Building a Business Case for Copilot for Microsoft 365 – A Game-Changer for Business Efficiency

With the rapid rise in artificial intelligence (AI) tools, companies are updating technologies and processes as quickly as budgets allow. Industries are transforming rapidly as the drivers for economic growth are evolving. AI is fueling innovation while simultaneously altering the way we interact with, and harness the power of, machines. Natural language processing and large language models within generative AI solutions are changing the dynamics of communication and problem-solving. The good news amid this rapid change is that, with the introduction of Microsoft Copilot, regular end users can now use a SaaS-based AI solution to complement the existing collaboration and productivity tools they use every day.

AI-based solution with Microsoft data protection

Many organizations are already exploring the potential and developing use cases for Copilot for Microsoft 365, introduced in November 2023. In a recent webinar we conducted, most participants (64 percent) indicated they are in the investigative phase, seeking to understand Copilot’s offerings, while 34 percent have already embraced this innovative solution. For companies already using Microsoft 365 services, the integration of Copilot into Microsoft 365 Apps serves as a straightforward pathway to unlock the capabilities of AI. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered productivity tool that uses large language models (LLMs) and integrates data with the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 services. It works alongside popular Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and more. Microsoft 365 Copilot provides real-time intelligent assistance, enabling users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.

While Microsoft has developed a number of Copilot types, Copilot for Microsoft 365 stands out by leveraging integration across most Microsoft 365 applications, tapping into the content stored within the organization’s tenant. Emphasizing the paramount importance of security and data protection — a primary consideration for technology leaders introducing new solutions — is the assurance that data is safeguarded by existing Microsoft protections inherent in the Microsoft 365 solution. Copilot further empowers users to optimize the use of both internal and external data, by respecting existing permissions and role-based access controls on data within Microsoft 365 and enabling customizable plugins with Copilot to facilitate quick access to relevant external information.

Just how successful can an organization expect to become? In a Work Trend Index study conducted among 31,000 early Copilot adopters in 31 countries, 70 percent of users found they were more productive, with a higher quality of work.

Building the business case

When considering the investment into any new technology, smart IT leaders know to build a solid business case to present both benefits and potential challenges of that new tech. With Copilot for Microsoft 365, there are licensing costs, but there is more to consider to ensure that the organization is prepared and secure before adopting the new technology. Consider the time required to pilot the new investment and the time required to deliver a return on investment with adoption, training and support.

We like to summarize Copilot’s ROI into these three key benefits that will form the foundation of a business case:

  • Employee productivity and performance
    • Build, summarize, analyze better and faster
  • Employee skill enhancements
    • Improve sales leads, understand budgets and finances more completely
  • Sharing enterprise knowledge

It is important to note there is no single Copilot feature that will “sell” this solution. Rather, it is the combination of many capabilities Copilot provides across the many Microsoft 365 applications that will significantly improve productivity across a day, week, a month or longer, enhancing productivity across every department and every employee level.

These are a few of the possible use cases to consider:

  • Creating new content
  • Prioritizing emails
  • Identifying and analyzing threats or reverse engineering malware
  • Creating new code or comments based on code
  • Analyzing Excel data, identifying trends
  • Summarizing a document, email thread or meeting notes
  • Developing readable, engaging messaging
  • Creating meeting recaps and action items from recordings
  • Overcoming blank page syndrome, and getting started faster

Then, consider the roles, activities, savings and business benefits that can be realized with Copilot.

  • Copilot is particularly effective for roles that analyze or handle volumes of information or data every day.
  • This can range from executives to technical analysts, to customer service or compliance teams.

Repetitive or labor-intensive tasks can be simplified through summarization and data analysis. Whether preparing for customer meetings and building presentation materials, researching and analyzing detailed reports or volumes of content, or overcoming “blank page syndrome” when starting to build content, Copilot can provide prompts, full presentations and relevant detailed responses to save time and stress.

Why it matters: The savings portion of the business case is critical for passing executive and board scrutiny.

  • The case should consider savings on existing activities, along with how the organization can grow to do more or expand into other work
  • Senior leaders or sales teams can, for example, prepare for customer meetings more quickly, focusing on the most relevant data
  • Compliance teams can review more controls and summarize content on regulatory updates more efficiently
  • Customer service, financial and technical teams can use Copilot to provide more personalized customer experiences, summarize complex requirements and reduce errors in their work

All of this leads to bottom line business benefits, such as:

  • Improved efficiency, accuracy and productivity
  • Increased revenue potential
  • Improved risk mitigation
  • Increased competitive advantage

Envision, advise, implement

The final, critical piece of the business case should be considering how the organization will carry out best practices for mitigating risks to successfully carry out governance controls with the introduction of Copilot.

As mentioned, Copilot respects the permissions and role-based access controls already applied to your content. Yet, we still see organizations that do not have those types of controls effectively in place. It is important to clean up the Microsoft 365 environment and implement strong information governance controls in general to mitigate the risks of overexposure of sensitive data.

We recommend the following best practices to mitigate risks:

  • Assess and remediate how permissions and data access are managed in Microsoft 365
  • Establish a framework for information architecture, permissions management and retention
  • Classify and protect data with a solution like Microsoft Purview Information Protection and Data Loss Prevention
  • Develop mandatory training to help users understand best practices for storing, sharing and collaborating in Microsoft 365

Finally, we recommend developing a strong Copilot for Microsoft 365 adoption program, including how to interact with Copilot, what makes a good prompt and how to best validate all responses provided by Copilot before they are actioned. Microsoft offers an excellent Copilot adoption guide that provides communication and adoption tools, along with prompt engineering guidance that most organizations need to effectively use this tool. Refer to https://adoption.microsoft.com/copilot for more information on the Microsoft Copilot Adoption Guide.

As a Microsoft AI Cloud Solutions Partner and a member of the Copilot Jumpstart Program, Protiviti is uniquely qualified to help organizations get started with Copilot for Microsoft 365. In partnership with Microsoft, we developed the Copilot for Microsoft 365 Blueprint, a program to jumpstart the path toward digital transformation and enhanced productivity. To learn more and get started, click here.

Overall, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a powerful tool that can help organizations improve productivity, enhance skills and share knowledge more effectively. With its AI-powered capabilities and seamless integration with the Microsoft 365 suite, Copilot is a game-changing tool for organizations looking to improve efficiency and competitiveness.

To learn more about Copilot for Microsoft 365 or our other Microsoft solutions, contact us.

Corey Harrison

Managing Director
Technology Consulting - Microsoft

Antonio Maio

Managing Director
Technology Consulting - Microsoft

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