider adoption strategy.  

What Else Should I Think About When Researching or Adopting Copilot? 

As with all your technology, security, compliance and privacy are paramount. As part of Microsoft 365, Copilot is equipped with the security measures you already know, including two-factor authentication. 

You also need to think about data leakage. Copilot is designed to protect your organisation, group and individual data, preventing information from leaking externally or across user groups. However, you should also consider what data in your organisation you wouldn’t expose to AI, such as confidential customer data, if you hold any. 

Finally, as Copilot works primarily on your own organisational data, you need to consider which data you will use with the AI to gain the most value. Is it all in the right place, complete and correctly labelled? Giving Copilot for M365 real-time access to your data can unlock new levels of productivity, but you need to do it in the right way. 

Conclusion 

We’re incredibly excited to start working with Copilot for M365 and rolling it out to our clients. Copilot turns the M365 apps you use every day into AI-powered productivity machines. The gains in time and quality that Copilot delivers could be game-changing for your organisation. The potential of Copilot is enormous. 

If you’re eager to get started with Copilot, it’s time to talk to Doherty Associates.  

We can help you adopt Copilot for M365 in your business, ensuring your data is secure and well-organised, so you can work safely and realise the highest possible ROI. 

We’re currently helping a growing number of our clients devise Copilot readiness strategies to get the most from Copilot for M365. If you want to join them, get in touch today

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