Get Ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot

Imagine if every employee in your business had their own personal assistant. Someone who could generate documents such as sales proposals or presentations. This priceless PA is also able to improve or finish the work that you start, draw valuable insights from the data you’re working on, and prioritise your tasks. You can employ them for $30 USD a month and they never take a holiday. Microsoft 365 Copilot, your everyday AI companion, is scheduled to drop on November 1st 2023. We’re on the edge of something big. This is a summary of the potential Copilot holds for business growth and a guide to the things you should do now to get ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot.

 What does Microsoft 365 Copilot do?

Copilot isn’t completely new. Microsoft has developed it in collaboration with several Large Language Models (LLMs) including OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other generative AI tools that automate data analysis and generate visual content. But the value that Microsoft adds to these LLMs with Copilot is an integrated and cross-application AI tool that is embedded into our everyday workspace. Using advanced search technology across external and internal data sources, it can seek, find, combine and deliver insights, documents, actions and visualisations. And it can do it in an instant. It is both reactive — responding to requests or prompts that you give it using natural language — and proactive — making useful enhancements to your work and staying one step ahead of your To Do list. Let’s look at some examples…

 Copilot in Word

You might already be using Microsoft’s Editor tool in Word which helps you improve the grammar, tone and readability of your documents. But with Copilot, you’ll never have to start a document from scratch. Instead, you will start by prompting Copilot to create a draft, sourcing relevant information from other internal or external sources. For example, you could ask it to create a customer proposal using notes from your customer briefing session and your price list.

 Copilot in Excel

Copilot can help you create relevant data visualisations, draw insights from data, map and present the impact of external factors (such as inflation) on your sales or profitability. And you can query the data using natural language.

 Copilot in Outlook

In Microsoft Outlook you will be able to review and summarise new inbox items, prioritise them based on the emails you have previously actioned first, and create a personalised response, for example, “Hi Mia, Thanks for following up on the availability of the report. We are on track to have it ready for you on Friday, as discussed in our meeting. Best, Shelley.” It can also reduce the word count (cut the long story short) and apply the correct tone.

 Copilot in PowerPoint

Sit back and watch while Copilot transforms your document into a slide deck and writes your presentation script. It can also reformat slides and suggest visual improvements and create graphics. All within minutes.

 Copilot in Teams

For Teams users, Copilot will take notes, summarise the key points and distribute agreed actions.

 How much will Microsoft 365 Copilot cost?

To get ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot, you’ll need to meet some technical requirements such as have an Azure Active Directory account that allows you to access the apps that Copilot works with, and either a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license. Copilot will be sold as an Add On to Microsoft licenses. This means you can’t buy it standalone. It’s estimated that Microsoft will charge an additional $30 USD per user for Copilot on top of the existing license fee.

 Three steps to get ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot

  1. Start to work in the cloud today. Any AI tool will need to learn from historical data and user behaviour. Copilot will only be available in the cloud. For companies operating in a Microsoft environment, if you’re not already working in the cloud by default, get used to doing so by working on the cloud version of your application, not the desktop. Or at least make sure that synch is switched On. You should also move all of your databases onto Azure and fully migrate from an on premises environment to Azure.
  2. Consolidate your tech stack. AI tools in 3rd party apps don’t naturally communicate with each other without development and intervention. So, if you want to get ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot from Day One, consolidate now — as much as you can.
  3. Put the governance and controls in place now. Copilot uses advanced search techniques to find answers and create content from across your internal network (as well as external sources). It will only retrieve and use data that the employee has access to. If you have not set up or recently reviewed user permissions, you should do so as a matter of urgency, to set hierarchies and prevent oversharing of sensitive information. Even if you’re not intending to adopt Copilot next year, this is a clear and present vulnerability that you can easily fix.

Copilot from Microsoft is set to be the biggest disruptor to the Microsoft business environment since Windows 10, arguably more so. Fortune will favour the businesses that move first. If you need help or advice to get ready for Copilot, we would be happy to have a thirty-minute discovery call. Please feel free to get in touch.

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