The 190 Million Seat MSP Opportunity – Copilot for Microsoft 365

In 2024, we are poised for a transformative year as AI transitions from consumer excitement to competitive business advantage. Just as MSPs made strategic decisions around security and cloud, Partners now face the challenge of defining their role in this new wave of innovation. This is underscored by Microsoft sharing with partners that the AI transformation opportunity is approximately 190 million addressable seats. Follow along as we explore the steps to get ahead in harnessing the potential of AI and offer insight to those aiming to transform AI excitement into an MSP growth opportunity.

New call-to-action

Copilot for Microsoft 365 – Now Available for SMBs!

On January 16th, Microsoft surprised the MSP community by launching Copilot for Microsoft 365 to Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Partners and lowering the minimum requirements to Microsoft 365 Business Standard. This has enabled SMBs to leverage AI today and heightened the urgency on how Partners will address AI readiness this quarter to take advantage of the CSP renewal momentum.

Today, the business landscape is rapidly evolving, with 92% of technical professionals and decision-makers having already explored AI tools or services. Although some businesses have expressed concerns about data leakage risks when employees leverage consumer AI tools; the introduction of Copilot across both individuals and businesses adds a new dimension to AI accessibility. Therefore, understanding its unique features and distinctions across Copilot is crucial for MSPs who are seeking to navigate this evolving terrain.

What is Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot is a generative AI solution that is seamlessly integrated across the Microsoft platform. Among the numerous Copilots available by Microsoft, the following 4 are relevant to Microsoft 365 Partners:

  1. For Individuals – Copilot (Free) – Formally Bing Chat Enterprise, is available for free with an Entra ID account. This experience is most common for consumers when they leverage Microsoft Edge as their internet browser.
  2. For Individuals – Copilot Pro (Paid) – A faster version of the consumer Copilot, that connects to consumer Microsoft 365 and also allows the creation of additional GPTs for a monthly fee of $20.
  3. For Organizations – Copilot (Free) – Mirrors the consumer version but typically the Entra ID account is tied to the business’s Microsoft 365 account. It is also important to note that this version of Copilot has no access to internal business data.
  4. For Organizations – Copilot for Microsoft 365 (Paid) – For a $30 monthly commitment (charged annually), it caters to enterprise needs by providing heightened security measures and is available for purchase on Business Standard.

Your customers’ AI advantage

With 87% of businesses recognizing AI as a competitive advantage, organizations that actively test and securely integrate AI today are likely to gain a significant head start. There are many examples of how employees can take advantage of these tools, such as summarizing texts and transforming documents into presentations. While the productivity gains from AI are immense, it is important to understand that AI enablement is not just about selling and assigning the license to a customer. There is a significant amount of preparation involved to ensure your customer is AI-ready.

Building the foundation for AI success

Partners first need to assess customer readiness, which can lead to additional opportunities for revenue and growth. For example, AI presents a compelling opportunity to guide customers who are still on-premises to migrate to Microsoft 365. Alternatively, for those that meet the licensing threshold, there is a larger engagement for partners to understand who is best equipped to test Copilot internally. It is currently advised to enable a department or core team so that best practices can be shared. However, before moving to deployment or test groups, there are many additional considerations a Partner needs to make to ensure successful adoption – one key aspect being data protection.

The crucial role of data protection

As businesses delve into leveraging solutions like Copilot for Microsoft 365, data continues to emerge as their #1 asset and a key competitive differentiator. Corporate data is a fundamental building block for generative AI solutions and data risk can prevent AI from producing the best possible responses. Therefore, safeguarding this intellectual property from risks is essential to maintaining a competitive advantage and underscores the critical importance of comprehensive coverage. This is why as Partners begin to navigate AI deployment and adoption, SkyKick Cloud Backup helps to provide comprehensive data protection across Microsoft 365.

Additionally, MSPs must not only offer scalable data protection services but also engage in transparent, efficient communication. As customers integrate a new array of services within Microsoft 365 (like Copilot), proactive engagement in addressing potential data protection gaps becomes essential. By adopting these strategies, MSPs can ensure comprehensive coverage and foster a deeper sense of trust and partnership as they move their customers closer to an AI world.

Navigating the future

We are in the early stages of the next evolution in technology. While your customers will be excited to take advantage of AI in their business, there is a role for MSPs to play in deploying AI responsibly. As we move forward, there will be ample opportunity for Partners to take advantage of, and it is important to ensure that foundations like robust data protection measures are set up to ensure seamless and successful AI adoption.

Learn more about Cloud Backup