Co-Pilot Lifts Off

Microsoft has announced that they are making Co-Pilot generally available for all users of Microsoft 365.  Previously it has only been available to “enterprise” users, that is organisations that wanted place an order for 300 users or above.  At $30 per user per month this was a big disincentive!Now anyone with a Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Premium license are able to pay just under £300 plus vat per annum for a single Co-Pilot license.  If you want multiple users to be able to use Co-Pilot that is £300 per user plus vat per annum on top of the cost of their Microsoft 365 license – so still a significant investment.  The cost is an upfront payment of the full annual amount presumably to ensure that people do not try the system and then cancel it if the results are not as expected.So what is Co-Pilot, what can you use it for and will it be worth the investment?Co-Pilot is Microsoft’s own artificial intelligent helper.  Using prompts you can ask it to take on tasks for you.  It is based on ChatGPT but has the advantage of being able to access all your company’s internal data if this is stored on the 365 servers, either in Sharepoint, Teams or Onedrive.  Hence, if you ask it to do a presentation based on figures in a sales spreadsheet it will be able to pull the data directly from that spreadsheet and create Powerpoint slides automatically hopefully saving a ton of work.Microsoft list a range of use cases.  These include report preparation; summarising and replying to emails and integrating with Teams to prepare minutes or to attend meetings in your absence and summarise what went on. Real world users have reported varied results, with Co-Pilot producing random information (so called AI hallucinations where the system generates text that seems to have come from nowhere) to it increasing productivity by reducing the time taken in creating reports and meeting minutes.For more examples Microsoft have a number of short videos to show how Co-Pilot can be used from within the Office programs here – Microsoft 365 Copilot – YouTube As with all systems the quality of the output depends on the data it is using and the so called “prompts” that are used.  Start cleaning up your files.  Making sure you do not have redundant data available that the system can access and so skew what it produces.  Getting used to constructing prompts can also make a big difference to the results generated.  Prompts are the instructions you give Co-Pilot to produce a result.  So “prepare minutes from the meeting on this date in an itemised list with to do actions for each person” would be an example of a prompt.  The more detail you give in a prompt the better the end result will be. More detail on how to build Co-Pilot prompts can be found here – Learn about Copilot prompts – Microsoft Support.To discuss how Co-Pilot can help your organisation; get set up with Co-Pilot or for further information get in touch today.

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