How to Connect External Data with Copilot

 

In the dynamic realm of data-driven decision-making, access to relevant, accurate, and timely data is paramount. Copilot Data Connectors are revolutionary, linking various data sources to assist in your evaluation.

This guide discusses Copilot Data Connectors. It explains how to use them, why they are important, and how they improve data workflows.

Understanding Copilot Data Connectors

 

Copilot Data Connectors are innovative tools designed to simplify and streamline data integration processes.

They help users easily access data from different sources like cloud platforms, databases, and applications. Copilot Data Connectors make it easier to retrieve and integrate data. This allows users to concentrate on gaining valuable insights rather than managing separate data sources.

 

how to connect external data with copilot graphic examples

How to Use Copilot Data Connectors

 

  1. Choose Your Data Source: Begin by identifying the data sources you wish to connect to. Copilot Data Connectors can link to a variety of sources. These include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB databases. They can also connect to cloud platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
  2. Select the Connector: Once you've identified your data sources, select the appropriate Copilot Data Connector for seamless integration. Copilot offers a diverse range of connectors tailored to specific data platforms, ensuring compatibility and efficiency.
  3. Set up connection parameters: By entering authentication details, server information, and necessary settings. This will help create a secure and dependable connection to your data source.
  4. Retrieve and Transform Data: With the connection established, leverage Copilot Data Connectors to retrieve the desired datasets. Employ advanced data transformation capabilities to cleanse, enrich, and harmonize the data according to your diagnostic requirements.

To get the latest data for analyzing and reports, you can choose to turn on Real-Time Syncing for continuous updates. This will keep your insights up-to-date with the latest data from your sources.

You can connect the data with your favorite analytical tools. These tools include business intelligence dashboards, machine learning models, and custom applications. This allows for seamless integration and analyzing.

Why Connecting Your Data is Important

Integrating external data with Copilot extends the scope of analyzing, enabling organizations to gain a holistic view of their operations, customers, and competitive landscape.

 

Here's why connecting external data with Copilot is crucial:

 

Enhanced Context and Insights

External data sources provide valuable context that enriches internal datasets. Companies can improve their understanding of customers, competition, and opportunities by using external information.

This information can include market trends, consumer behavior, and industry standards. By analyzing this data, companies can gain insights into what customers desire and potential risks they may face.

 

Better decision-making

Having access to different types of outside information helps make decisions based on real-world situations. Organizations can make better decisions by using external data. For example, they can adjust marketing plans based on social media feedback.

They can also enhance supply chain operations with weather predictions. Ultimately, this leads to improved business results. This leads to better business results.

 

Predictive Analytics and Forecasting

External data often contains signals and patterns that can enhance predictive analytics and forecasting models. Companies can improve their predictive models by using outside information such as economic data, population trends, and global events.

This can make their models more accurate and reliable. As a result, companies can plan and manage risks more effectively. This helps with planning and managing risks more effectively.

 

Competitive Advantage

Leveraging external data can provide a competitive edge by uncovering hidden opportunities or early warning signs of potential risks.

By using Copilot, organizations can stay ahead by spotting market trends early and tracking competitors online. Integrating external data helps them stay ahead of the competition.

 

Innovation and Adaptability

External data integration fosters innovation by enabling organizations to tap into new sources of insights and inspiration. Companies can find new market groups by analyzing data from outside sources. Additionally, they can generate new ideas for products and services.

 

Comprehensive Risk Management

External data sources play a critical role in risk management by providing early indicators of potential risks and vulnerabilities.

With Copilot, companies can use external data to anticipate and manage risks like supply chain problems and regulatory shifts. This helps prevent issues from getting worse.

Organizations can use Copilot to connect external data sources. This allows them to access a variety of data-driven insights. You can use these insights for decision-making, planning, and innovation.

By doing this, organizations can enhance their logical capabilities. Organizations can use outside data to discover new opportunities, lower risks, and stay ahead in today's fast-paced environment.

How Copilot Data Connectors Drive Seamless Data Connection

 

Efficiency and Productivity

Copilot Data Connectors streamline the data integration process, reducing manual effort and time spent on data preparation tasks. This efficiency enables data teams to focus on higher-value activities such as analyzing, modeling, and strategic decision-making.

