Update - 22nd September 2023
Microsoft has unveiled brand new details regarding Microsoft Copilot from the Surface event held on 21st September 2023.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be Generally Available to purchase on 1st November 2023. There is a 300-seat minimum purchase and will be initially available to Enterprise Agreement customers. Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available to customers on CSP in the near future but as of yet, there is no date for this. Microsoft 365 Copilot will cost $30 per user per month with GBP pricing coming soon in time for 1st November.
Microsoft Copilot is the overall family brand of Copilot, but also your first opportunity to enjoy the benefits of Copilot – for free! In a Windows 11 update coming 26th September 2023, Microsoft Copilot will be rolled out. Please note, this is not Microsoft 365 Copilot – more the Copilot in Windows 11. Microsoft Copilot is Bing Chat + GPT Large Language Model and built directly into Windows 11.
Softcat will continue to provide up to date information and support to the Microsoft channel and our customers. If you have any questions, please contact your Softcat Account Manager.
Tired of wasting time and money on repeatable tasks and frequently asked questions? Microsoft 365 Copilot is designed to help people reduce the time they currently spend on inefficient processes and repetitive workloads and encourages the use of AI as a cost-effective solution for your business.
In this blog post, we will introduce what Microsoft 365 Copilot is, provide a summary of how it works and discuss pricing and licensing. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of how Microsoft 365 Copilot can be introduced into your organisation and how it can help your business recognise its capabilities. At Softcat, we understand the importance of efficient IT solutions and are proud to share our expertise of Microsoft 365 Copilot as part of our wider Microsoft knowledge.
What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
By providing real-time support and guidance as a dedicated admin assistant, Microsoft 365 Copilot ensures that users can work efficiently and effectively without interruptions, across Microsoft 365 Apps such as Teams, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Using natural language prompts, an end user can ask Copilot to draft a document in Word or check if a slide deck is accessible in PowerPoint.
As an example, Copilot can take a Word document and turn it into a 10-slide presentation in PowerPoint, and then draft an email in Outlook, based on that presentation. Microsoft has a playlist of videos displaying the feature mix across the Microsoft 365 App stack here.
Using Copilot in Teams
You might have seen the term “Copilot in Microsoft Teams.” This is where Copilot can enhance an end user’s experience of Microsoft Teams. For example, Microsoft Teams users can access Copilot features during calls and within chat messages. An end user can ask Copilot to organise the discussion topics of a call and to summarise the key actions, so everyone on the call is engaged and not stuck writing separate notes and tasks.
Copilot in Microsoft Teams is separate to Microsoft Teams Premium, which is currently available. Teams Premium provides features such as virtual green rooms, meeting compliancy protection, intelligent recap and more. Teams Premium is available at an additional cost and requires a Microsoft Teams license as a base. Copilot in Microsoft Teams is powered by Microsoft 365 Copilot and does not rely on a user being licensed with Microsoft Teams Premium. That being said Teams Premium and Microsoft 365 Copilot do work well together.
To find out more, please visit the Microsoft Learn page here. Microsoft Teams Premium has a 30% off introductory promo ending Sunday 31 December 2023, so please get in touch with your Softcat Account Manager to find out more!
How does Copilot work?
Microsoft 365 Copilot provides personalised assistance across Microsoft 365 Apps. It works by analysing individual end user behaviour and preferences, using natural language processing to understand end user queries and combines this with data found across the Microsoft Graph. If you’re new to the Microsoft Graph, at a high level it is the gateway to your data and intelligence in Microsoft 365. Files, Exchange mailboxes, SharePoint sites, Entra ID’s, Intune and more all make up the Microsoft Graph. With this data, Microsoft 365 Copilot can find and summarise documents quickly, help users prepare for their meetings and create content.
It’s important to remember, Copilot does not do your job for you but rather supports you to efficiently be your best at work. If we look back at the example above where Copilot can create a presentation based on a Word document, Copilot will ask the end user for guidance regarding what has been AI-assisted/AI-created. Is the tone correct? Could a slide be reorganised? Does it include all the relevant information to the audience? This is the difference between Microsoft 365 Copilot and an input/output reasoning AI such as Bing Chat Enterprise.
Bing Chat Enterprise
There are some solutions available before an organisation jumps right into Microsoft 365 Copilot. Bing Chat has been available on Bing.co.uk since March 2023 and has changed the way we interact with a search engine. A user can ask Bing Chat anything and the AI tool will scan multiple sources of information to quickly construct a natural language answer for the user, with details of the sources used. Bing Chat is available for free to all users. Bing Chat Enterprise is the ‘business version’ of Bing Chat. One crucial difference between Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise is that the latter comes with Commercial Data Protection built in. Bing Chat Enterprise ensures your data does not leave your Microsoft tenant; data is not seen by Microsoft, nor is it used to train the Large Language Models (LLM).
Bing Chat Enterprise is included in the Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Business Premium, M365 E3 and M365 E5 plans. Bing Chat Enterprise has rolled out as Generally Available from late-August and will be switched on by default, by Microsoft.
A $5/u/m license is coming soon later this year for Microsoft 365 users who subscribe to a plan besides the four listed above. For a breakdown of the feature mix between Bing Chat, Bing Chat Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Copilot, please see this link.
Pricing, Licensing and Next Steps
Microsoft is yet to share the release date for Microsoft 365 Copilot. We are aware that Microsoft 365 Copilot will be priced at $30/u/m. At Softcat we support optimised adoption and higher usage of Microsoft products, helping your business with your return on investment. Whilst costings can be justified, please get in touch with your Softcat Account Manager as Microsoft 365 Copilot is a data-centric tool and the healthiness of your tenancy is paramount to security, compliance, and your success in using Copilot.
To find out more about Softcat’s Microsoft capabilities please visit our dedicated Microsoft page on our website.