Ready to really start working smarter, not harder? Copilot, the built-in artificial intelligence (A.I.) tool from Microsoft, is here to turn that saying into a statement of fact for your business. And not in some far-off future. Today.
What is Copilot?
Copilot is an exciting new addition to the Microsoft 365 suite. It is an AI-powered assistant that integrates with your favorite Microsoft 365 apps, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, to help you be more productive, creative, and skilled at your job. It uses large language models (LLMs) and your organization’s data to provide real-time suggestions and assistance within your workflow.
What can it do?
Copilot can do a lot of things. Here are some of its key features:
- In Word: It can help you with writing, editing, and summarizing documents. It can also suggest different creative writing styles and formats, and even rewrite sentences or paragraphs for you. It can translate your text into other languages, turn sections of text into tables, and more.
- In Excel: It can help you analyze your data, create charts and graphs, and find insights you might have missed. It can explain the trends it finds for you and create a model for projections based on what you ask. As you might expect, it can also automate repetitive tasks and suggest formulas.
- In PowerPoint: It can help you create stunning presentations, suggest design ideas, and even write your speaker notes for you. It can build slides from a Word document, take a text-heavy slide and make it more visual, and add animations for you as well.
- In Outlook: It can help you manage your email, schedule meetings, and even write emails for you. It can also summarize long messages, flag important emails, and remind you to follow up on things.
- In Teams: It can help you take meeting notes, transcribe recordings, and even suggest action items. It can provide you with a recap if you join a meeting late, help you stay focused during meetings by identifying key points and summarizing discussions, and give you citations from meetings if you need to review part of a discussion.
Overall, Microsoft 365 Copilot is a powerful tool that can help you save time, be more creative, and get more done.
Is Microsoft 365 Copilot Worth Buying?
So is all that just hype, or is it really worth it?
There is always skepticism about new technology, often rightly so. But at Infinity, we see Copilot as a potential game-changer for businesses that rely heavily on the Microsoft 365 suite. Here’s why:
Boosting Productivity: Imagine your employees saving hours on repetitive tasks like formatting documents, analyzing data, or even writing emails. Copilot can automate those things, freeing up their time for more strategic and creative work. That’s a direct boost to your bottom line.
Unlocking Hidden Potential: We all know there’s untapped potential within the tools we use daily. Copilot acts like a secret decoder ring, surfacing insights from your data, suggesting creative writing styles, or even optimizing presentations. It helps employees use these tools to their fullest potential.
Competitive Edge: In today’s fast-paced world, efficiency is king. By adopting AI-powered tools like Copilot, you’re giving your employees the edge they need to stay ahead of the competition. It’s an investment in innovation and future-proofing your business. And a company offering AI-powered tools may attract and retain more top talent than those that don’t.
ROI: Of course, budget is a valid concern. However, consider it like investing in training or new equipment. Copilot is an ongoing investment in your team’s skillset and efficiency. And if you had a tool that could save each of your employees at least 2 hours a month, what would that be worth to you?
Shifting Mindset: Think of Copilot not as replacing employees, but as augmenting their capabilities. It’s a virtual assistant that empowers them to do more, learn faster, and be more impactful.
Ultimately, you know what’s best for your team. We encourage you to approach Copilot with an open mind. It’s not just a fancy feature; it’s a glimpse into the future of how we work. And as your trusted IT partner, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend exploring its potential for your business.
Potential Security Concerns
While Copilot offers immense potential, it’s crucial to be aware of its potential downsides. Here’s a breakdown of the key security risks associated with Microsoft 365 Copilot:
Data Privacy and Access:
Unintentional exposure: Copilot leverages your organization’s data, including emails, documents, and chats, to personalize its suggestions. This raises concerns about sensitive information accidentally being included in prompts or outputs. Imagine Copilot suggesting a marketing email based on confidential client data!
Access controls: Improper access controls could grant unauthorized users permission to access sensitive data through Copilot’s suggestions or outputs. This is especially risky if your organization handles highly confidential information.
- Malicious use: Individuals with malicious intent could exploit Copilot to access or leak sensitive information, manipulate data, or even spread misinformation within your organization.
- Phishing attacks: Copilot’s reliance on external Bing Search APIs opens doors for phishing attacks. Malicious actors could inject fake information into search results, potentially misleading users and compromising data.
Other Potential Issues:
- Algorithmic bias: Like any AI tool, Copilot is susceptible to inheriting biases present in the data it’s trained on. This could lead to discriminatory or unfair suggestions or outputs.
- Ethical considerations: Copilot’s suggestions, while helpful, should not replace human judgment and critical thinking. Businesses should encourage employees to use Copilot as a tool, not a crutch.
- Transparency and explainability: Understanding how Copilot arrives at its suggestions can be challenging. This lack of transparency can raise concerns about accountability and trust.
