Embrace the AI-powered future of work
Author: Trystan C. Bennett
Solutions Architect, FSi Strategies & MBA
As business technology advances, Microsoft 365 Copilot stands out as a game-changing tool that uses artificial intelligence to improve our daily work. Here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft Copilot – what is it, how can it help you, and what do you need to know about it?
What is it?
Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered assistant integrated with Microsoft 365 designed to enhance productivity and efficiency by automating tasks and providing intelligent insights across various applications. Microsoft’s goal for Copilot is to empower you to accelerate the creative process and complete tasks with ease, thereby reducing your cognitive load. Copilot’s adaptability means that it can be customized to meet the unique needs of any organization. The ability to extend its capabilities through plugins makes it a continually evolving asset that can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of business needs. This post will focus primarily on Copilot for Microsoft 365.
How can Copilot help me?
There are many ways that Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 can help you perform tasks faster and easier. While this post is not meant to be an in-depth look, here are some examples of how Copilot can help you with your daily tasks:
- In Teams, use Copilot to summarize transcribed meetings, understand context, and generate action-items
- In Word, use Copilot’s powerful generative AI to add or simplify your writing or bring an idea to life
- In Outlook, use Copilot to summarize emails or entire conversations or to generate quick responses
- In PowerPoint, give Copilot a topic to create a draft of your presentation automatically
General Technical Requirements
To embark on the journey with Copilot, ensure that your organization meets the following prerequisites:
- Licensing: Copilot for Microsoft 365 is available as an add-on for Microsoft 365 E3/E5, A3/A5 faculty, Office 365 E3/E5, Office 365 A3/A5 faculty, as well as Business Standard/Business Premium, and users must possess an Entra ID (Azure Active Directory) account.
- Channel Subscription: Organizations must subscribe to the Current Channel or Monthly Enterprise Channel for Microsoft 365 apps.
Beyond the basic requirements, here are some additional recommendations to ensure a smoother, more efficient Copilot experience:
- Network Connectivity: Align your network with the Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles to reduce latency and improve the quality of service.
- Teams Enablement: To tap into the cross-app intelligence experiences in Teams, have a full-featured and adopted Teams environment, and allow Teams plugins.
Secure Permissions & Content Management
Copilot stands on your organization’s existing permissions and policies to deliver pertinent information, emphasizing the need for robust content management practices that prevent Content oversharing. Content oversharing is when content is shared beyond the needed audience, intentionally or accidentally, which can lead to data governance challenges. You can prevent content oversharing by adopting some of these best practices for content management in SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and email:
- Regularly Review and Update Permissions: Periodically check and adjust who has access to what in SharePoint, Teams, Email, and OneDrive, ensuring only the necessary individuals have the appropriate access levels.
- Utilize Microsoft Defender: Implement tools like Microsoft Defender for Office 365 to protect against sophisticated threats in emails, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.
- Implement Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policies: Set up DLP policies across these platforms to identify, monitor, and automatically protect sensitive information.
- Classify and Label Data with Azure Information Protection: Use Azure Information Protection to classify and label data during creation or modification. This can help apply the appropriate access controls and actions based on sensitivity.
- Policy-based Protection: Implement AIP policies that dictate actions like encryption and visual marking based on the sensitivity of the content. These policies help prevent accidental sharing of sensitive information.
- Use Secure Links for Sharing: Avoid sharing sensitive files openly; use secure links with expiration dates and password protections, especially in SharePoint and OneDrive.
- Enable Audit Logging and Monitoring: Keep track of what’s happening with your data by enabling and reviewing audit logs regularly to detect any unusual or unauthorized activities.
- Educate Users on Security Practices: Regularly train and update your team on security threats and best practices for content management to foster a culture of security awareness.
- Encrypt Sensitive Emails: Use email encryption in Outlook to protect sensitive information from being read by unintended recipients.
- Manage External Sharing: Carefully control external sharing settings in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams to ensure data is not inadvertently shared with the wrong people.
Leveraging Rich Data Sources
The quality of the Copilot experience is intrinsically linked to the data sources indexed by Microsoft 365. Organizations with a wealth of data across Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams will experience the most robust and relevant suggestions from Copilot, tailored to the user’s work context and preferences. Microsoft Viva Topics can enhance the Copilot experience by organizing and surfacing relevant information across your organization’s data ecosystem, which includes Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.
Here’s how Viva Topics can contribute:
- Knowledge Discovery and Organization: Viva Topics uses AI to automatically identify, process, and organize content and expertise across your organization, turning them into shared topics. This helps create a rich data source that Copilot can utilize to provide more accurate and contextually relevant suggestions.
- Enhanced Data Indexing: By indexing and categorizing information, Viva Topics helps create a more comprehensive semantic understanding of the organizational data. This enriched indexing allows Copilot to better understand and use the organization’s data for AI-driven insights and suggestions.
- Improved Content Relevance: As users interact with Viva Topics and validate or amend the suggested topics, the system learns and refines its understanding of the content. This continuous improvement in content relevance directly benefits Copilot’s ability to deliver tailored suggestions.
- Expertise Location: Viva Topics also identifies and showcases experts within the organization. Copilot can leverage this feature to suggest or connect users with the right people, enhancing collaboration and the overall quality of work.
- Seamless Integration: Since Viva Topics is integrated with Microsoft 365, it works cohesively with Copilot, ensuring that the knowledge and content improvements are directly reflected in the suggestions and assistance provided by Copilot.
Preparing for Microsoft 365 Copilot is not just about meeting technical requirements; it’s about embracing a culture of continuous learning and adapting to the new ways of working that AI brings. Leveraging Modern Work technologies can be a challenge, and copilot is no exception. It requires adapting to a constantly changing environment where continuous learning, investing in new developments, and constantly striving for improvement. Our Modern Work 2.0 eBook can help you learn how to prepare your company and your culture to leverage Copilot.
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