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Maximizing Business Efficiency with Microsoft Copilot: What You Need to Know

On January 15, 2024, Microsoft made a significant announcement that will undoubtedly pique the interest of small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners.

Yusuf Mehdi, Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, revealed a game-changing update regarding Microsoft Copilot. The most notable change? The removal of the previous requirement for a minimum purchase of 300 Copilot licenses, offers a fresh start to businesses eager to embrace this innovative tool.

But what exactly are the business benefits of using Microsoft Copilot, and how does Microsoft plan to integrate it into its applications? In this blog post, we will explore these questions and provide valuable insights for SMB owners contemplating the adoption of Copilot.


The Business Benefits of Microsoft Copilot


Microsoft Copilot holds the promise of transforming the way employees work and collaborate within your organization. Assuming it lives up to its potential, here are some key advantages:

  1.  Enhanced Efficiency: Copilot empowers employees to jump-start various projects, such as emails, presentations, reports, and data visualizations, with AI-generated initial drafts. This automation eliminates the need for starting from scratch, saving valuable time and effort in the process.

  2. Skill Development: By leveraging Copilot, employees can quickly move beyond the initial draft phase to refining and iterating, ultimately fostering skill development and creativity.

  3. Enterprise-Specific Data: Copilot for Microsoft 365 takes advantage of internally generated data from emails, documents, calendars, contacts, and more. This ensures that projects are initiated with relevant, enterprise-specific assets, offering a competitive edge. For instance, an AI trained on your organization's data will make more informed decisions compared to one relying solely on internet data.

Integration into Microsoft Applications

Microsoft has seamlessly integrated Copilot into the entire suite of Microsoft 365 applications, making it readily available to users when needed. Whether you're working on a Word document, reading an email in Outlook, analyzing data in Excel, or crafting a presentation in PowerPoint, Copilot's generative AI capabilities are there to assist. Additionally, Microsoft introduced Copilot capabilities to the Microsoft 365 mobile app, providing flexibility for users on the go.

Examples of Copilot Commands:

  • In Word, Copilot can draft project proposals, refine paragraphs, and create drafts based on your content.
  • In Excel, it can break down data, create tables, and project variable impacts.
  • In PowerPoint, Copilot can generate presentations and reformat content with ease.
  • In Outlook, it can summarize emails, draft responses, and enhance professionalism.
  • In Microsoft 365 Chat, Copilot can consolidate information, provide project updates, and generate planning overviews.

Don't Rush to Embrace Copilot Without Thought

While the removal of the 300-license minimum requirement is enticing, businesses should approach the adoption of Copilot with careful consideration. Here are some crucial questions to ask before diving in:

  1. Define Objectives: What specific advantages do you expect to gain from Copilot, and which features are most relevant to your business?

  2. Measure Impact: How will you measure the impact of Copilot on user productivity to ensure that the licensing investment is justified?

  3. User Selection: Which user accounts within your organization are best suited to utilize Copilot, and for what tasks? As Copilot is currently only priced as an annual subscription in Australia paid full and at approx $540 ex GST a year do all your employees need a Copilot license today (we expect this to become a monthly subscription in the coming months, but at launch it can only be acquired as annual upfront license).

  4. Tenant Readiness: Is your tenant prepared to deploy Copilot? Ensure that user data is appropriately stored, sharing practices are aligned, and sensitivity labels are in place to safeguard confidential information. Failure to do this will result in all data potentially being exposed to the wrong employees (i.e. would you like your payroll data exposed to your receptionist? )

Content Management and Data Governance

Microsoft 365 Copilot relies on your existing permissions and policies, emphasizing the importance of strong content management practices. Content oversharing is a significant risk, so ensure that your data governance practices are robust to prevent unintentional data exposure.

Conclusion

Microsoft Copilot holds immense potential for businesses offering enhanced efficiency, skill development, and enterprise-specific advantages. However, you should approach its adoption thoughtfully, addressing key considerations and ensuring content management and data governance are in place (you don't want employees seeing or discovering things they should not). With careful planning, Copilot can become a valuable asset in your business's quest for improved productivity and innovation.