 

Data Accessibility and Modification

By bridging data silos and simplifying access to disparate data sources, Copilot Data Connectors democratize data access across organizations. Business users, analysts, and data scientists can get the data they need without needing specialized technical skills.

Connecting external data with Copilot enables you to grow with your changing data needs, providing scalability and flexibility. Whether you're dealing with small-scale datasets or massive data volumes, Copilot's robust infrastructure ensures seamless growth and performance.

Copilot Data Connectors provide real-time insights for organizations. They help organizations access fresh data quickly. This allows them to make decisions faster. It also helps them respond promptly to market changes.

 

Ability and Affinity

Copilot Data Connectors support a wide range of data platforms and formats, ensuring compatibility with your existing infrastructure and tools. This interoperability eliminates data silos and fosters a cohesive data ecosystem within your organization.

 

In conclusion, Copilot Data Connectors represent a paradigm shift in data integration, offering unparalleled efficiency, accessibility, and scalability.

Your organization can use connector tools to easily connect data with Copilot for maximum data utilization. This helps them innovate and strategically grow in today's data-focused environment.

Expanding Copilot for Microsoft 365 to businesses of all sizes

 

Our vision for Microsoft Copilot is to bring the power of generative AI to everyone across work and life. Customers like Visa, BP, Honda, and Pfizer, and partners like Accenture, KPMG, and PwC are already using Copilot to transform the way they work, and 40% of the Fortune 100 participated in the Copilot Early Access Program.

We are updating our Microsoft Copilot product line-up with a new Copilot Pro subscription for individuals; expanding Copilot for Microsoft 365 availability to small and medium-sized businesses; and announcing no seat minimum for commercial plans—making Copilot generally available to individuals, enterprises, and everyone in between.

Read on for all the details.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 enables users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.

Updates to our Copilot product line-up

First, we are announcing an update to our Copilot product line-up: Copilot Pro—a new Copilot subscription for individuals priced at $20 per individual per month.

Copilot Pro has foundational capabilities in a single experience that runs across your devices and understands your context on the web, on your PC, across your apps, and soon on your phone to bring the right skills to you when you need them. And it has web grounding, so it always has access to the latest information. When you’re signed into Copilot with your Microsoft Entra ID, you get commercial data protection for free—which means chat data isn’t saved, Microsoft has no eyes-on access, and your data isn’t used to train the models.

Copilot Pro provides priority access to the very latest models—starting with OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. You’ll have access to GPT-4 Turbo during peak times for faster performance and, coming soon, the ability to toggle between models to optimize your experience how you choose. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers can use Copilot in Word, Excel (currently in Preview and English only), PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote on PC, and soon on Mac and iPad. It includes enhanced AI image creation with Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) for faster, more detailed image quality as well as landscape image format. And Copilot Pro gives you the ability to build your own Copilot GPT—a pre-customized Copilot tailored for a specific topic—in our new Copilot GPT Builder (coming soon) with just a simple set of prompts.

MICROSOFT COPILOT STUDIO

Sign up for a free trial 

While Copilot Pro is our best experience for individuals, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is our best experience for organizations. Copilot for Microsoft 365 gives you the same priority access to the very latest models. You get Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams—combined with your universe of data in the Microsoft Graph. It has enterprise-grade data protection which means it inherits your existing Microsoft 365 security, privacy, identity, and compliance policies. And it also includes Copilot Studio, so organizations can customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 and build their own custom copilots and plugins as well as manage and secure their customizations and standalone copilots with the right access, data, user controls, and analytics.

Here’s a summary of the updated Copilot product line-up:

There are 9 rows of text: Foundational Capabilities, Web Grounding, Commercial Data Protection, Priority Model Access, Copilot in Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, Copilot in Teams, Microsoft Graph Grounding, Enterprise-Grade Data Protection, and Customization.
Click the image above to make it larger.

