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The Complete Guide to Microsoft Copilot: Versions, Use Cases, And Products

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Since it was first introduced in March 2023, Microsoft has since introduced many updates to Copilot, its next-generation AI-powered digital assistant.

These include the transition of Copilot to OpenAI's latest GPT-4 large language model (LLM), as well as the release of different versions of Copilot for various business functions over the past few months.

It’s all a lot to keep track of. So, here’s our guide (updated periodically) to the current state of Microsoft Copilot, to keep you apprised of the changes that have been introduced to the generative AI software to date.

 

But First, What Is Microsoft Copilot?

Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot; Source: Microsoft 365

Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered productivity tool which combines the power of large language models (LLM) with in-house enterprise data generated by Microsoft Graph, as well as applications in the Microsoft 365 productivity suite such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.

It is also fully integrated in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 family of cloud-based ERP software, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, to make day-to-day work much smoother and easier for end users.

Developed on OpenAI's ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot leverages the power of generative AI to offer features that are tailored to address business needs, thus streamlining workflows and boosting productivity overall.

 

Want To Know How Copilot Will Transform Work For Your Business? Click Here For A Quick Introduction To The Next-Generation AI Assistant.

 

How Many Versions Of Microsoft Copilot Are There?

  Microsoft Copilot Copilot Pro Copilot for Microsoft 365
Target Users Individual users, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Individual super users Enterprise users within Microsoft 365 ecosystem
Training Data Generalised aggregate data from the internet N/A Data generated within the organisation's ecosystem
Integration Windows OS, Windows apps, Bing Chat, non-enterprise Microsoft 365 Microsoft family of productivity apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) Microsoft 365 productivity apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams)
Additional Features N/A Priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo, Microsoft Designer, Copilot GPT Builder N/A
Pricing Free $20/user per month $30/user per month (no longer requires 300-seat minimum as of Jan 2024)

 

Currently, Microsoft offers several tiers of Copilot which are designed for different types of end users, and are tailored to their differing needs accordingly.

Microsoft Copilot

The free version of the AI assistant, Microsoft Copilot is suitable for the needs of individual users, as well as small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The LLM for this version of Copilot is trained on more generalised aggregate data that is gathered from the general Internet, and therefore produces more general results.

With Microsoft Copilot, end users may create and complete tasks inside the Windows OS, as well as with Windows apps, more easily and quickly than before. Microsoft Copilot is available in Bing Chat, as well as non-enterprise versions of Microsoft 365.

Copilot Pro

Intended for individual super users that need added functionality with their AI assistant, Copilot Pro allows them to use Copilot in the Microsoft family of productivity apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. More importantly, it provides priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo for faster performance, even during peak times.

In addition, it gives the user access to the DALL-E 3 powered Microsoft Designer to help you generate and enhance images, and will provide access to Copilot GPT Builder, which enables them to use natural language prompts to build and customise their own generative AI assistants to best suit their needs.

Copilot Pro is available at US$20/user per month.

 

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Formerly known as Microsoft 365 Copilot, this version of the AI assistant is subscription-based, and is tailored for enterprise users within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It is integrated into Microsoft 365 productivity apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and Microsoft 365 Chat.

It differs from the free Microsoft Copilot in that draws on data generated only within the ecosystem of the business or organisation it’s implemented in, and thus provides specific results that are more relevant to the end user employed by these entities.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is available at US$30/user per month. While it originally came with a 300-seat minimum order, this was removed in January 2024 by popular demand to make it accessible for SMEs as well.

 

How Will Copilot Supercharge Operations For SMEs This Year? Here Are The Three Ways It Promises To Do So.

 

How Does Copilot Make Work Easier In Microsoft 365 For You?

How Microsoft Copilot works seamlessly with Other Microsoft 365 Applications; Source: Microsoft

For business purposes, the way Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 applications is of the greatest interest. End users can activate Copilot by typing or using voice commands to input a prompt, and be provided with intelligent, contextual assistance based on their current task.

Here are some ways Copilot can make work easier for end users when they leverage its generative AI capabilities in the following applications;

 

Copilot in Word

a37256df-8533-4d7a-ad30-fb1a5414a30d (1) (1)Tapping on Draft with Copilot to support end users' writing needs; Source: Microsoft

Thanks to Copilot’s natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, end users can use Copilot in Word to support their writing and creative process for all sorts of documentation.

For example, because it draws data stored within the business’s database, end users could use Copilot to draft proposals. For example, they can prompt Copilot to create a customer proposal using existing notes about that customer, or a project proposal based on data from a specific Word document and/or an Excel worksheet.

Copilot could also be used to enhance the end user’s writing in general. For example, an end user could prompt Copilot to make specific parts of an existing document more concise, or rewrite it in a more casual tone. It could also be prompted to create a one-page draft based on a rough outline.

Last but not least, an end user could even prompt Copilot to take an existing Word document, and generate a PowerPoint presentation from it (and vice versa). Copilot will even offer design suggestions and speaker notes to go with its output

 

Copilot in Excel

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Excel; Source: Microsoft 365

Copilot makes Excel’s capabilities more accessible to end users than before by analyising data in Excel worksheets, and generating visualisations that assist in providing valuable insights and actionable steps.

For example, some of the Copilot prompts an end user can use in Excel are as follows;

  • Analyse and categorise a set of sales data by its type and channel, and then insert the resulting data into a table.
  • Model the impact of adjusting a variable within a dataset, and generate a chart to illustrate the results.
  • Model the effects of a change to the growth rate for a variable, and show how it would impact my gross margin.

