How can you get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365?

How can you get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365?

Copilot for Microsoft 365, an artificial intelligence (AI) companion, was initially launched by Microsoft in November last year, available for organisations prepared to licence a minimum of 300 users. This licence requirement meant Copilot was out of reach for many small or medium-sized businesses – but this has now changed. Find out more about how organisations of all sizes can get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365 and what you need to do to prepare in this blog.


In an era where technology is reshaping the workplace and driving business strategy with increasing impact, it’s more critical than ever for organisations of all sizes to have access to powerful and efficient tools. Microsoft 365 has been at the forefront of this revolution, delivering comprehensive solutions that empower businesses to achieve more. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is the latest development in this revolution, bringing new functionality to the apps you use every day in Microsoft 365.

AI offers immense capabilities and possibilities, empowering us to transform the way we work and live. However, as we know, with great power comes great responsibility. As an IT leader within your organisation, it’s your duty to ensure that AI is used responsibly and effectively to deliver value. AI has the capability to do so, but it requires proper management and oversight.


What is Copilot for Microsoft 365?

An AI tool, Copilot for Microsoft 365, combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your data in Microsoft 365 apps to help you work more efficiently and effectively.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 serves as an AI assistant that accompanies you in your day-to-day work, enabling you to complete your tasks faster, more efficiently, and with greater effectiveness. The tool provides embedded capabilities within each application in the Microsoft 365 suite. Whether you need a summary of emails received while on holiday or to catch up on the main talking points of a meeting you joined midway through, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is designed to support you throughout your working day.


Copilot for Microsoft 365 release

Enterprise businesses have been able to access Copilot since late last year when Microsoft released the tool to organisations with a 300-licence minimum in November. You might have heard the buzz around its possibilities as a virtual assistant, only to have been left disappointed at this licence requirement.

However, last month, Microsoft announced that there will no longer be a minimum licence requirement to access Copilot – and interest in how to enable the tool and the value it can truly deliver has skyrocketed for businesses of every size. Organisations that were excluded by the licence requirements are now turning their attention back to explore how it can change the way they work.

This breakthrough ensures that every organisation has access to the latest AI developments without any limitations – a significant step towards levelling the playing field in the world of digital business operations. Whether you’re running a small start-up or managing a larger, remote team, you can utilise Copilot in a way that best suits your needs.


How to prepare for Copilot for Microsoft 365

Before you get started with the new AI companion, it’s important to realise that it requires a big change in the way you work, and both your admin teams and your users will need to prepare for its implementation.

For your users, this means changing some long-held work habits they have developed during their careers. In the past, AI primarily automated specific processes to reduce effort spent on a task. However, with generative AI tools like Copilot, users must consciously adjust their methods to harness the tool effectively, not to mention perfect their prompting.

To fully benefit from Copilot’s capabilities – enhanced speed, efficiency, and effectiveness – users must actively choose to leverage it. Overcoming ingrained habits and learned behaviours is crucial.


Considerations for your IT teams

User behaviour is not the only thing to consider when preparing for Copilot – there are also a number of considerations for your IT teams. Before you think about setting up the AI tool on your tenant, our expert advice is:

  • Perform an audit of the documents that you have in SharePoint and OneDrive to check that no sensitive data is shared with people who shouldn’t have access
  • Check the information architecture of SharePoint and review documents for their relevance to ensure Copilot has visibility of the correct versions and that they’re up to date – you don’t want a question about HR policy being answered from an outdated source
  • Conduct a carefully considered user adoption and change management programme in order to help users get the best out of Copilot, encouraging them to embrace the tool rather than see it as a complex burden

The lack of experience that we all have with AI assistants mean that we need to experiment to discover the value that they can deliver and then use the findings to extrapolate the wider business case. This is critical for further investment into Copilot.

Prior to assigning any licences to your users, we highly recommend you undertake a Copilot readiness assessment. This involves preparing your environment and assessing its data and security, before a report is provided along with a clear roadmap for Copilot adoption in your organisation.

Want to ensure you can get value out of Copilot for Microsoft 365 in your organisation? Get in touch with our experts to find out more about the Copilot Readiness Assessment.