No seat minimum and expanded availability of Copilot for Microsoft 365—including small and medium-sized businesses

THE COPILOT SYSTEM

Watch the video 

To empower every organization to become AI-powered, we are making three changes. First, we are removing the 300-seat purchase minimum for Copilot for Microsoft 365 commercial plans. Second, we are removing the Microsoft 365 prerequisite for Copilot—so now, Office 365 E3 and E5 customers are eligible to purchase. We’re also extending Semantic Index for Copilot to Office 365 users with a paid Copilot license. Semantic Index works with the Copilot System and the Microsoft Graph to create a sophisticated map of all the data and content in your organization—enabling Microsoft 365 Copilot to deliver personalized, relevant, and actionable responses. Third, we are excited to announce that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now generally available for small and medium-sized businesses—from solopreneurs running and launching their first business to 300-person fast-growing startups. If you are using either Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 for $30 per user per month.1

Small and medium-sized businesses are the heart of every community and the lifeblood of local economies. They have an outsized impact on the world and markets they support—in the United States, this category accounts for 99.9% of business and employs nearly half of the workforce.2

These businesses stand to gain the most from this era of generative AI—and Copilot is uniquely suited to meet their needs. Small and medium-sized business owners report that communicating with customers takes up most of their time (66%), with managing budgets (50%) and administrative tasks (48%) not far behind.3 Copilot for Microsoft 365 can help reduce this daily grind, giving business owners valuable time back to focus on what matters most: growing their business. And with the Microsoft Copilot Copyright Commitment, small business owners can trust that they are working with a reliable partner. Small and medium-sized business customers that have Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium can learn how to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 via our website or by contacting a partner.

We have been learning alongside small and medium-sized business customers in our Copilot Early Access Program. Here’s what they’re saying about how Copilot for Microsoft 365 is already transforming their work.

“I love that it’s in our environment. It’s able to cross-pollinate and gather information from all of the data we’ve got in Microsoft 365. As a business owner, that’s really important to me because it keeps our people working inside our systems.”

James Hawley, CEO and Founder at NextPath Career Partners

“I do believe that there isn’t a single job position in the company that won’t benefit in some way from Copilot being available to them.”

Alex Wood, Senior Cloud Engineer at Floww

“Copilot accurately summarizes the call and meeting notes in minutes. That’s not just faster, it means callers can add more value to the discussion rather than just take notes.”

Philip Burridge, Director, Operations and Strategy at Morula Health

Empowering partners to help every customer become AI-powered

Commercial customers—including small and medium-sized businesses—can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 through our network Cloud Solution Provider partners (CSPs). This means Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now available across all our sales channels. CSPs have served as trusted advisors to their customers, unlocking profitability for businesses and expanding their own capabilities. Learn more about Cloud Solution Provider partners.

Next steps for Microsoft 365

These announcements come just one month after we announced that we are making Copilot for Microsoft 365 generally available to education customers with Microsoft 365 A3 or A5 faculty, and we’re expanding that to include Office 365 A3 or A5 faculty with no seat minimum. While education licenses are not yet included in the CSP expansion announced today, we will share updates in the coming months. It’s all part of our vision to empower everyone—from individuals to global enterprises—for an AI-powered world.

Learn more about Microsoft Copilot and visit the Copilot for Work site for actionable guidance on how you can start transforming work with Copilot today.

Learn more about how Copilot for Microsoft 365 for small and medium-sized businesses, including next steps licensing and technical requirements, and get familiar with Copilot capabilities.

Visit WorkLab for critical research and insights on how generative AI is transforming work.

a close up of an umbrella

Microsoft Copilot

Copilot helps you achieve things like never before using the power of AI.


1Copilot for Microsoft 365 may not be available for all markets and languages. To purchase, enterprise customers must have a license for Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 or Office 365 E3 or E5, and business customers must have a license for Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium.

Copilot is currently supported in the following languages: English (US, GB, AU, CA, IN), Spanish (ES, MX), Japanese, French (FR, CA), German, Portuguese (BR), Italian, and Chinese Simplified. We plan to support the following languages (in alphabetical order) over the first half of 2024: Arabic, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (PT), Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

2U.S. Small Business Administration. (2023). Frequently Asked Questions.

3Wakefield Research. (2023). Microsoft study: Small businesses intrigued by AI and the opportunities it brings.

5 Strategies to Help Organizations Tackle Software Sprawl

Maximize your ROI on the technology you need.

