Microsoft has already released copilots for many business needs, and more are on the way. Are you ready for them? In this first blog of our Get Ready for Copilot Series, we help you think strategically about your Microsoft Copilot rollout so you can invest in the tools that will unlock the most value for your people and your business.
Planning your Microsoft Copilot rollout is essential for unlocking the tremendous potential of this suite of large language model (LLM) AI tools. In fact, Microsoft users have already been enjoying Copilot’s centralized AI approach, which allows them to perform tasks like:
- Using business data for ChatGPT-like queries more safely (Bing Chat Enterprise).
- Summarizing information across all Microsoft folders, emails and documents (Microsoft 365 Chat).
- Obtaining role-based sales data and automating sales tasks (Microsoft Sales Copilot).
- Sharing and getting open-source code for faster software development (GitHub Copilot).
Now, imagine the future — only months away — when Microsoft deploys Copilot’s AI capabilities across all its offerings, from Windows and Microsoft 365 to Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365. If your business is a Microsoft shop, the opportunities are staggering.
However, not all businesses will need every Copilot. Some may not be culturally, financially or technologically ready to invest in Copilot or other generative AI functionalities at a large scale. You need to develop a readiness strategy to make the best decision.
In this blog, we’ll consider the elements that contribute to a strategic rollout plan. We’ll start by considering how to assess which Copilot products you need in your organization. Then, we’ll consider the upfront costs of each solution before briefly discussing the other elements you need to plan for: technology and data investments and, most importantly, the human element.
Determine Your Needs
Before you consider specific Copilot solutions, you should first assess any problems you currently experience with your Microsoft use. Perhaps you have latency challenges, or your help desk spends a lot of time answering questions about a particular app. Microsoft Copilot may help with issues like these. For example:
- Configure your network infrastructure properly to help reduce latency.
- Move your data to the cloud to allow Copilot to access that information and improve the quality of your Copilot output.
- Configure your various security and permissions settings to reduce the chances of “oversharing” sensitive information.
Together, these changes will not only improve overall performance but also empower you to perform valuable tasks, such as quickly building powerful, low-latency, smart chatbots using the Power Virtual Agent Copilot.
Another required step is to make sure everyone in your organization aligns with your overall business goals and strategy, as well as all the processes required to achieve them.
Maybe you’ve identified important customer satisfaction metrics for maintaining your competitive advantage. When leaders align with that goal, it will be easier for them to see the value of investing in copilots that will smooth the processes and interactions driving that metric.
Finally, note not every employee needs every Copilot. It’s important your readiness strategy identifies primary audiences, use cases, and groups that will benefit the most. In addition, some Copilot products are available on a per-user/per-month basis. You don’t want to pay for unneeded seats. At the same time, some products have minimum-seat requirements, so you may not be eligible if you do not have enough potential users.
Microsoft Copilot Must-Haves
With these goals in mind, you can begin analyzing copilots regarding their impact. Given the importance of cybersecurity, Microsoft Security Copilot is a great place to start.
Microsoft Security Copilot uses insights and data from across your various security applications to analyze your company’s security posture, identify risks, determine mitigation steps, and respond more quickly to security incidents. In addition, Security Copilot records every activity to ensure full transparency and solid audit trails throughout the event response, restoration, and mitigation process.
From there, it makes sense to consider which copilots will touch the biggest number of eligible employees.
At the highest level, Windows Copilot delivers centralized AI assistance over the entire Windows Operating System, making it easier for employees to answer questions, find what they need using NLP, change desktop configuration, and become more efficient and effective with their desktop applications.
Next, when it’s available on November 1, 2023, Microsoft 365 Copilot will be embedded within Microsoft’s bread-and-butter applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, OneDrive and Outlook. Employees can access it within these apps to build or modify spreadsheets, compose emails, create or edit presentations, and collaborate more efficiently than ever before. And they will not only perform these functions faster, but their outputs will be high quality and automatically integrate relevant knowledge and information found across your organization’s vast sources of information.
Microsoft 365 users also have access to Microsoft 365 Chat. It integrates the Microsoft 365 apps with the information in your meetings, emails and documents. In other words, those spreadsheets, emails and presentations employees create will draw on your actual business data, allowing users to quickly produce specific results — all with natural-language prompts.
Bing Chat Enterprise will also be popular for many employees. It’s built on the same LLM as ChatGPT and operates similarly, but it has advantages over that well-known tool.
Bing Chat Enterprise’s most significant advantage is that it adheres to the Commercial Data Protection mandate, which ensures models don’t train on protected data, prompts and responses. Employees can use natural language to perform tasks without fear that the information entered in chat prompts will go outside the organization. Bing Chat Enterprise also:
- Relies solely on organizational content indexed by Microsoft 365 within Microsoft 365’s compliance boundary and network.
- Never writes data outside the user’s home region.
