M365 Copilot: Building The Business Case

If you’re involved with IT and have begun to explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence, then you’ll probably already be aware of Microsoft Copilot. The AI assistant tool for a wide range of Microsoft products, including 365, Outlook, Bing and more, is transforming day-to-day work for a wide range of employees and job roles. As part of Microsoft’s early adopter programme for Copilot, we’ve rolled it out across a selection of our staff, and it’s been received extremely positively by experienced IT professionals and technological novices alike.

However, there is one major barrier that may stand in the way of many companies adopting 

Copilot: cost. Deploying it for businesses costs $30 per user per month, which is a sizeable price tag at a time where IT investments increasingly have to be justified in detail. Therefore, it’s vital to build a strong and compelling business case to convince the C-suite (and Finance Directors in particular) why Copilot is worth the money.

I’m William Wallace, Microsoft Alliance Manager at SCC. As SCC is a proud participant in Microsoft’s Early Adopter Program (EAP) I’ve gained first hand insight and understanding of what Copilot can deliver and how to connect its capabilities to wider business gains. From this, I’ve developed a strong plan of what a good business case for Copilot adoption should cover.

Why AI is becoming a workplace essential

It’s becoming increasingly clear that AI represents perhaps the biggest transformation in the world of business since the widespread adoption of PCs in the 1990s. Whether it’s supporting content and email creation through generative AI, or summarising meetings and notes through natural language processing and large language models, AI can help everyone, from digital natives and content creators to knowledge workers and frontline staff. 

So many businesses are already exploring tools like Copilot, and generating new levels of efficiency and productivity from it, that those who are slow in adoption will quickly fall behind in their industries. Furthermore, being able to be more efficient, agile and productive can stand any business in good stead through economically uncertain times such as these.

While every business and industry is different, there is a lot of common ground when it comes to a compelling business case for Copilot. But in general terms, I would always recommend taking into account the following:

Conduct initial research: Start with a general review of Copilot’s capabilities and features, such as reviewing Microsoft’s website, running through the various learning paths and looking at wider Microsoft content. This can help you develop a solid baseline understanding.

Evaluating business needs: From that understanding, you can then uncover your business pain points, and what you want to achieve by deploying Copilot. This could be improving employee experience to aid staff retention, or increasing competitive advantage by boosting efficiency and business resilience.

Quantifying the ROI: Accurately assessing ROI is easier once the first two points are covered, as you can better understand the use cases that improve work experience, creativity and decision-making in several different areas. Building a strong ROI case is also a lot easier now that Microsoft has dropped the requirement to purchase a minimum of 300 licences. Any business with Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium can now buy whichever number of Copilot licences they need.

Showcasing the competitive advantage: With use cases to hand, you can demonstrate the ways in which Copilot helps employees with specific strategic outcomes. Real-world examples of the difference it can make will add gravitas to your business case and improve your chances of securing the investment.

Addressing data and compliance issues: As Copilot is built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance and privacy, make sure to explain how the service will automatically inherit your organisation’s security policies and processes to ensure data protection and privacy. After this, you can then start to develop a phased implementation strategy, which is where the SCC pathfinder programme can be so helpful.

Assessing licence deployment: Profiling user types can be instrumental in determining which employees justify the investment into Copilot, and which ones don’t, in order to maximise the value of the spend. This is where the $30 per user per month has to be balanced against how much time, resource and potentially cost can be saved as a result. Copilot is not going to be a justifiable fit for every single role. For example, Microsoft Teams premium licence at $7 a month might provide increased collaboration features for high powered Teams users such as individuals who are running webinars, scheduling appointments and may need live language translation and much more. However, for users who are creating content and working with data on a daily basis for high value tasks, a $30 dollar licence will  provide a more holistic AI experience across all Microsoft 365 applications.  

Leveraging expert support: Internal training programmes are vital to ensure staff are getting the most of the tool, and therefore the investment. As one of a select number of Microsoft partners and customers who have been asked to trial Copilot, we have great insight into how it works, as well as a close relationship with Microsoft. That’s why I’d recommend our customers engage with our pathfinders to help them accelerate their business case and adoption planning.

SCC’s pathfinder programme for Copilot can give you all the expertise, training services and support programmes you need. You can make sure you match user needs to licences, maximise employee use of the technology, and demonstrate real return on investment in the long-term. Find out more on how it works here.

Ready to start discussing your journey with Copilot? Or learn more about our Microsoft-funded Pathfinder engagements? Fill in the form below and our experts will get in touch…

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