“SaaS sprawl is a natural consequence of the SaaS revolution. An analysis of Okta’s 2020 customer database revealed that companies employing 2,000 or more individuals maintained an inventory of 175 SaaS apps on average”TechCrunch

number of apps used by large companies graph

The infamous phenomenon that is software sprawl, occurs when the quantity of applications or software components in an environment experiences rapid growth and fluctuations, leading to a substantial rise in complexity and rendering traditional software management approaches ineffective.

In the fast-paced world of technology, businesses often find themselves grappling with the challenges of uncontrolled proliferation of software applications across an organization. Suffice to say that this seemingly innocuous issue can significantly impact Return on Investment (ROI) if left unaddressed.

In this blog, we explore how software sprawl negatively affects ROI and highlight 5 powerful strategies for optimizing software licensing through consolidation, expert guidance and licensing discounts.

 

The Hidden Costs of Software Sprawl

Walk Me’s 2022 - 2023 State of Digital Adoption Report showed that large enterprises are spending over $246 million pursuing strategic goals with digital transformation, IT and software spend being the majority portion.

Surveys from this same report showed that large enterprises spend an estimate of over $104 million on their digital transformation and software.

On average, businesses deploy 89 different applications, with enterprises having as many as 187. However, 30% of these apps are either duplicative or provide no evident value.

These findings conclude that many businesses are overspending by millions on software they don’t even need.

 

Furthermore, with the complexity and rapid growth of organizational software usage, hidden costs can arise for several reasons, such as:

 

Saas waste proliferates graphic on wasted money on software

Redundancy and Overlapping Functionality

Multiple software tools with overlapping features can lead to redundancy, increasing operational costs without providing proportional benefits.

 

Inefficient workflows

Workers toggle between different applications approximately 1,200 times a day, resulting in nearly four hours of wasted productivity weekly and increased frustration leading to higher turnover rates.

 

Licensing Expenses

Unmanaged software sprawl often results in unnecessary licensing expenses, as organizations may invest in more licenses than required for their actual usage.

 

Integration Challenges

Disparate software systems may struggle to integrate seamlessly, causing increased IT support costs and further workflow disruptions as previously mentioned.

 

Building a Strategic Approach

In the pursuit of organizational efficiency and streamlined operations, consider these five key strategies to optimize your software ecosystem:

 

How Managed Solution Can Help

As seasoned veterans of successful digital transformation projects, we help ensure you have the software you need with a measurable return on investment. By leveraging our team you free your company from the clutches of software sprawl through the following advantages:

  • Consolidation for Efficiency: Streamline your software ecosystem by identifying and consolidating redundant applications, ensuring that each tool serves a unique and necessary purpose.

 

  • Leveraging Expertise: Seek the expertise of IT professionals to conduct thorough software audits, helping you understand usage patterns, license requirements and opportunities for consolidation.

 

  • Holistic Management: Implementing a comprehensive approach to the management of your software allows for centralized control and monitoring of your software environment, optimizing performance and ensuring compliance with licensing agreements.

 

  • Strategic Collaboration with Vendors: Engage in proactive discussions with software vendors to negotiate favorable licensing terms, considering factors like volume discounts and flexible payment options.

 

  • Regular Review and Updates: Stay informed about changes in software usage patterns and technology trends. Regularly review your software portfolio to identify opportunities for further optimization.

 

Centralized Control

Managed Solution provides a centralized platform for overseeing software assets, enabling efficient monitoring, updates, and compliance management.

 

Cost Optimization

By leveraging our experts, Managed Solution can facilitate the consolidation and efficient management of software applications. Our proactive approach empowers organizations to negotiate more favorable licensing deals, capitalizing on volume discounts and ultimately optimizing costs associated with software usage.

 

Expert Guidance

At Managed Solution, we have mastered the art of analyzing our client’s software environments to build better strategies and provide ample guidance and resources to maximize their cost efficiencies.

 

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Managed Solution will enforce security protocols and ensure compliance with licensing agreements, reducing the risk of legal and financial consequences.

 

Learn More

Tackling software sprawl is a strategic imperative when building a robust ROI for your technology. Through consolidation, expert guidance and licensing discounts, organizations can not only cut unnecessary expenses but also enhance efficiency, security, and compliance.

