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A comprehensive guide to Microsoft Copilot versions


Johannesburg, 25 Apr 2024
The free version of Microsoft Copilot is accessible to anyone using Windows, Microsoft Edge or the Bing website.
The free version of Microsoft Copilot is accessible to anyone using Windows, Microsoft Edge or the Bing website.

As Microsoft’s generative AI platform, Copilot, continues to evolve and expand its reach, users and businesses are faced with the question of which version best suits their needs. Currently, Microsoft offers five distinct versions of Copilot: The free version, Copilot Pro, Copilot 365, Copilot Finance and Copilot Security. Each version comes with its own set of features, capabilities and pricing structures. In this press release, we’ll take an in-depth look at each version to help you make an informed decision.

Emil Henrico, CEO of ISSC Group, which positions itself as a leading IT consulting firm, shares his thoughts on the importance of choosing the right Copilot version: “In today’s fast-paced business environment, leveraging the power of generative AI can be a game-changer. However, it’s crucial to select the Copilot version that aligns with your organisation’s specific needs and budget to maximise the benefits and ROI.”

Free Microsoft Copilot

The free version of Microsoft Copilot is accessible to anyone using Windows, Microsoft Edge or the Bing website. This version pulls data from Bing searches and other aggregated information tracked by Microsoft to generate responses to user queries. While it can provide answers to general questions, it may not always deliver specific or detailed information.

Key features:

  • No cost to use.
  • Ideal for general users and small businesses.
  • Answers based on internal sources, external sources via Bing Search and various custom data sources.

Microsoft Copilot Pro

For those willing to invest $20/user/month, Copilot Pro offers priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo during peak times. This means faster response times compared to the free version, which could be crucial for businesses relying on Copilot for critical interactions. However, the current difference in response times between the free and Pro versions is minimal.

Key features:

  • $20/user/month subscription fee.
  • Priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo for accelerated performance during peak times.
  • Best suited for SMEs with a need for reliability and speed.

Microsoft Copilot 365

Copilot 365 stands apart from the free and Pro versions by utilising data generated within the host organisation to train its natural language processing (NLP) models. This allows for more controlled and tailored responses, making it an attractive option for enterprises, organisations, and SMEs with large pools of institutional data. However, this version comes at a higher cost of $30/user/month, in addition to the standard Microsoft 365 subscription.

Key features:

  • $30/user/month subscription fee (on top of Microsoft 365 subscription).
  • Utilises internally generated organisational data for NLP models.
  • Provides specific answers to specific questions.
  • Ideal for SMEs and enterprises with large data pools.

Henrico adds: “For businesses with extensive internal data, Copilot 365 can be a powerful tool. By leveraging the organisation’s own data to train the AI, the responses generated are more accurate, relevant and tailored to the company’s specific needs.”

Microsoft Copilot Finance

Microsoft Copilot Finance is designed to accelerate time to business impact for finance professionals. It surfaces insights that reduce the time spent on manual, repetitive work. Some key capabilities include:

  • Automate data reconciliation: Review transactions across systems for anomalies, risks, and unmatched data. Save and re-use customisable templates for insight that scales.
  • Streamline variance analysis.
  • Empower your collections team: Access a complete summary of customer balance history using Copilot-guided prompts and recommendations.
  • Save time on communications.
  • Access your data: Connect to your existing financial data sources, including ERP, using prebuilt connectors and Microsoft Copilot Studio.

“The finance-specific capabilities of Copilot Finance can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on repetitive tasks, allowing finance professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives,” says Henrico.

Microsoft Copilot Security

Microsoft Copilot Security helps protect at the speed and scale of AI with a generative AI-powered assistant. It is now generally available. Key benefits include:

  • Catch what others miss: Summarise vast data signals into key insights to cut through the noise, detect cyber threats before they cause harm and reinforce your security posture.
  • Outpace adversaries.
  • Strengthen team expertise.

Copilot Security integrates with various Microsoft security products such as:

  • Microsoft Sentinel
  • Microsoft Defender XDR
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Defender Threat Intelligence
  • Microsoft Entra
  • Microsoft Purview
  • Microsoft Defender External Attack Surface Management

Studies have shown that using Copilot, security analysts were up to 26% faster across tasks, novice analysts were 44% more accurate, and over 93% of users wanted to use Copilot again.

Henrico comments: “In an era where cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated, Copilot Security can be a valuable asset for organisations looking to enhance their security posture. The ability to detect threats faster and more accurately can make a significant difference in preventing breaches and minimising damage.”

Microsoft Copilot for Security pricing starts at $4 per hour for provisioned Security Compute Units (SCUs), with an estimated monthly cost of $2 920 for 1 SCU provisioned 24/7.