Addressing the Risks:
Microsoft acknowledges these concerns and has implemented several safeguards within Copilot:
- Data segregation: User data is kept separate from the Copilot model, minimizing the risk of unintentional exposure.
- Permissions and access controls: Granular access controls ensure only authorized users can access Copilot features and data.
- Security monitoring: Microsoft continuously monitors Copilot for suspicious activity and potential security threats.
However, the onus ultimately lies with organizations to maintain proper security measures:
- Conduct thorough security assessments: Before deploying Copilot, organizations should assess their data security posture and implement appropriate access controls and data governance policies.
- User training and awareness: Educating employees about Copilot’s capabilities and limitations, including potential security risks, is crucial for responsible usage.
- Policies and Procedures: If you have a policy about proper email use (and you should), then you should have one about using Copilot. Even if you choose not to get Copilot for Microsoft 365, you should have a policy in place for how employees should and should not use any A.I. tools. Make sure they know what is acceptable use and that they should always fact check AI-generated results.
- Continuous monitoring and evaluation: Organizations should continuously monitor Copilot’s activity and adapt their security measures as needed.
Remember, adopting any new technology involves a trade-off between potential benefits and risks. By carefully considering the security implications of Microsoft 365 Copilot and taking appropriate mitigation measures, organizations can unlock its potential while minimizing the associated risks.
Lesser Known Uses
Beyond the core features and security concerns, here are some intriguing and lesser-known aspects of Microsoft 365 Copilot that might pique your interest:
Customization and Adaptability:
- Industry-specific models: Copilot is still under development, but Microsoft plans to release industry-specific models tailored to different fields like healthcare, finance, or legal. This could further enhance its value for specialized businesses.
- Beyond productivity: Copilot’s capabilities could extend beyond traditional office tasks, potentially assisting more with customer service, project management, or even creative brainstorming.
- Integration with third-party apps: Copilot is designed to be open-ended and can potentially integrate with other productivity tools and platforms, expanding its functionality and reach within your tech ecosystem.
Learning and Growth:
- Continuous improvement: Copilot constantly learns and improves based on user feedback and interaction. This means its capabilities and suggestions will become more personalized and relevant over time.
- Employee upskilling: By interacting with Copilot, employees can learn new skills and best practices, potentially making them more efficient and adaptable in their roles.
- Shaping the future of work: AI-powered tools like Copilot are likely to become commonplace, fundamentally changing how we work and collaborate. Early adopters like your business can be at the forefront of this transformation.
Remember, these are just some intriguing possibilities. As Copilot evolves, more exciting features and applications are sure to emerge. By staying informed and keeping an open mind, your business can capitalize on the potential of this innovative technology.
Current Use Cases
While Microsoft 365 Copilot is still relatively new, several companies are already putting its AI-powered features to good use across various industries. Here are some noteworthy examples being reported:
Boosting Content Creation:
McCann Worldgroup, a global advertising agency, leverages Copilot in research and to generate creative ideas for marketing campaigns and presentations. The tool helps brainstorm concepts, draft copy, and even suggest visuals, saving time and sparking fresh perspectives.
Edelman, a public relations firm, uses Copilot to personalize client reports and presentations. The AI can analyze data and suggest relevant insights, helping craft compelling narratives that resonate with target audiences.
Enhancing Customer Service:
EY, a professional services firm, utilizes Copilot to streamline email communication with clients. The tool suggests personalized responses, automates repetitive tasks, and helps ensure consistent branding across communication channels.
L’Oréal, a cosmetics company, uses Copilot to power its virtual assistants in customer service chatbots. The AI can answer common questions, suggest product recommendations, and even translate languages, providing a seamless and efficient customer experience.
Optimizing Internal Processes:
Siemens, an engineering conglomerate, uses Copilot to analyze large datasets and identify areas for process improvement. The AI can suggest automation opportunities, streamline workflows, and boost overall operational efficiency.
Bank of America is piloting Copilot to help employees with tasks like scheduling meetings, summarizing documents, and managing emails. The goal is to free up employees’ time for more strategic work and improve overall productivity.
These are just a few examples, and the possibilities are constantly expanding as more companies explore Copilot’s potential. Remember, Copilot is still under development, and its capabilities are evolving rapidly. As it becomes more sophisticated and integrates with additional tools, we can expect even more innovative use cases to emerge across various industries.
Overall, Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers a glimpse into the future of how A.I. can augment human capabilities and revolutionize the way we work. By staying informed and exploring its potential, businesses can position themselves for success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
We hope this comprehensive overview helps you make an informed decision about whether Copilot for Microsoft 365 is the right fit for your business, and we look forward to talking through your particular situation and needs. Call us at (912) 629-2426 or click on the red button at the top to Request a free consult.