If you would like to learn more about how Managed Solution can help you overcome the costs of software sprawl, chat with one of our experts here.

The Era of AI-Powered Productivity

How is your business preparing for AI?

The way we now work—defined by an era of digital transformation—is evolving at such a pace that keeping up has become a challenge for many organizations. Business leaders are recognizing the enormous opportunity that modern work solutions like AI tools present and are now exploring ways to use them to their best advantage.

That means implementing AI in a way that allows employees to be more engaged and productive, focusing on the work that matters most.

AI helps your employees offload time-consuming tasks by jumpstarting the creative process, analyzing trends, and summarizing email threads and key discussion points from meetings. Less time spent on more tedious tasks grants employees the freedom to focus on the work that matters most.

Organizations that made employee engagement a top priority have performed twice as well financially as businesses that deprioritized an engaged workforce (2). And AI is poised to empower employees to be more engaged through opportunities for creativity, skill building, and increased productivity.

Discover What’s Possible with AI

Imagine a workforce driven by the powerful combination of irreplaceable human ingenuity and skill with the innovative capabilities of a secure, user-friendly AI system. With the right tools and mindset, any organization can embrace the transformation to an AI-powered workforce.

 

Responsible AI Practices

With all the potential that working with AI holds, it’s critical to remember to take an approach of preparing for AI that prioritizes fairness, transparency, and accountability. Microsoft is a leader in the development and implementation of AI systems, which includes creating guidance on principles and best practices for responsible AI use—and ensuring those principles are at the foundation of Microsoft’s AI technology. Only with responsible AI implementation can your organization unlock the full potential of what’s possible with AI.

 

preparing for AI Microsoft copilot blog image

Credit: Microsoft

AI Readiness

How do you know your organization is prepared for AI?

The platform shift to AI isn’t one that can be made without clear leadership and focused investment. Implementing AI technology can be complex, especially without a well-defined plan in place. It requires a culture of productivity and collaboration, a secure foundation for endpoint management, and the willingness to embrace change in order to outpace it.

What does AI readiness look like? An organization ready to embrace AI understands its potential as a strategic asset, how it can be used to benefit the business, and the ability to guide employees and customers in responsible AI practices.

Assessing your readiness level is the first step toward transforming your organization into one that can outpace the changes and challenges of this new era of working with next-generation technologies like AI.

 

Assessment: Evaluating Your AI readiness

To help you begin the transformation to an AI-powered organization, we’ve compiled a quiz with questions aimed at evaluating readiness level.

The quiz is in five parts and assesses your organization's:

  • Relationship to change and productivity
  • Relationship to AI
  • Willingness to use AI
  • Investment and funding abilities
  • Endpoint management and security capabilities

Choose the answer that sounds most like where your organization currently stands and keep a tally of your answers as you go. At the end of the quiz, you’ll be able to estimate whether your organization is Very Ready, Almost Ready, or Needs More Guidance in preparing for AI to begin the transformation to an AI-powered workforce.

 

Part 1: Your organization’s relationship to change and productivity

Rate your organization’s openness to change and innovation.

  1. Very open: We welcome and seek out opportunities for change and innovation.
  2. Somewhat open: We approach opportunities for change and innovation with caution.
  3. Not very open: We don’t take on many opportunities for change and innovation.

How confident are you that your current technology empowers your employees to be productive?

  1. Very confident: Our technology greatly improves employee productivity
  2. Somewhat confident: Our technology somewhat improves employee productivity.
  3. Not very confident: Our technology does not support employee productivity

 

Part 2: Your organization’s relationship to AI

How fundamental is AI to the success of your business?

  1. Very important: AI will greatly improve the success of our business.
  2. Somewhat important: AI will support the success of our business, but it isn’t necessary.
  3. Not very important: AI would be beneficial in other ways but won’t affect the success of our business.

Rate your employees’ current willingness to adopt new technologies, including AI

  1. Very willing: Employees are excited to learn about and use new technologies like AI.
  2. Somewhat willing: Employees are cautiously optimistic about new technologies.
  3. Not very willing: Employees are resistant to new technologies, including AI.

 

Part 3: Your organization’s willingness to use AI

How important is it to provide secure, user-friendly AI systems to your workforce?

