Microsoft 365 Copilot Goes GA, Bringing GenAI To Enterprise Customers
Wade Tyler Millward
‘Your data hygiene is so much more, now, necessary,’ Network Solutions Provider CEO Phil Walker says.
Tuesday marks the first day of general availability for Microsoft 365 Copilot for enterprise customers, meaning partners can finally quote the product for customers and usher in more access to Microsoft’s generative artificial intelligence tools.
The GenAI tool is available worldwide across public clouds, with a timeline for sovereign clouds upcoming, according to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.
Solution providers can help customers buy M365 Copilot through Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA), EA Subscription (EAS) and Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA). Customers must buy at least 300 seats of M365 Copilot to use it. M365 Copilot costs $30 a user a month, putting the cost for one organazation a year at $108,000.
Microsoft 365 Copilot
M365 Copilot offers through direct, the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) and the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program (MACPP) are not yet available, according to the vendor.
“Microsoft 365 Copilot is an amazing new technology, but we are all learning together,” the vendor said in a document to help partners with customer questions about Copilot. “To ensure a smooth integration process, we’ve decided to start by introducing it to our Enterprise and SMC-Corporate customers via EA/EAS/MCA-E. This will allow us to provide additional support as they begin to utilize and incorporate it into their business operations. As we gain more insights and experience, we plan to gradually extend access to businesses of varying sizes.”
Phil Walker, CEO of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Microsoft partner Network Solutions Provider – a member of CRN’s 2023 MSP 500 – told CRN in an interview that he has not gotten to preview the GenAI tool but has been reading every review.
Still, because Copilot is a learning machine that gets better over time, Walker believes it will be a while before Copilot’s true capabilities are known.
“People are waiting for conversational AI,” Walker said. “We’re still in that narrow range because it (Copilot) still needs to learn.”
Even before Copilot increased access, Walker has fielded questions from customers around how it can improve business practices. One client requested Copilot training from Walker, saying “the companies that embraced AI were going to run faster and better than the companies that were reluctant to it or didn’t have high adoption rates.”
“And that really sparked interest in me because, not only is he correct, but the fact that he already had the mind to get his people retrained on tools – Microsoft has been trying to get people to do training for years,” he said.
The excitement around GenAI has led to more work helping customers with data lakes and cleaning data to ready them for the new technology.
“I always use the analogy of, bad input in, bad input out – that your data hygiene is so much more, now, necessary,” he said. “And a lot of people just haven’t really embraced it. ‘Oh, I need to clean my data?’ Yes.”
To get an M365 Copilot add-on, users must be licensed for the M365 E3 or E5 package, according to Microsoft.
M365 Copilot includes Copilot in multiple Microsoft productivity applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and Loop. Users also get access to M365 Chat.
M365 Copilot supports English, Spanish, Japanese, French and other languages. Copilot in Excel only supports English for now, with more languages expected in the first few months of 2024.
The next set of languages will include Arabic, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Russian, Swedish and Ukrainian.
For customers concerned about infringing on copyright claims, in September Microsoft announced a Copilot Copyright Commitment. The commitment says that Microsoft assumes “responsibility for the potential legal risks involved” if users are challenged on copyright grounds related to Copilot’s output.
In October, Microsoft opened an early access program for Security Copilot, which promises to use GenAI for better protection of organizations and speed up security team work.
Microsoft revealed some early signs of adoption for Copilot on its most recent earnings call in October.
That data included:
*More than 1 million paid GitHub Copilot users
*More than 37,000 organizations subscribed to GitHub Copilot for Business, up 40 percent quarter over quarter with significant traction outside the U.S.
*More than 126,000 organizations have used Copilot in Power Platform to date
*More than 15,000 organizations using Sales Copilot
“With copilots, we’re making the age of AI real for people and businesses everywhere,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on the call. “We are rapidly infusing AI across every layer of the tech stack and for every role of business process to drive productivity gains for our customers.”