From Cortana to Copilot: The AI Revolution in Microsoft 365

CoPilot for M365

Remember Cortana? Few people do. An early rendition of the virtual assistants we’re all familiar with today, Cortana for Windows 10, was also a glimpse of what was to come with modern AI tools and shows us how far we’ve come from assistants like Cortana and Siri. As of October 2023, Cortana has been the victim of a hostile takeover by Microsoft 365 Copilot, a new behemoth in the artificial intelligence landscape. Not only is Copilot a chatbot like we are all used to, it is designed to revolutionize the way you work across the Microsoft 365 suite of apps and services.

What is Copilot?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is not just another AI tool: it’s a significant change. Powered by OpenAI, the same technology behind ChatGPT, Copilot leverages large language models and your own data from Microsoft Graph to streamline your tasks and unlock new ways of working smarter, not harder.  If you remember, last year Microsoft made a $10B investment in OpenAI, because Satya Nadella realized they were significantly behind Google.  Now when you see CoPilot integrated across not only Bing, but all of the M365 apps and even Microsoft’s enterprise application stack, you might see why this has already become a multi-billion-dollar business for Microsoft.

Copilot seamlessly integrates with your core Microsoft 365 apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, acting as your grammar editor, code editor, executor, and research assistant. Need to draft a document in Word? Copilot can whip up an entire outline or first draft in seconds, saving you valuable time. It will even suggest website links for you to research that are relevant to your writing. And when it comes to Excel, Copilot goes beyond simple calculations by suggesting traditional formulas or even formulas in Python, making complex data analysis a breeze.

In PowerPoint and Excel, Copilot can even be prompted to produce instant visualizations of data which would otherwise take hours to accomplish. For example, imagine feeding Excel a large sheet of sales figures and simply typing “Give me a list of the best-selling SKUs for Q2”. It’ll give you the correct answer in seconds, even highlighting the relevant data.

What about other Microsoft Apps?

Copilot is geared to level-up all of the Microsoft suite of applications, with the goal of streamlining productivity and simplicity. Tired of sifting through endless emails? Copilot for Outlook has got you covered. With its ability to summarize long chunks of text, Copilot helps you breeze through your inbox by providing concise summaries of key emails. Need a quick overview of your day’s emails? Just ask Copilot to summarize the key points in bullet points, and you’ll be on your way to inbox zero in no time.

In Teams meetings, Copilot takes collaboration to the next level by offering real-time meeting summaries. No more scribbling down notes or trying to remember who said what. Copilot records the discussion and suggests relevant action items based on the content of the conversation, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. It will even compile a list of key points in text, and the audio recording of that exact point.  Late for the meeting?  CoPilot can fill you in on what has already been discussed.

One of the most exciting features of Copilot is its ability to handle large amounts of data and provide answers in real-time, much like ChatGPT. This means you can ask Copilot specific questions about your business, and it will quickly give you the information you need. For example, you could inquire about recent interactions with a client or prospect, and Copilot will instantly retrieve relevant details from your CRM records. It can also look into meeting notes, your calendar, emails, and more to provide personalized answers in a matter of seconds.

Microsoft 365 Copilot’s foundational skills are a game changer for productivity: It can already create, summarize, analyze, collaborate and automate using your specific business content and context. But it doesn’t stop there. Copilot knows how to command apps (e.g., “animate this slide”) and work across apps, like translating a Word document into a PowerPoint presentation.

Ok, how much does it cost?

Copilot has a 3-tiered subscription system based on the needs of you and your business. 

  1. Copilot Free
  • You can actually download and use the base Copilot for free, with features like chat with text, voice, and image capabilities, summarization of documents and web pages, image creation in Designer, and Web grounding.
  1. Copilot Pro
  • The pro version is still geared towards the individual, except it has faster generation times during peak hours, a more advanced image generation catalog, and Copilot in select 365 apps. This will run you $20 a month.
  1. Copilot for Microsoft 365
  • This is the most versatile, advanced version of Copilot geared towards business owners who want to revolutionize their organization. Think of it as CoPilot Pro, but for the data in your business tenant.  It has full integration with the Microsoft 365 suite of apps, and even customization and extensibility through Microsoft Copilot Studio. This plan costs $30 per month, or $360 per year. The full year must be paid upfront unlike the other M365 apps.

In this new age of intelligence, AI is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a business imperative. With Microsoft 365 Copilot, you can harness the power of AI to streamline your tasks, boost productivity, and stay ahead of the competition. Whether you’re drafting documents in Word, crunching numbers in Excel, or presenting ideas in PowerPoint, Copilot is your AI-powered ally for success. So, what are you waiting for? Embrace the future of work with Microsoft 365 Copilot and unlock a world of possibilities.

Speak to a representative at Carmichael today to learn more about Copilot and how it can help your specific business needs. With round-the-clock support, our team will find the plan that best fits you and your ambitions.  Carmichael is a reseller of CoPilot, so let us know if we can assist with purchase and implementation strategy.

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Check out some other new AI software → Unlocking the Power of Artificial Intelligence for Small Businesses

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