 

Copilot In PowerPoint

4cec8fa2-706f-4e39-bf2c-8e953e88afdf (1) (1)Boost work productivity with Copilot in PowerPoint; Source: Microsoft

With Copilot, end users can streamline their proposal creation and presentation design to enhance their productivity more than ever before.

Some Copilot prompts that end users can use in PowerPoint are as follows;

  • Create a ten-slide presentation based on the information in this Word document. Include any stock photos that are relevant.
  • Consolidate this presentation into three slides.
  • Reformat the three bullet points in this slide into three columns, and include a picture in each one.

 

Copilot In Outlook

Copilot can help end users manage their emails in Outlook more efficiently by prioritising the most important messages, and generating concise responses.

Some Copilot prompts that end users can use in Outlook are as follows;

  • Summarise the emails I missed while I was on leave, and flag any that are important.
  • Draft a response. Thank the sender for their email, and ask for more details about their third and fourth points.
  • Shorten this email, and rewrite it to sound more professional.

 

Copilot in Microsoft 365 Chat

Chat with Copilot; Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

By drawing on the data shared over Microsoft 365 Chat, Copilot can carry out various tasks based on contextual prompts, using the information shared over the chat channels.

Some Copilot prompts that end users might use with Microsoft 365 Chat include;

  • Summarise the discussion, emails, and documents about the topic in question.
  • What’s the next milestone for this project? What risks were identified? Provide a list of potential ways to mitigate these risks.
  • Write a new planning over in the style of (Document A) that contains the planning timeline from (Document B), and incorporate the project list in the email from (Person A).

 

How Copilot Is Integrated With Microsoft Dynamics 365 

Apart from the different tiers of Copilot, Microsoft has also introduced other Copilot products which integrates with various Dynamics 365 applications, and leverages the power of generative AI to further optimise different business functions. The first batch of these extensions were announced at the Microsoft Copilot Business Showcase on 29 February 2024.

 

Copilot For Finance

Microsoft Copilot For Finance; Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Designed to draw on essential context from a business’s existing financial data sources, including ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Copilot for Finance can help finance teams carrying out the following;

  • Quickly analyse variances and better understand root causes, using the power of AI
  • View AI-generated reconciliation summaries to quickly identify missing transactions or invoices
  • Access customer and ERP records directly in Microsoft Outlook
  • Quickly follow up with customers by generating emails drafts with AI.

 

Copilot For Sales

Enhance Sales Effectiveness With Microsoft Copilot For Sales; Source: Microsoft 365

Designed to help sales teams maximise productivity and personalise customer interactions, Copilot For Sales offers the following features;

  • Capture and editing of customer and opportunity details in Outlook with AI assistance, complete with syncing to CRM software
  • AI-generated sales tips, related information, and answers to customer questions during Microsoft Teams calls
  • AI-generated summaries of customer emails, along with sales insights and suggestions.

 

Copilot for Service

Overview of Microsoft Copilot For Service; Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Copilot for Service can access knowledge sources through pre-built integrations for Salesforce, Servicenow, and Zendesk. It can also draw on public websites, SharePoint, knowledge base articles, and offline files to provide the following functionalities to your customer service teams.

  • Configure and deploy copilots to agents in their flow of work
  • Browse and update CRM records during a Teams meeting
  • Summarise and draft emails in Outlook, informed by case summaries and other relevant information from CRM records
  • Browse and update CRM records in Outlook, such as adding a contact directly to the CRM software.

 

Copilot For Security

What's Microsoft Copilot For Security? Source: Microsoft Security

Unlike the first three, Copilot for Security was made generally available on 1 April 2024. It is designed to empower security and IT teams to protect business infrastructure at the speed of AI. This is what Copilot for Security offers for your business;

  • Enables the use of prompts to ask any questions you want about the security of your business, and get an answer accordingly.
  • Allows you to upload of files, URLs, or code snippets, and then ask security questions about them.
  • Full integration with the Microsoft Security Stack

 

Getting Started With Using Copilot In Your Business

If you’re managing your business on Microsoft 365, and would like to leverage the power of generative AI through Microsoft Copilot, here’s how you can get started.

As it’s an add-on feature, Copilot for Microsoft 365 requires a compatible Microsoft 365 subscription plan. Therefore, your first step should be to check with your software vendor to ensure that your business has access to Copilot.

If that’s the case, and you can get Copilot integrated with your instance of Microsoft 365, do take the time to have you end users get familiarised with its capabilities, and to experiment with different use cases. Spend time exploring how you can use different prompts to assist with tasks like document creation, data analysis, presentation development, and email management, so that you come to a better understanding of Copilot's full potential.

Lastly, as your business makes use of Copilot, be sure to send any feedback to Microsoft on what is working well with the AI assistant, and where it can be improved. This will only help Microsoft further refine and enhance Copilot's capabilities over time, and ensures it continues to meet your business needs to the fullest extent.

If you'd like to leverage on the power of Copilot to optimise your business processes, we can help you do so. Do give us a call at +65 6323 9091, or drop us a note here to get in touch, and one of our consultants will get back to you very soon!

If you found the information in this blog post useful, then you'll definitely want to stay tuned for more insightful content like this. Hit the subscribe button below, and get updates to gain insights that will help you enhance your business processes and productivity with tools such as Copilot and ERP software, every time we publish!

 

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