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Copilot for Microsoft 365: are we clear on the costs and benefits? 

Stimiamo il ROI prima di acquistare le licenze!

It's official: Microsoft Copilot has been made available to everyone, both for use by private individuals subscribing to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family and for companies of any size , without the need for a minimum number of 300 users (as can also be inferred from official sources).

The cost remains the same for the basic version: $30 per month per user. Since 15 January, the Pro version has also been available, which enhances the experience and offers more advanced features, although it is more suited to meet the needs of the individual than those of an organisation (as is also pointed out in the company's blog). This latest version has been available for a few days at $20 per user per month.

What is Copilot?

Copilot is a sophisticated processing engine that combines the power of large language models (LLM) with Microsoft 365 apps and the business data contained in the Microsoft Graph. 

Its task is to provide better assistance to users through natural language and increase their productivity with its native integration into M365 applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, SharePoint and Dynamics365.  

Let's take a quick look back at the milestones in the commercialisation of Copilot:

  • Launched on November First 2023, it was initially available for a minimum of 300 user licences only to Enterprise customers subscribing to Microsoft 365 E3 or E5, Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium at a price of $30 per user per month. As an add-on licence, it is not included in the packages for which one already pays, but is made available at an additional cost.
  • Di conseguenza i clienti avevano bisogno di Microsoft 365 E3 o E5, o di Microsoft 365 Business Standard o Premium per integrare l’AI alle loro suite. Concedere la licenza per Copilot a tutti gli utenti con i pacchetti sopracitati non è proprio cheap: si calcola, infatti, che rispetto ai costi di licenza già previsti la spesa aumenterebbe del 53% per E5, dell’83% per E3, del 136% per M365 Business Premium e del 240% per M365 Business Standard. Chi ha pacchetti non inclusi tra quelli citati (ad es. F3 per il personale sul campo) e vorrebbe a tutti i costi sfruttare i vantaggi dell’AI, deve considerare anche i “costi” di migrazione: passare da F3 a M365 E3 (che è il più economico) comunque comporta un aumento del costo totale di licenza pari a 8 volte.

  • In December, the update of the 'Product Terms and Conditions' suggested that it was unsuitable for Microsoft 365 Business, but on 15 January came the announcement that Copilot was also available for small enterprises. The cost is still $30 per month per user.
  • In recent months, Copilot has been included in the availability and prerequisite tables of EA/SCE/EAS and MCA, thus officially entering the list of products available under these agreements. But even here, it must be assessed on a case-by-case basis whether the discounts and additional benefits enjoyed by companies with contracts such as Enterprise Agreements will also apply to Copilot licences, since Microsoft has spoken of a single figure per month per user for everyone.

Along with the extended marketing, Microsoft announced important news regarding the various product versions:

  • Copilot Pro: Individual premium subscription provides priority access to the latest AI models, available for $20 per user
  • Copilot in Microsoft 365 for Enterprise offers advanced features such as generating status updates based on company data and integration with applications such as Microsoft Teams
  • Copilot Studio, allows organisations to customise Copilot and build autonomous copilots
  • Copilot in Whiteboard, which facilitates brainstorming meetings in Teams

What are the costs of M365 Copilot? 

You can purchase a single licence of Copilot IN ADDITION to the following packages:

Copilot for Office 365   is available at the current price of $30 per user (for Europeans 28.10 Eur)

Another important innovation concerns Teams: Copilot M365 is also available for Business Standard EAA and Business Premium EAA subscriptions, where Teams is not included.

In the requirements for using Copilot mentioned in this presentation, reference is made to the need to have Teams available, so it must be considered whether a separate licence is needed.

As it was recently introduced, we know that in Europe Teams is available in a separate licence, so the availability of the application - at least for those who had not requested it or kept it in their previous subscriptions - will also have to be foreseen. In non-European areas, however, the problem does not exist as Teams is included in Microsoft's plans.

How we can act as a company

If you are an enterprise company considering purchasing licences for your employees, you should carefully evaluate the alternatives before activating licences for your employees. If you want to include Copilot licences in your budget, it is therefore important to carry out a return on investment report.

It is good to ask questions such as:

  • Do you want to fire all your employees?
    (consideriamo che sono sempre 30$ l’una).

The first step is surely to understand who needs it most: all white-collar workers who have M365 licences on which an additional licence for Copilot can be activated? Only certain job categories such as decision-makers or workers who need to be particularly productive in their analyses and presentations? 

As it is a new product, we are still testing its functionality, but we can go on to make considerations about applications already present in M365: if users are not already using the functionality of applications already available, we can imagine that Copilot would not bring any additional benefit.

So the first thing we recommend is to do a SAM analysis to check utilisation data in relation to allocations and users (we have also discussed this here) to understand the workflows of employees and check whether they are consistent with a possible implementation of Copilot.  

  • Are you ready for negotiation?

If indeed licences will not be subject to the discount levels of contracts, having a clear idea of one's own needs could lead to providing new levers to be more effective in demands and ask for concessions on other fronts.   

  • Have you properly assessed the technical requirements you need?

Microsoft pointed out that to access the licence all users must have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint and Exchange installed as applications: an important point, which we covered earlier in this article, is that Teams is now only available in Europe through a separate licence, which implies an additional cost on top of the Copilot licence.

In addition, you must have a OneDrive account, switch to the new Outlook for Windows and have Loop (which remains free for now, but in the future?). More in-depth information can be found in the following link, where official sources explain specifically what requirements there must be and why.

Therefore, before buying Copilot licences, make sure that thebenefit outweighs the cost: if you plan not to take full advantage of its functionality, the regularisation of technical requirements may entail new expenses.

At WEGG, we are experts in licensing and Microsoft contracts, so if your organisation is going to benefit from Copilot's functionality, we are available to assess the costs, impacts and possible utilisation scenarios associated with activating and negotiating additional licences.  

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Would you like to assess the impact of Copilot licences on your budget?