What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft is jumping aboard the AI train. Microsoft 365 CoPilot is a new AI tool that’s designed to boost you and your team’s productivity (as well as do some pretty nifty other things).

But how exactly does it work? Why would you want it? If you do want it, how do you get it?

Let’s take a dive into Microsoft CoPilot. Because there are a few things you might need to do before it arrives later in 2023:

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft 365 CoPilot combines Large Language Models (similar to ChatGPT) with the business data in your Microsoft 365 apps and the Microsoft Graph.

It is designed to improve productivity and even improve skills across your organisation by working alongside you every day in Word, Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint, and Teams. Think Clippy on steroids.

Why would you want Microsoft Copilot?

1) Productivity

The word “productivity” gets thrown around a lot. But here are a couple of concrete examples Microsoft has provided for how CoPilot might help your team on a daily basis:

  • In Outlook, it might summarise a lengthy email conversation for you or instantly draft your likely replies on a whole range of subjects.
  • In Teams, it might summarise who is saying what during a meeting and even point out the key points of agreement and disagreement while they’re still speaking.
  • In Powerpoint, you can add data from that spreadsheet you made a month ago with a simple natural language command.

2) Creativity

There are quite a few downsides to just having a Large Language Model like ChatGPT write all your communications for you.

But when it comes to curing writer’s block, CoPilot could easily create a draft for you to start from. At least then you’re not sitting looking at a blank screen wondering where to start.

Maybe it’ll be pretty far from perfect. Yet you could still save hours of time coming up with ideas in the first place.

3) Knowledge

Everything your team does in Teams apps will add to CoPilot’s “understanding” of the best way to help you.

You’ll have easy access to the vast store of data your business creates every day. You can then leverage the insights that data gives you.

4) The new Business Chat

This is a pretty exciting feature. Business Chat can, in theory, execute some pretty complex time-saving commands given in natural speech.

Think of how much time you could save by simply telling CoPilot to “email everyone a summary of the new marketing strategy from the morning meeting”.

It has access to all of the apps you use, so it’ll have all the data in your chat conversations, details from meetings, and everything in every email chain to refer to.

5) Get better at the apps

A large proportion of people don’t exploit the full functionality of the Microsoft apps they use. Many are simply unaware of what a given app can do. Others don’t know how to make it do things.

What if you could create a highly impressive presentation or analyse huge reams of data with just a command in natural language? With CoPilot, it sounds like might be possible.

How to get Microsoft 365 Copilot

There are a few things you’ll need in order to be able to get Microsoft’s new AI helper:

  1. An Enterprise E3 or E5 or a Business Standard or Premium account
  2. Be on the current channel or monthly enterprise channel

As long as you have those, it’s just a matter of going into your admin portal and activating it.

As of summer 2023, Microsoft has suggested it will cost around £30 per user and will be released in Q4 2023.

CoPilot step one – set up good data governance

However, there is one massive elephant in the room when it comes to Large Language Models like Chat GPT. That’s the data they learn from.

This makes good data governance within your organisation critical if you are planning to use CoPilot.

Of course, data governance is vital anyway. But CoPilot is going to be able to search across email chains, Teams, and all your documents.

This means your team members will be able to ask all kinds of questions and get accurate answers. For example:

  • What salary do other colleagues earn? How much does my boss earn?
  • Which client is the most profitable?
  • What are the plans for expansion or reduction of a given team?

On the plus side, CoPilot will inherit all the existing permissions and policies within your 365 tenant. You can set up different user groups and data won’t leak across them.

Microsoft also won’t be “training” the AI on your data. It’s already trained.

Start preparing for Microsoft’s new Large Language Model

Do you have your Microsoft 365 set up to deliver the best value for money for your organisation? Is your data governance up to scratch?

Let’s talk. Dial A Geek has already helped over 900 businesses in Bristol and the UK get the best from their tech.

Arrange a cost and commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today to talk about what you want your tech to do for you.