Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365 | Microbyte

Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365

Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot is an Artificial intelligence (AI)-based tool to enhance creativity and time efficiency. Benefits of using this ChatGPT AI technology – Microsoft is an investor in the business – do not stop there. Depending on the version used, the interface generates useful responses based on meaningful inputs.

Microsoft announced Copilot for Microsoft 365 and first introduced it in March 2023. It is a separate paid subscription in addition to the Microsoft 365 license. Copilot is integrated directly into Microsoft 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams, as an enterprise-level solution. This allows business users like yourself and your team to interact with your proprietary business data, shortcut tasks, analyse information in real-time, and boost efficiency levels.

Unlike older tools that use self-contained AI models to generate generic responses, Copilot for Microsoft 365 uses large language models (LLMs) developed from your company’s data. AI responses are based on what the user has access to within company records, such as documents, spreadsheets, business chats, Teams conversations, and more.

Microsoft Copilot/Copilot Pro versus Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot can be envisaged as an AI brain. It can generate clever ideas, produce creatives, and make other suggestions. However, it is only as good as the quality of its inputs.

For this article, there are three distinct versions of Microsoft Copilot:

  • Microsoft Copilot
  • Microsoft Copilot Pro
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365

While our article covers the latter, the differences between the three are outlined below for clarity.

Microsoft Copilot/Copilot Pro

Microsoft Copilot is available in a limited form, for free, to non-enterprise users. Personal users also have the option of the premium Copilot Pro version with a few extra features. Both are accessible through a web browser or as a mobile app for iOS and Android. They work directly inside the Microsoft Edge browser, opening as a separate pane within the browser window. They are also available for Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. 

When prompted, they analyse, read, and summarise documents, create prompts for slides, and produce images. This is done based only on what is shown inside the browser window as a website, or in documents, spreadsheets, and other forms.

Copilot only has access to what is provided to it. It does not link to all your business documents, spreadsheets, business chats, Microsoft Teams discussions, video meetings, etc. This limited window into your business activity reduces its usefulness.

For personal users, the data shared with Copilot is treated confidentially but is less protected. Microsoft advances its data models based on what Microsoft Copilot is given access to.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based product, separate from a Microsoft 365 business license. It is offered on a per-user/seat basis.

This product is integrated across the suite of Microsoft 365 apps; it is not limited to a browser window and mobile app alone.

This Copilot version has access to Microsoft Graph. This grants entry to your company’s tenant, group, and user information to analyse, report, summarise, and more. It becomes like another employee, able to consider what it gleans and offer an informed response based upon it. When prompted, information is only used based on the access level of the user.

Company information is also further protected. It is only used within the organisation and never to train the Copilot AI for outside people or businesses to use. Therefore, advanced business discussions, financial projections, and other confidential information are safely shared with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

How could this benefit your company? Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Analyse an Excel spreadsheet to draw conclusions based on the latest data.
  2. Summarise a recent video meeting for non-attendees.
  3. Produce slideshows based on company data.
  4. Create a first draft of a document based on a collection of confidential company documents and other information sources.
Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365
Benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365

How Copilot Differs from ChatGPT?

Many people are now familiar with ChatGPT. The latest versions, ChatGPT-4 and ChatGPT-4 Turbo, are used in Copilot for Microsoft 365 as part of its AI engine.

How does Copilot differ from ChatGPT? Instead of relying on information from the internet, with little factual verification, Copilot uses its AI and natural language processing capabilities based on what is fed into it. Free users of Copilot can, therefore, analyse a trusted PDF file or a website, for example. 

The Enterprise version of Copilot can access proprietary company information and analyse it using advanced LLM models. Because this information is factually reliable, the responses can be trusted for business use.

What is the Microsoft Copilot Studio?

Microsoft Copilot Studio allows advanced users to create distinct GPT models to customise and expand the Enterprise Copilot experience.

However, enterprise users also benefit from other enhancements including full integration with their company’s data, and the model being available across the entire Microsoft 365 productivity suite.

Next, we look at the benefits of using Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Unleashing Productivity with AI

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is integrated directly inside Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, to name a few.

It can draft a new document based on topics already covered in product specification PDFs, technological discussions, existing spreadsheets, and past Teams meetings.

It is easy to summarise a workbook full of financial information, like Excel, and draw conclusions with Copilot. Natural language prompts allow users to quiz the spreadsheet for information and avoid losing time hunting for answers.

Need more time to prep for an upcoming meeting? Copilot can help you generate a complete slideshow based on written prompts combined with access to relevant files on SharePoint and elsewhere. 

