Topics in this article

AI and AIOps
Collaboration and CX
Employee experience

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered companion designed to integrate seamlessly with popular Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams. Leveraging advanced language models and your organizational data, it acts as your digital assistant, enhancing your creativity and boosting your productivity.

Think of it as your digital work companion, always ready to provide support, automate mundane tasks and even give you suggestions when you’re all out of ideas.

5 benefits of Copilot

  1. Enhanced creativity: Copilot sparks innovation by generating ideas and facilitating brainstorming. It can even draft creative content, from computer code and video scripts to musical pieces, emails and letters.
  2. Boosted productivity: Copilot can automate repetitive tasks and summarize lengthy documents to help you manage your time.
  3. Training and upskilling: Get real-time guidance and suggestions to improve your expertise in your chosen field.
  4. Easy integration and use: Copilot is integrated with your existing Microsoft 365 apps, eliminating the need to learn new tools or workflows. So, it is aligned with your familiar work environment.
  5. Enterprise-grade security: Microsoft prioritizes data privacy and security. So, you can rest assured that Copilot is built on a secure foundation and adheres to strict compliance regulations to keep your data safe.

5 considerations for rolling out Microsoft Copilot

In January 2024, Microsoft removed the 300-seat minimum for Copilot for Microsoft 365, which currently costs USD 30 per user per month. While its many features make Copilot an attractive choice, it’s crucial to consider a few factors before implementing it across your organization.

1. Licensing and technical requirements

First, you need the necessary licenses: Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3 or E5, or Microsoft 365 E3 or E5.

Additionally, you must meet specific technical requirements. Copilot users should also be on the Current Channel or Monthly Enterprise Channel for Microsoft 365 apps to access Copilot for desktop clients.

2. Security, privacy and compliance

Gain a solid understanding of how Copilot handles data processing and storage. Address regulatory and compliance concerns, implement robust cybersecurity and conduct a comprehensive security audit to establish access controls and policies for archiving and deleting outdated data.

In addition, implementing industry-standard security principles will enhance Copilot’s security by ensuring that the data it has access to remains within the boundaries of your corporate environment. Because Copilot uses the same security principles as the rest of Microsoft 365, such as sensitivity tagging and data-protection policies, there is no need to embark on another data security project before deploying Copilot if your data security is already correctly implemented.

Copilot only shows each user the data they are supposed to see. It will comb only through the documents, chats, email and meetings that a given user has access to, in order to provide results to this particular user. This eliminates data oversharing within the organization.

3. Data residency

Be mindful of where Copilot handles and stores data, especially if your organization has specific data-residency requirements. Right now, data traffic from the European Union (EU) stays within the region when processed by Copilot.

If it’s global traffic, you have the flexibility to direct it to the EU or other specified regions. This way, you ensure that Copilot aligns seamlessly with your organization’s data management and compliance needs. (Learn more about data, privacy and security for Copilot.)

4. Change management and user adoption

Prepare for potential shifts in work patterns and expectations as you introduce Copilot. To make this transition as smooth as possible, you’ll need to communicate the availability of Copilot, highlight its benefits, foster user adoption and establish groups of individuals to share tips and suggestions on using the tool. Encourage discussions on what techniques are effective and what types of prompts are useful, and share insights on successful implementations.

Kickstart a pilot deployment and bring in users from various departments. This allows you to gather valuable feedback and refine the rollout based on their insights. Establish strong processes for collecting ongoing user feedback to make Copilot more effective and relevant to your work environment.

Deploy Copilot intelligently by taking a phased approach instead of rolling it out to everyone at once. Begin by identifying the personas that will benefit the most from Copilot, and start with targeted deployment to these specific groups. This approach enables you to gather additional feedback and make adjustments before gradually deploying Copilot to the rest of the workforce. With a phased approach, you can ensure a smoother transition and maximize the impact of Copilot across your organization.

5. Ethical considerations

Lastly, you’ll need to keep Copilot on the right track with its suggestions. Given its training on vast datasets, you must be proactive in addressing potential biases. Introduce safeguards to steer clear of any form of discrimination or unfair outcomes.

Copilot taps into your individual user data through Microsoft Graph, which naturally raises concerns about potential misuse or leaks. So, have robust data governance and access controls firmly in place.

And, of course, clear communication is key. Keep everyone in your organization in the loop about exactly what their data is being used and for what purpose. Transparency builds trust!

Contemplating Copilot? We’re here to guide you

AI is exciting and many organizations want to move fast on this, but the last thing you want is to risk the security of your data. We therefore recommend that you take a measured approach and plan carefully before you jump in.

We can assist your organization with a Microsoft 365 Copilot rollout so you can harness the full potential of this innovative tool.

Register for our Copilot Workshop and let us guide you through a successful Microsoft 365 Copilot rollout.
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