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Maximizing Business Productivity with Copilot for Microsoft 365

If you’re an IT leader planning to integrate AI strategically into your business processes for a competitive advantage, then you are likely considering Copilot for Microsoft 365. Let’s look at both the transformative potential and practical uses of Copilot for Microsoft 365 for enhancing your employees’ productivity without sacrificing your organization’s data security.

What is Copilot for Microsoft 365?

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an innovative AI-powered assistant designed to enhance productivity across the Microsoft 365 suite, including Outlook, Teams, Excel, and PowerPoint. By integrating cutting-edge artificial intelligence, Copilot transforms how businesses communicate, collaborate, and create, making every aspect of your operations more efficient and effective.

How does Copilot for Microsoft 365 work?

Copilot seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications, employing advanced AI algorithms to understand and execute a wide range of tasks. From drafting emails to generating comprehensive reports, Copilot interprets natural language instructions, automating routine tasks and providing insightful analyses, thereby allowing your team to focus on strategic initiatives.

Common Use Cases of Copilot for Microsoft 365

When I talk to potential Copilot for Microsoft 365 customers, one of the inevitable questions I hear is: “what are the ways Copilot for Microsoft 365 can make my employees more productive?” Three practical examples include:

  1. Streamlining Communication – Imagine scheduling meetings, summarizing Teams discussions, and sending recaps automatically without lifting a finger. Copilot for Microsoft 365 makes this a reality, enhancing communication efficiency and ensuring no one misses out on critical information.
  2. Enhancing Collaboration – Prepare for meetings with ease by asking Copilot to identify key discussion topics. During meetings, Copilot can show real-time results of discussions, complete with action items, ensuring every participant is on the same page and accountable.
  3. Automating Creative Tasks – The typical information worker is more than familiar with the tedium of data analysis and presentation preparation. Copilot can summarize Excel data into a concise Word document, create a PowerPoint presentation from the document, and even apply your corporate branding, all within minutes.

Potential Return on Investment (ROI) of Copilot for Microsoft 365

Without a good ROI, a CIO can’t justify the adoption of any AI tool. The promise of Copilot AI extends beyond just productivity enhancements by encompassing tangible financial benefits such as:

  • Cost Savings from Automation – The automation capabilities of Copilot can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the need for manual labor in tasks such as data entry, report generation, and meeting scheduling.
  • Revenue Growth from Improved Decision-Making – By providing quick access to data and insights, Copilot enables better decision-making, potentially leading to revenue growth through more strategic initiatives and improved customer satisfaction.
  • How Copilot for Microsoft 365 Pays for Itself Quickly – A typical example of Copilot AI use is for an employee to automatically analyze data in documents (stored both locally and in corporate SharePoint and OneDrive folders) then generate detailed reports in Excel and an executive presentation in PowerPoint. Recent studies of Copilot users have shown they save ten hours per month on average, translating to substantial cost savings that can quickly offset the investment in Copilot.

Best Practices for Implementing Copilot for Microsoft 365

Integration begins with a thorough assessment of your current business processes, identifying areas where Copilot can bring the most value. Following this, a phased implementation plan is developed, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal disruption.

During your Copilot for Microsoft 365 implementation, IT teams should be conducting regular security assessments, implementing strict access controls, and providing employee training on data handling and privacy. Here are some practical, real-world examples of why these best practices are crucial for a successful Copilot implementation:

Conduct Regular Security Assessments

Imagine an organization—either a public school district or multinational corporation—that is subject to stringent data security regulations. Most IT teams in these organizations run quarterly assessments to prevent any potential data leakage. This is important in the context of Copilot, as the AI accesses and processes sensitive information stored in the cloud by default. Blue Mantis CISO and CIO, Jay Pasteris, outlined best practices for IT organizations to reduce data leakage risks when using AI.

Implement Strict Access Controls

A healthcare provider implements role-based access controls (RBAC) to ensure that only authorized personnel could use Copilot for tasks involving patient data. They set up profiles within their Microsoft 365 environment that limits access based on job function, ensuring that only medical staff and not administrative staff can request Copilot to analyze patient information, thereby adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations.

Provide Employee Training on Data Handling and Privacy

An e-commerce company with a focus on delivering European products to North America deploys Copilot for Microsoft 365 to streamline their customer service processes. Recognizing the potential risks of handling customer data, they roll out comprehensive training sessions for their customer service team. The training focuses on the dos and don’ts of data handling with Copilot, emphasizing the importance of not inputting personally identifiable information (PII) into the AI tool unless absolutely necessary and ensuring that all data used with Copilot complied with Europe’s stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data security laws.

Extending Copilot AI Beyond Microsoft 365

Like most Microsoft solutions, Copilot is designed to be highly extensible. Organizations can either install pre-made or develop their own software plug-ins for Copilot to extend its AI capabilities to their specific business needs. Plugins for Copilot enable the AI to access and control aspects of third-party apps such as Adobe, Jira, ServiceNow, and more. This extensibility allows the integration of Copilot AI with a wide range of systems and workflows beyond the Microsoft 365 suite. For instance, integrating Copilot with ServiceNow can help IT technicians prioritize tasks more efficiently, while connecting it to an HRIS system enables employees to inquire about their benefits or PTO statistics directly through Copilot. These examples illustrate the practical benefits of Copilot’s extensibility in enhancing organizational productivity and decision-making processes.

Create Your Copilot Flight Plan with Blue Mantis

There’s no question that Copilot for Microsoft 365 can enhance business productivity. For CIOs, it’s just a matter of taking the opportunity to harness Copilot AI technology in a way that seamlessly integrates with your business processes, enables employee ingenuity, and does all that without sacrificing security.

Let’s meet to prepare your company’s Copilot flight plan, where Blue Mantis experts will assess your Copilot for Microsoft 365 business workflow integration options, create a comprehensive AI data security policy, and optimize your cloud spend with our dedicated FinOps services.

Josh Morganthall headshot.

Josh Morganthall

Blue Mantis’ Microsoft Practice Manager Josh Morganthall has nearly a decade of hands-on experience architecting, deploying, and administering Microsoft Windows, Active Directory, and Azure cloud infrastructure for SMBs and enterprises. Josh attended the University of South Alabama and holds almost a dozen current IT industry certifications specializing in the cloud and virtualization. Connect with Josh on LinkedIn.