  1. Very important: We want our employees to be able to learn and use AI as soon as possible.
  2. Somewhat important: We’re interested in adopting user-friendly AI but want to learn more first.
  3. Not very important: User-friendly AI systems are a “nice-to-have” but not currently a priority.

How much, if at all, has your organization’s leadership bought into the business value of AI-powered tools?

  1. All in: Our leadership is ready and willing to begin transitioning to AI-powered tools.
  2. Somewhat in: Leadership understands the importance of AI but needs some convincing on the business value of adopting it.
  3. Not at all in: Our leadership doesn’t understand the importance or value of AI just yet

 

Part 4: Investment and funding

How strong is your investment in change management and training to support the transition to AI-powered processes and systems?

  1. Very strong: We could begin the transition immediately.
  2. Somewhat strong: We could begin the transition soon but have some challenges to overcome first.
  3. Not very strong: We need a lot of support and training in preparing for AI before we can begin the transition.

Does your organization have funding for deploying and implementing a secure, user-friendly AI system?

  1. Fully funded: Our organization is ready and able to invest in AI technologies.
  2. Some funding: Our organization can afford to transition, but leadership is unsure the benefit outweighs the cost.
  3. No funding: We’re working toward a place where we can invest in AI technologies, but we’re not quite there yet.

 

Part 5: Endpoint management and security capabilities

How confident are you in your organization’s current endpoint management capabilities to enable employees that are preparing for AI to help them do their best work, regardless of where they work and what device they use?

  1. Very confident: Our endpoint management capabilities allow employees to work where and how they feel they can be most successful.
  2. Somewhat confident: Our endpoint management capabilities are stable for certain experiences but could be improved.
  3. Not very confident: We need a better system to support endpoint management for employees working anywhere and from any device.

Rate your organization’s current security foundation for enabling AI-powered work from any endpoint.

  1. Very secure: Our systems are built on a robust security foundation and support our strong endpoint management capabilities.
  2. Somewhat secure: We have strong security systems but aren’t confident they can support the additional requirements of using AI-powered tools.
  3. Not very secure: We need a more secure system to protect our organization’s data and ensure our employees can confidently work from anywhere.

 

Results

 

Mostly A’s: Very Ready (GREAT NEWS)

Your organization has put the work in preparing for AI and true transformation is underway. The Microsoft 365 team is excited to help you move forward. A couple of key notes for Very Ready organizations:

  • If you already have Microsoft 365, your organization has a head start, as it’s required to implement Copilot.
  • If you haven't deployed Microsoft 365 yet, we can help make that happen so your organization is set up with a Zero Trust foundation and strong endpoint management capabilities.

Having that baseline productivity in place will enable your employees to start exploring the benefits of Copilot as soon as possible. You can find a link to get started at the end of this blog.

 

Mostly B’s: Almost Ready (GOOD NEWS)

Your organization is nearly there. Like Very Ready organizations, your Almost Ready business should consider deploying Microsoft 365, if you haven’t already. Help your employees learn their way around Microsoft 365 now so that it's easier for them to adopt the AI integrations down the road.

A couple of notes for Almost Ready organizations:

  • As you continue preparing for AI, there is a wealth of guidance online to help you familiarize your teams with Microsoft AI capabilities before deploying the tools.
  • Microsoft 365 representatives are available to help you understand what steps specific to your organization will take you from Almost Ready to Very Ready

 

Mostly C’s: Need More Guidance (IT'S OKAY)

It sounds like your organization could benefit from personalized guidance on implementing AI tools. For more information on the requirements and benefits of a secure, user-friendly AI system, Microsoft can help!

A couple of notes to get organizations that Need More Guidance started:

  • Speak to a Microsoft 365 representative to learn more about the benefits of adopting Microsoft 365 so your organization can build a foundation that will get you Very Ready for AI transformation.
  • Visit the Microsoft AI homepage for a number of resources on responsible AI principles, specific AI capabilities, and guidance on how to build an AI ready organization.

 

Next steps

Unlock the potential of AI with Microsoft 365 and Copilot

An organization that is preparing for AI and ready to unlock all that's possible, has a strong foundation in security, streamlined endpoint management, and an openness to innovation that improves productivity. With Microsoft 365, your organization can achieve those checkpoints with one complete solution.