- Provides personalized and contextually relevant content tailored to each user’s preferences.
Find the Right Copilots for Strategic Needs
Once you determine the best Copilot solutions to serve the organization at large, you can start considering which can meet your business’s unique needs. For example:
Microsoft Sales Copilot
Sales-heavy organizations will benefit from Microsoft Sales Copilot. Previously known as Microsoft Viva Sales, it uses the Microsoft data found in your Dynamics 365 or Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) application to automate multiple common sales tasks, summarize meetings, and generate contextualized emails directly from within your CRM, Outlook, or MS Teams.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot
Do you need to take your customer insights to the next level? Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot combines AI with CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities, making automating sales and marketing tasks easier.
Organizations that rely heavily on internal software development teams should consider GitHub Copilot. GitHub is a software development platform that allows developers to store, manage and share their code. Adding Copilot means developers can quickly scan billions of lines of code to speed code development and to improve code quality.
Microsoft Power Platform Copilot
Organizations that rely heavily on citizen developers to create apps or chatbots will find value in Microsoft Power Platform Copilot. Copilot-enabled tools like Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents will more quickly deliver higher quality low-code/no-code solutions, speeding up onboarding citizen developers in your organization while greatly reducing the time they need to become comfortable with these tools.
Microsoft Copilot Dollars and Cents
Costs are always a part of business strategy. While Microsoft has not yet finalized pricing for every Copilot, the available pricing sheds light on the importance of knowing exactly which copilots you need.
Below is the breakdown of the currently available costs:
- Microsoft 365 Copilot/Microsoft 365 Chat: $30/month/user, 300-seat minimum.
- Bing Chat Enterprise: $5/month/user (when used à la carte, but free with certain Microsoft licenses).
- Microsoft Sales Copilot: $40/month/user (when used à la carte, but free with certain Microsoft licenses).
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot: $30/month/user. (when used à la carte, but free with certain Microsoft licenses).
- GitHub Copilot: $19/month/user.
As you can see, your Microsoft license may include several copilots, but you still need to carefully evaluate your costs — weighed against your potential gains — as part of your readiness strategy.
In terms of reducing costs, some research documents the impacts AI technologies have can vary by function. For example, supply chain management operations are seeing the greatest cost reductions overall, while service and product development functions have the highest percentages of cost reductions that exceed 20 percent.
In terms of gains, you should consider the value of speeding content production, analyzing information, or improving processes. How valuable are friction-free customer interactions, faster billing, and receivables processing? What is the value of faster, easier employee onboarding? How does Copilot fit into your overall business strategy?
Answering questions like these will help determine how long it will take to recover your Microsoft Copilot costs, Copilot’s potential for avoiding future costs, and the costs of not embracing AI tools at a time when many competitors already have.
Anticipate Ongoing Costs and Needs for Your Microsoft Copilot Rollout
Microsoft has a number of recommendations to help you optimize the value of your Copilot investment. We mention them briefly here but will take deeper dives into these recommendations in future Get Ready for Microsoft Copilot blogs.
Licensing, Technology and Data
Obviously, Microsoft Copilot is only available to Microsoft customers — but not all Microsoft customers. For Microsoft 365 Copilot, only customers holding enterprise licenses (Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 E5) are eligible, and it has a 300-seat minimum requirement. Another significant requirement is that your organization also must have Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensing. If you are a smaller organization but believe your business would gain significantly from Copilot, make upgrading your license part of your readiness strategy.
You also must have an Azure Active Directory account, and Microsoft recommends using its network connectivity principles for M365. Identify any technical work needed to adapt these principles, and add that work to your requirements and costs.
Regarding data, it must be in the Cloud to optimize your Copilot benefits. But it’s not enough to just move it there — you must pre-process and clean your data first. That’s because Copilot’s AI features demand complete, consistent, concise, and reliable data.
The bottom line: A lot of analysis of business needs, licensing and data requirements must happen as you develop your readiness strategy for a smooth Microsoft Copilot rollout.
Microsoft Copilot will have a big impact on your people — and the world of AI overall comes with misperceptions that could hinder adoption and harm your ability to achieve your strategy’s objectives.
That’s why your readiness strategy should include an AI literacy plan addressing Microsoft Copilot as well as the bigger AI picture. A formal adoption and change management plan will not only help employees embrace Copilot tools but also help you monitor the pace of adoption within the company.
Other formal structures like a Microsoft Copilot center of excellence (CoE) and office hours — time set aside specifically for addressing Microsoft Copilot questions — can help with adoption and monitoring.
Preparing Microsoft Copilot rollout strategy is a lot of work, but the effort will be worth it. In future blogs, we’ll dive deeper into the data and people aspects of Microsoft Copilot. Meanwhile, we hope this blog has helped you start thinking about the various aspects of developing a Copilot readiness strategy so you can start planning now for Microsoft Copilot success.