Choosing the right version

When deciding which version of Microsoft Copilot is right for you or your organisation, consider the following factors:

  1. Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to invest in Copilot and whether the additional features of the paid versions justify the cost.
  2. Use case: Assess your needs and expectations from generative AI. If general answers suffice, the free version may be adequate. However, if you require specific, detailed and fast responses, consider the paid options. Copilot Finance and Copilot Security cater to specific industry needs.
  3. Data sources: Evaluate the nature of your data and whether utilising internal data sources (as with Copilot 365) would provide more relevant and accurate responses for your organisation.
  4. Organisational readiness: Implementing Copilot 365 effectively requires a shift in mindset regarding data compartmentalisation and accessibility. Ensure your organisation is prepared for this change before investing in the platform.

Henrico concludes: “Selecting the right Copilot version is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organisation’s productivity, efficiency and overall success. By carefully evaluating your needs, budget and readiness, you can make an informed choice that unlocks the full potential of generative AI for your business.”

As generative AI continues to advance, it’s crucial for businesses and users to familiarise themselves with the capabilities and limitations of platforms like Microsoft Copilot. By understanding the differences between the available versions and carefully considering your needs, you can make an informed decision that best serves your interests and sets you up for success in the evolving AI landscape.

Role-specific Copilots: Tailoring AI assistance for specialised tasks

In addition to the general Copilot capabilities, Microsoft also offers role-specific Copilots for specific tasks and projects related to roles and domains. These tailored AI assistants are designed to provide specialised support and enhance productivity within specific roles.

Microsoft Sales Copilot (available)

Microsoft Sales Copilot, now generally available, is a cloud-based service that integrates with your existing CRM system. It provides real-time guidance and insights throughout the sales cycle, helping you identify the best prospects, prioritise actions, optimise communication and track progress.

Sales Copilot automatically generates summaries and reports on status, progress and key changes from your CRM in Microsoft 365 apps. It offers features like lead scoring, action recommendations, conversation intelligence and deal tracking. Copilot for Sales costs $40 USD per user per month, including a Microsoft Copilot license for Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Copilot for Service (available in Q1 2024)

Microsoft Copilot for Service, targeted for general availability in Q1 2024, will help improve service experiences and empower agents with generative AI. It connects to your data sources and provides a copilot for agents in the tools they use daily.

Copilot for Service can access your knowledge, customise to your needs, embed in your tools of choice and fuel generative AI-powered conversations. The pricing is $50 USD per user per month and includes Copilot for Microsoft 365.

GitHub Copilot for Development (available)

GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered tool that generates code suggestions based on context and intent. Powered by OpenAI Codex, it understands natural language and code syntax, adapting to your coding style and preferences. GitHub Copilot works with various languages and frameworks.

GitHub Copilot is available in different pricing tiers, including a free plan, an individual plan at $10/month, and an enterprise plan with custom pricing.

Customising Copilot with Microsoft Copilot Studio and Azure AI Studio

Microsoft Copilot Studio and Azure AI Studio are powerful tools that allow you to customise your Copilot experience.

Copilot Studio (available)

Microsoft Copilot Studio enables you to create and customise Microsoft Copilots using natural language or a graphical interface. You can design, test, and publish copilots that suit your specific needs for internal or external scenarios across your work and life.

Copilot Studio subscription is priced at $200 USD per month, allowing for up to 25 000 messages, with the option to purchase additional messages as needed.

Azure AI Studio (preview)

Azure AI Studio lets you create innovative AI solutions using language models, computer vision, speech and natural language processing. You can build your own custom Copilot for comprehension, tasks and decisions using OpenAI’s ChatGPT model.

Azure AI Studio is currently in preview, and you can try it for free by signing up for a demo on the Azure AI Studio homepage.

Conclusion

Microsoft Copilot stands at the forefront of AI-powered productivity tools, heralding a new era of work and innovation. Its diverse applications cater to developers, business professionals and security teams, making it a transformative force in the ever-evolving technology landscape. As organisations prepare for Copilot implementation, expect a journey of increased efficiency, enhanced collaboration and a future where AI is an indispensable ally.

If you’re ready to take your productivity to the next level, it’s time to unlock the full potential of Copilot for Microsoft 365. ISSC Group, as a trusted Microsoft cloud solution provider, offers Copilot for Microsoft 365 and provides a range of services to support you in maximising its benefits. From Copilot roadmap briefings and training to managed services, ISSC Group has got you covered. With its expertise, you can confidently harness the power of Copilot and revolutionise your work process. So don’t wait any longer; be ready to head start unlocking the full potential of Copilot for Microsoft 365 by contacting ISSC Group today.