With Microsoft 365, your organization's technology landscape will be grounded in Zero Trust, ensuring a secure foundation for all of your endpoints, no matter where access is coming from. A Zero Trust security foundation in turn makes endpoint management safer and less complex, so you can efficiently grant employees access to all the tools they need to be more productive than ever.

Microsoft offers decades in future forward technology expertise, and that experience is built into the features that make Microsoft 365 so powerful. Now, with Copilot, your organization can extend the capabilities of Microsoft 365 even further.

Microsoft 365 delivers a secure, productive working experience. With Copilot, it becomes an intuitive, next-generation productivity partner that works alongside your employees, empowering them to collaborate and work more efficiently to become more productive contributors to business outcomes.

Copilot can empower your team to tap into the rich functionality available throughout Microsoft 365, making employees better at what they’re already good at and mastering what they’ve yet to learn. It integrates seamlessly with the apps your teams already use and is designed to unlock their untapped potential.

Ultimately, Copilot elevates the powerful capabilities of Microsoft 365 to enhance your workforce’s productivity, creativity, and skills—benefits your organization can experience when you make the transformation to AI.

 

What can Microsoft 365 with Copilot do for your organization?

  • Secure any endpoint with robust protocols grounded in Zero Trust
  • Automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks so employees can focus on more meaningful work
  • Reduce your organization’s software footprint
  • Lower costs of deployment and implementation
  • Improve employee productivity and engagement
  • Drive higher financial performance and positive business outcomes

 

Ready to see what Microsoft 365 Copilot can do for your organization? Learn more.

 

 

Sources: 1 “Will AI Fix Work?” Work Trend Index, May 9, 2023. Microsoft. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/ work-trend-index/will-ai-fix-work. 2 “The New Performance Equation in the Age of AI.” Work Trend Index, April 20, 2023. Microsoft. https://www. microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/the-new-performance-equation-in-the-age-of-ai. 3 “A Whole New Way of Working.” Work Trend Index. Microsoft. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/ai[1]a-whole-new-way-of-working.

©2023 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This document is provided “as-is.” Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet website references, may change without notice.

New Microsoft Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

While the past 20 months have been challenging for all organizations, I don’t know any that have been hit harder than small businesses. They’ve had to adapt nearly every aspect of how they operate and work with customers, often without access to critical tools and technologies. The world isn’t going back to the “old” way of working, so small businesses need solutions that are designed specifically for their unique needs to thrive in this new normal.

Today we’re excited to introduce Microsoft Teams Essentials. It’s the first standalone offering of Microsoft Teams designed specifically with small businesses in mind. It brings together features small businesses need to serve customers, including unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring. And at only $4 USD per user per month, it’s the most affordable all-in-one solution in the market today.

Teams Essentials is built for small businesses

With Teams Essentials, small businesses from restaurants to retailers to professional services can easily meet, collaborate, communicate, and serve customers in new ways. Take Bristol Dental Specialists, a United Kingdom-based practice that began using Teams last year. From virtual consultations to collaboration with colleagues, the Bristol team delivers faster, friendlier, and more cost-effective patient care with Teams.

“Communication is so important, and with Teams, we’re working together better than ever to provide patients with a standard of care that sets us apart.”—Rebecca Metcalfe, Senior Treatment Coordinator, Bristol Dental Specialists

The need for affordable communications tools isn’t limited to traditional for-profit small businesses. Nonprofits, religious organizations, schools, and community groups also struggle to connect and collaborate effectively. These organizations and small businesses need to get up and running fast, and Teams Essentials makes it possible with no IT expertise necessary. Teams Essentials enables those with and without a Teams account to participate easily and effectively. While the free version of Microsoft Teams is still available, Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage. Let’s take a closer look at how Teams Essentials can support your needs.

Expansive meeting limits and easy-to-use features let you host professional meetings

Meeting up to 300 participants on a group call
Shared default Google calendar integration.