Coordinating meetings on Teams and managing email through Outlook is streamlined. Quick-generated responses allow users to breeze through packed inboxes. Interacting with Teams, setting meetings, and informing attendees is made more efficient.

Summarising meetings, including the opinions of key personnel, saves time, too.

Streamlining Workflows and Collaboration

Enterprise Copilot streamlines workflows and collaboration within the organisation.

Virtual Copilot at Teams Meetings

It acts as a virtual attendee of company meetings within Teams.

It begins with the planned agenda, tracks the progress on points discussed, and confirms agreed-upon action items. Meetings, therefore, stay on course, run efficiently, and conclude with agreements about further steps and who is responsible for actioning them.

Real-time meeting tracking prevents participants from veering off-topic or concluding without agreement on the next steps. 

SharePoint File Access

Copilot accesses SharePoint file storage. This allows it to organise content, improve project management planning, and suggest more efficient workflows.

With the recent introduction of Copilot Studio, it is also now possible to create intelligent conversational agents. These permit improved interactions with SharePoint documents to obtain new insights.

Enhancing Creativity and Content Quality

No one needs to get writer’s block or be devoid of creative ideas when using Copilot. When prompting Copilot for topic ideas with the Word app open, it sifts through the available company information to generate the best content suggestions. Also, during document creation, all of it is analysable for suggested improvements or additions to enhance the final version.  

For PowerPoint presentations, prompts allow Copilot users to generate a new slideshow based on a few initial pointers. Copilot looks at the company’s data, sees what is needed, and gets busy producing the slides. From there, the slides are customisable to jazz up their appearance or to tweak the initial suggestions for the intended audience.

Beyond its creative suggestions and deliverables, Copilot improves the quality by adjusting the writing style, correcting grammar, and rephrasing where necessary. This applies to Word documents and slides.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Companies increasingly use data analysis to discover new insights. 

You can prompt Copilot to highlight the most profitable months on a spreadsheet, altering what is displayed. Surfacing information not directly shown in a column but calculable from other data in the workbook or elsewhere is made possible. For example, calculating revenue per employee and generating a graph, is an easy prompt for Copilot to execute.

The latest industry trend data paired with existing financial reporting is comparable to future projection purposes. Visualising data in new ways is often eye-opening. Revisiting previous business decisions for the next 12 months based on such findings allows companies to adjust plans or pivot away from areas of slowing growth or margin compression.

For users of Power BI, Copilot integration allows you to create Power Automate flows using natural language prompts. Business analytical data is newly presented in interactive reports or customised dashboards that better suit your business needs.

Asking questions about analytical data using Copilot is possible too. Questions relating to automation flows allow newer users to better understand existing ones and adjust them to their needs.

Personalised Assistance and Learning

Microsoft 365 Copilot is highly beneficial for users wishing to improve their productivity, reduce the brain fog from repetitive tasks, and be more creative.

It acts as their ever-present digital personal assistant. Penning emails using smart prompting and responding quicker is made simple. By using AI-powered email filters, users can efficiently manage their inboxes and free up time for other tasks.

For the non-creative type, producing attractive informative slides for a meeting presentation no longer requires hours of frustration.

Copilot also learns from the user. Suggestions become increasingly tailored to their needs and specific to their work. Furthermore, it suggests new ideas or guidance when using app features that users are not as familiar with. This allows users to perform at a higher level with no need to attend an off-site training course, for example.

Security, Compliance, and Future Developments

Copilot for Microsoft 365 relies on advanced security management systems.

Identity management provides appropriate access only. AI use is based on what a user should have access to. Therefore, reports by a junior staffer are not partly based on upper management insights contained in a confidential Word document. 

When data is encrypted using Microsoft Purview Information Protection, Copilot fully respects the usage rights associated with it. Therefore, company data and access to it remain in total compliance and fully secure.

Data storage for Copilot fits within the existing Microsoft 365 service boundary. To avoid the possibility of data leakage, it is never used to provide training to other LLMs outside of the organisation.

AI continues to develop at a rapid pace. As new capabilities are realised, Copilot for Microsoft 365 gets updated to enhance the offering to business users.

Conclusion

Copilot for Microsoft 365 represents a significant step forward in AI development. Although some companies may have doubts about the use of artificial intelligence, the advantages it offers are considerable. Do you wish to get left behind when your competitors are already onboard?

Its inclusion across the suite of Microsoft 365 apps allows the use of natural language prompts and receives company-specific answers using available information. Users can automate workflows, breeze through backlogged emails, create newly written drafts, evaluate Excel spreadsheets for insights, and produce better slideshows.

Schedule a demo with Microbyte to see how Copilot for Microsoft 365 can streamline your organisation. It is capable of so much more than you can imagine. 

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