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Microsoft 365 Copilot is finally here—and with it, the promise of turbocharged productivity across your business.
But there’s an elephant in the room. A $30 sized elephant—the price tag per user, per month.
Unlike some other generative AI tools on the market, Microsoft has made the decision to sell Copilot as an add-on feature for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium customers.
So the big question. Is it worth it?
Copilot introduces a fully integrated AI experience into the M365 apps you use every day.
By combining the power of Large Language Models (LLMs) with your organisation’s data in the Microsoft Graph, Microsoft 365 Copilot provides a productivity hub specific to your business, working for your users to generate content in your context.
It can tap into your business information, including your calendar, emails, chats, documents, and meetings, and provide answers and assistance unique to your users’ prompts.
It can summarise meetings in Teams, create draft content in Word, prioritise and generate responses to the most important messages in Outlook, and integrate with other M365 apps to create project plans, presentations, and even creative ideas on the fly.
With Copilot (as with every business tool), you get out of it what you put in.
The technology has the potential to be a gamechanger for your productivity. By removing the drudgery of menial tasks – recapping project actions, creating draft emails and proposals, even ‘attending’ meetings and reporting back – it can free up valuable capacity and focus your team on more valuable work.
In terms of whether it’s worth the $30 per user cost, just ask – how much could that extra time mean for my business – and my people?
In our opinion, the many hours that Copilot can recoup far outweighs its price tag.
At face value, $30 per user (or roughly £25) could seem steep, but some quick calculations reveal a different story.
Let’s take someone working in an HR role. According to Reed, the average HR salary in the UK in 2023 is around £40,000 – or roughly £20 per hour.
For Copilot to prove it’s worth, it would need to save this M365 user just over one hour per month.
Let’s say this individual spends six hours per month writing job descriptions. By using Copilot to create initial drafts from previous job descriptions and your company data, they halve the time it takes to get the descriptions prepared.
That’s three hours (or £60 in salary) saved, which could be spent on more strategic HR activity.
Expand that out across their entire working month, across your full HR team – or your entire business – and that’s a lot of extra time. Time that could be used to elevate the skills of your entire workforce, and even free up enough capacity to reduce the need to recruit.
Cost analysis aside, M365 Copilot has the potential to have a transformative impact on employee satisfaction.
In a survey of early access users, Microsoft uncovered some startling opinions.
70% of users said that Copilot made them more productive.
68% said that it improved the quality of their work.
67% said Copilot allowed them to focus on more important activities.
77% said they wouldn’t want to give it up.
With admin reduced, and access to the very best tools to do their jobs, employees are using Copilot to supercharge their skills and progress in their roles faster.
If you’re serious about putting AI to the test with Copilot it’s critical that you start by reviewing your cyber and data security.
Because M365 Copilot integrates with the apps your team uses every day, it will draw on any data it can from the Microsoft Graph – and that means any data your users have permission to access (even if they don’t realise it.) Before deployment it’s important to lock down these permissions, so the AI doesn’t draw through anything your employees shouldn’t see.
The good news is, unlike other generative AI platforms on the market, M365 Copilot inherits all of your security, compliance and privacy policies, and retains any data you introduce to it within your platforms. So once your permissions are resolved, it’s safe and secure to use.
Take a strategic approach to rollout by starting with a proof of concept trial.
Using your M365 and Teams usage reports, learn which of your departments uses each app the most (for example your finance team and Excel), and identify an area of the business that could benefit most from Copilot to roll it out and assess ROI.
When you have a group of super users who have hammer-tested its capabilities, and have developed protocols and use cases that could support your wider business, you’ll get a greater understanding of its potential impact across your organisation.
You may find that not all of your team will get value from the $30 license fee after all. But it’s more likely that you’ll find that for many others, Copilot will repay itself over, and over again.