Working closely with customers and partners can be a challenge for any business without the right communication tools. Teams Essentials brings existing Teams capabilities together with features specifically designed for small businesses and community groups:

  •  Extended meeting times—With meetings that can last up to 30 hours, there’s no need to worry about your Teams Essentials meeting running over its time limit, whether you’re meeting one-on-one or in a group.
  •  Large meeting capacity—With the ability to host up to 300 people at once, Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring everyone into the same virtual room.
  • Calendar integration—In addition to integration with Outlook Calendar, the new Google Calendar integration in Microsoft Teams means you can use your existing calendaring tool to stay on top of schedules and manage your meetings. *Google Calendar integration coming soon.
  • Simple, easy invitations—Inviting people to a meeting is easy. Simply add them to the Teams meeting invitation using their email address. They will receive a meeting invitation with a link to join. And if they don’t have Teams, the meeting will open directly in their browser. No sign-up, sign-in, or installation required.
  • Interactive meetings—Professional meeting tools and capabilities like meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, live closed captions, live reactions, and more allow any organization to host engaging meetings.

With the ability to connect existing tools and store content in one place, it’s easy to stay organized

Easily share files on any Teams chat
Edit and co-author files in Office web apps

Teams Essentials simplifies communications for small businesses and community groups with a single solution for chat and meetings—saving time, and most importantly, keeping meetings and conversations in context. It includes tools to work effectively with anyone, including Office web apps, file sharing, group chats, task management, and more.

  •  Additional cloud storage—Don’t worry about running out of storage or wasting time searching for documents. Easily co-author, view, edit, and store Office 365 files. Teams Essentials offers a total of 10 gigabytes (GB) file storage, which is twice the amount of storage available in the free version of Teams.
  • Ongoing chat—All conversations in Teams are persistent, helping you to keep the conversation going so you never lose context or continuity. The conversation doesn’t end when the meeting ends.
  • Small business group chat template—Quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates, and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub, taking productivity to the next level. *Coming soon to desktop and web.
  • Chat, meet, and collaborate with anyone—Whether you are working with someone within or outside your organization, using the Teams app or dialing in, your chat and collaboration experience is kept in one place. There’s no need to jump between app experiences when you’re working on a project with an outside company.
  • Mobile chat dashboard—Just click on dashboard view in any one-on-one or group chat to conveniently access all shared content neatly organized into categories such as locations, photos, files, task lists, upcoming events, weblinks, and more. *Available for customers purchasing directly from Microsoft.

Teams Essentials offers the value and support small businesses need

Costs are top of mind for every business and community. Microsoft Teams Essentials offers the most value at the best price. And with a simplified interface that is easy to learn, it is straightforward and easy for employees to quickly be productive.

  • Get the most from your technology tools—With rich communications features at the lowest cost in the market, at $4 per user per month, Teams Essentials offers outstanding value for small companies and community groups.
  • Support from Microsoft—Teams Essentials is backed by Microsoft and runs in the Azure cloud. This means security, reliability, performance, and support. Microsoft is here to help with the technology you need—within your budget.

How to buy Teams Essentials

Microsoft Teams Essentials is available from a variety of Microsoft Cloud Partners including some of the most recognized names in the industry:

ALSOCrayonIngramPax8RhipeTD SynnexTelefonica (ES)Deutsche TelekomVodafone (IT)Wortmann AG.

Microsoft Cloud Partner logos

Customers worldwide can also purchase Teams Essentials direct from Microsoft.

Customers looking to use Microsoft Teams for personal use can get access to these same features and extended meeting limits with a Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal subscription.

Microsoft is committed to providing small businesses with technologies that power their core needs. That’s why we built Teams Essentials and recently announced expanded security offerings for small and medium businesses with Microsoft Defender for Business, designed to help small businesses protect against ransomware and other cyberthreats. With Teams Essentials, we are excited to take another step in our commitment and enable small businesses to collaborate securely from virtually anywhere.

Get started with Microsoft 365

Help people and teams do their best work with the apps and experiences they rely on every day to connect, collaborate, and get work done from anywhere. Chat with one of our Microsoft Specialized experts today to get started.

Upcoming Free Microsoft 365 Workshops for SMBs

Be sure to register for one of our upcoming workshops to dive into Microsoft 365 and unleash its full potential to boost your ROI in all of your operational endeavors.

Join us Oct. 25th or November 15th

REGISTER HERE

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