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SMEs are Currently Excluded from Microsoft 365 Copilot—But Not for Long

 

Launched in February 2023, Microsoft 365 copilot impressed industry experts and everyday techies with its many useful features. However, many of us supporting SMEs were forced to watch from the sidelines.

 

David Armitage, Velocity’s CEO, said SME businesses shouldn’t ignore Microsoft’s new AI productivity tool, but there is no need to get distracted or rush in.

 

“Granted at the moment Copilot is only available to enterprises with 300 or more employees. This excludes many of our clients here at Velocity,” David said. “However, this doesn’t mean businesses should sit on their hands and ignore these latest developments. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ Microsoft will extend this offering to smaller businesses.”

 

Copilot combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with user data in the Microsoft Graph and 365 apps. Microsoft claims this effectively turns natural language into “the most powerful productivity tool on the planet”.

 

Extracting business data from your documents, emails, and messages, Copilot can seamlessly deliver summaries; help you solve problems; and generate first drafts from your files, messages, videos, and more.

 

While some industry watchers have lauded the many potential benefits Copilot offers users—particularly its ability to automate administrative tasks and analyse large amounts of data—others have raised privacy and security concerns. Chatbots like Copilot allow big tech to collect even more data about individuals and organisations, while the potential data leaks and identity theft could devastate millions of lives.

 

Microsoft has assured the public that Copilot is compliant with its “ existing privacy, security, and compliance commitments to Microsoft 365 commercial customers”. This compliance extends to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and European Union (EU) Data Boundary. Microsoft further confirms that users can control the amount of data Copilot will have access to.

 

Concerns about data privacy and cybersecurity aside, should businesses be quick to adopt Copilot or repudiate it? Is it a major game changer or a “shiny new toy” that will disappoint its users?

 

As of November 2023, Copilot for businesses with less than 300 employees is in its early testing phase. Copilot for individual consumers has also begun early testing, and no definite launch dates have been announced for either product.

 

“Those businesses big and small that have already adopted Microsoft 365 and other compatible modern workplace tools will be ready for the great rush to normalise and embed artificial intelligence into mainstream productivity and security tools,” David added.

 

In other words, businesses that have prioritised their digital transformation—specifically the adoption of Microsoft Office 365 and cloud computing—will gain a competitive edge over those that are delaying their tech adoption.

 

If you’re eager to jumpstart the digital transformation in your own organisation, rest assured that Velocity is here to help you every step of the way. We take the guesswork out of adopting modern workplace principles by providing a tailored suite of cloud-based solutions and expert IT advice.

 

This helps you anticipate future disruptions, as well as reinforce agility and productivity in today’s distributed workplace.

 

To jumpstart your journey, get in touch for a free consultation. Contact us for more information.

 

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