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Microsoft 365 Copilot Q&A with Zoe Wilson and Luke Evans

Dive deep into unanswered Q&A from our Microsoft 365 Copilot webinar with insights from Zoe Wilson & Luke Evans.

Thank you for all the questions you asked in the Q&A section of our recent webinar, “Getting started with Microsoft 365 Copilot”. Unfortunately, we only had time to answer a few questions during the live webinar. But fortunately, Zoe Wilson and Luke Evans answered all of your questions about Copilot, and we’re sharing them with you.

You can find the detailed questions and answers below, and if you missed the webinar, check it out now.

Does the Microsoft 365 Copilot rollout have the potential to repeat the VB6 problems?

Q: Isn’t this democratization of technology and software development repeating the VB6 problems with untrained users creating applications without security, maintainability, or governance planning?

A: It has the potential to, yes, which is why we absolutely recommend that appropriate governance is in place – this includes technical governance, but also processes and support for people too. For GitHub Copilot, this might look like training that users have to attend before being able to use it, and ensuring that the software development lifecycle processes are adequate to support new ways of writing code.

For Power Platform, ensuring at a minimum that the Power Platform CoE is deployed, with appropriate environment management, release processes, and data loss prevention policies in place. Ultimately, individuals need to have strong messaging across all Copilots that they are responsible for the output that is produced, and that they need to check for accuracy, quality, and bias.

When will Microsoft Copilot be available?

Q: Do you have a timeline for deployment? When will Copilot be widely available?

A: Microsoft has yet to indicate when Copilot will be released, but with the early access program running, I expect it to be a few months away. Hopefully, we will get an announcement with more details at Build.

Update: Copilot will be generally available from 1 November for certain business and enterprise users of the 365 suite.

What is the best way to train new folks on Copilot?

A: Regarding training, it is important to consider what we’re trying to achieve. This isn’t like training people how to use Teams or SharePoint – we need people to adopt the Copilot capabilities into their current workflow – i.e., how they do things today – and then learn how to apply these new capabilities to start working in new and different ways. Planning for change enablement will be vital to the success of Copilot, which we can begin to do now while we wait for Copilot to be more broadly available.

Will education tenants be considered for Copilot access?

A: At the moment, Microsoft has yet to indicate whether Copilot will be available for education tenants. A pre-requisite is to have M365 E3/E5 or business standard/premium, which is required for Semantic Index to run. I expect this to become available in the future, but there is nothing to confirm whether this is the case now or when this might happen.

How will Copilot handle collaboration?

Q: How will Copilot handle multiple contributors working on a document simultaneously? Is there a real-time sync between all collaborators?

A: Yes, absolutely – the people collaborating are actually the people involved in this, with each of them potentially having their own Copilot. So, if I’m working on a document with you, I can ask my Copilot to do things, and you can ask your Copilot to do things, and they can both update the document the same as if we were both co-authoring without Copilot. The important thing to remember is that only I can see and interact with my Copilot, and only you can see and interact with your own Copilot. We are each ultimately responsible for what we produce within the document.

Will we see a personal Copilot option?

A: I’m unsure at this point! I think that due to the cost of running the LLMs, a personal Copilot option may be some time away, with Microsoft focusing on getting the product right and launching it to enterprises. Who knows, though.

Will Microsoft Copilot lead to a reduction in staff?

Q: How do you handle the response to people that the investment in Copilot will mean people are more productive and lead to a reduction in staff?

My view on this one is that people focusing on reducing staff are potentially looking at this the wrong way. Even if we recognize that some roles may not be required anymore due to an increase in overall capacity, I think we should take this as an opportunity to upskill and reskill, and create the workforce that we need for tomorrow. We have many in-demand skills in short supply – focusing on developing these to an organization’s advantage should be a key priority.

Will Copilot work with Viva Engage?

Viva Engage and the Microsoft Viva Suite will be getting their very own Copilot, which can help support a more positive employee experience. High-performing organizations will be those who can embrace the best of the new AI capabilities, while also supporting a positive and nurturing employee experience, and Copilot in Microsoft Viva will support both of those goals.

Is there a free trial for Copilot?

Q: Is there a trial for Microsoft 365 Copilot? Can we see how Copilot can help our organization in practice?

A: At the moment, Microsoft is running a private preview for M365 Copilot, known as the early access program. Copilot is yet to be available as a product to purchase beyond those organizations who have paid to join the early access program. This may change once Copilot becomes generally available. However, we have yet to have an indication from Microsoft on how they will approach this after GA. I’d keep watching the news and announcements for Copilot.

How do you trust AI to do the job right?

Q: My biggest problem with all AI is how do you trust it. Do you have to perform your request manually to verify the accuracy of Copilot for a month or so? I’d rather spend more time reviewing my email and ensure I don’t miss something than use Copilot and have it miss something.

This is an important concern, and ultimately, we all must remember this is Copilot – not autopilot. The human in the loop is key, and the person using Copilot is still ultimately responsible for the output. I see Copilot helping me get 60-80% of the way there. I need to verify, edit, and check before any content, insights, or generated emails are ready to send.

Think of this as delegating tasks rather than replacing tasks wholesale – if you delegate tasks to someone else, you need to be clear on what you’re asking them to do and validate that what is produced is correct. This will work in a very similar way.

How does Copilot know what decisions were made?

Q: How does it know what decisions were made? Does it parse the transcript of a meeting to determine?

A: Yes, exactly this. The pre-trained LLM essentially scans through everything that was said within the transcript and extrapolates key insights from the text.

Microsoft 365 licenses and licensing levels

Q: Is it a single license, or are there different licensing levels according to the capacity? I see somewhere it’s helping with security analysis. It’s a huge amount of work, but the office package is a small job.

Microsoft has announced MANY Copilots across all of their cloud stack – GitHub Copilot, Security Copilot, M365 Copilot, Copilot in Viva, Power Platform Copilots, Fabric Copilot, Dynamics Copilots for all the different modules and so on. While the licensing and purpose of the Copilots in the different products have yet to be confirmed, what we know now would indicate that there are different pricing models for different Copilots.

A license for M365 Copilot will give you access to Copilot in Outlook, Teams, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Loop, and Whiteboard. To use the Viva Copilot, you will need to have the Viva Suite license. To use the Security Copilot, you will need to be using Microsoft Sentinel, and I wonder whether this will be included in Sentinel pricing or whether it will require an add-on license.

With the products being in various stages of preview at the moment, licensing and pricing will be subject to change until the different Copilots become generally available.

Additionally, when we think about the potential impact of the different Copilots, it is important to remember the scale and scope of use. While security analysis may be a big job for those who work in security, the percentage of people in those roles within an organization will be very small.

The benefits to the organization will be improved security, improved efficiency of the security teams, and improved insight into security posture and issues. For M365 Copilot, if this is used by most or all employees within an organization, that has the potential to have a much bigger impact – and a way more significant return on investment for business leaders.

Office apps are typically used by almost all knowledge workers within an organization. While they will all use different apps and interact with them in different ways, the benefits of increased productivity, reduced time to create, better meetings, and making it easier to find content and knowledge within an organization will have a much greater impact, as the benefits will be delivered on a much bigger scale.

Would you like to know more?

We hope this blog post helps you get the answers around Microsoft 365 Copilot that you’re looking for. If you want to learn more about how to get ready for Copilot, check out our webinar Getting started with Microsoft 365 Copilot, where Zoe Wilson and Luke Evans will show you how to utilize Copilot’s capabilities fully and safely.

And if you’re looking to prevent oversharing to stay ahead of the curve, and be ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot, read our guide on how to stop oversharing.

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