Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Why You Should Be Thinking About Microsoft Copilot

Everything You Need To Know About Copilot And How It Can Help Your Business

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered productivity tool integrated into Microsoft 365 apps that you use every day, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and others. This integration provides real-time intelligent assistance, enabling users to enhance their creativity, productivity, and skills.

Copilot was released in November 2023 with much fanfare. However, many technology professionals and IT companies felt the launch went down like a lead balloon.

This was due to lack of access and requirement by Microsoft to have a minimum user count in the Microsoft 365 tenant of 300 which left many businesses unable to access the new Copilot product.

This has now changed, and Copilot is now available to businesses of all sizes. Built on Open AI’s ChatGPT technology, Copilot uses AI to make your workflow more efficient in the Microsoft 365 suite of products.


Killer Features of Microsoft Copilot for Teams

Do you find it hard to use Microsoft Teams to take notes, keep track of tasks, and summarize meetings? You are not the only one if that's the case.

Keeping up with meetings and doing a lot of different jobs is hard for a lot of small business owners and managers. Well, we're happy to welcome you to Copilot, a brand-new AI tool that can help you get more done in your Microsoft Teams meetings.

Copilot is a smart AI helper that can answer your questions about meetings in everyday language.

You can ask Copilot to make a table with the names of the people who attended and what their roles were, as well as a summary of the meeting's goal, a list of the choices and actions taken, and a lot more.

Copilot can also make a table with a summary of the meeting and a list of tasks and who is responsible for them. This makes it easy to copy and paste the table into an email or document.

One of the best things you can do is use Copilot to go over what was talked about and what needs to be done next after the meeting.

You can focus on being present and interested in the meeting this way, and then let Copilot help you with the follow-up.

Copilot can also help you catch up on a meeting you missed (or arrived late) by outlining the main action points and results.

Some additional perks with Microsoft Teams' Copilot:

Natural language processing driven by AI - Copilot can understand your natural language questions and commands and give you answers and actions that are relevant and correct.

Self customizing - Copilot changes how it responds and acts based on your past meetings and preferences.

Access is quick and easy because Copilot is built into Microsoft Teams. This means you can use it from any computer or device. To talk to Copilot, you can also use voice or text, based on what works best for you.

All of this is why Copilot is so important for small businesses that want to get the most out of their Microsoft Teams meetings. It can save you time, cut down on mistakes, and make working together and talking to each other better.


Using Copilot for Everyday Productivity - Beyond Microsoft Teams

Have you ever wanted a personal assistant but don’t have the budget? Or maybe you’ve got a limited knowledge of Microsoft Excel and must pull out key metrics but don’t have the time to learn all the features?

Copilot works in following suite of Microsoft 365 products:

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Word

Microsoft PowerPoint

In addition to these products Copilot can be accessed via a ChatGPT style interface in Microsoft 365 Chat and from a side bar when logged into Microsoft Edge.

Here are a few examples of some of the most useful features specifically for high level work of CEO’s and business owners.

Copilot for Excel: Allows you take ask questions of the data within an excel file in natural language. Don’t know how to create a pivot table? Don’t worry just ask Copilot to create a pivot table and a relevant chat that can make the data come to life. While still in preview, Copilot in Excel shows promise in analysing and interpreting data, offering insights and summaries that could be invaluable in data-heavy environments.

Copilot for Outlook: Hhave you been on vacation and stopped reading those long email chains? Coming back into the office on Monday morning you Copilot will read a multi part email chain and summarise the key points so you don’t have to. Copilot also helps draft emails with options to customize tone and length. It's a time-saver, especially when you're aiming for a particular communication style. It's more than just drafting. Copilot offers suggestions to enhance the tone, clarity, and effectiveness of your emails.

Document Creation in Word: Imagine generating a comprehensive blog post or proposal with just a few prompts. Copilot in Word does exactly that, offering a solid foundation for your documents.

Revolutionizing PowerPoint Presentations: Copilot in PowerPoint is a standout feature. It can create full presentations, complete with slides and content, based on your input. It's a massive time-saver for anyone who frequently uses PowerPoint.

Microsoft 365 Chat: This is very similar to ChatGPT. However Copliot integrates what is known as the Microsoft Graph data of your organization – this is all the files accessible to you in SharePoint and other Microsoft 365 sources. Here’s an example of a prompt you could use: “Create a FAQ based on our vacation policy”.


Maximizing ROI with Microsoft Copilot

We propose the following action plan.

Figuring Out Who Needs Copilot

How to make Copilot cost-effective is to figure out which workers will gain the most from it. Copilot has a lot of advanced features that not everyone in your company may need. This is how you can make your choice:

Make Business Use Cases: To begin, make a list of the specific jobs and processes that Copilot can help your company do more efficiently. Among other things, this could include writing emails and papers, analysing data in Excel, and making presentations in PowerPoint.

Check Out Employee Jobs: Take a look at the jobs in your company and see which ones have tasks that Copilot can help with. For instance, marketing teams might like how quickly it can create content, and sales teams might use how well it can analyse data to make better sales reports.

Assessment of Productivity Gains: Think about how Copilot might help different jobs save time and get more done. If a tool makes a certain job much easier and faster, it might be worth the money.

Pilot Program: Get a small group of people from different areas to use a pilot program. Keep an eye on how they use it, get feedback, and figure out how it affects their work quality and productivity.

Feedback and Changes: Make smart choices about wider application based on the feedback from the pilot program. You may find that some roles gain more than others, which will help you better distribute licenses.

Using Strategy to Get the Best Returns

Once you've found the right people in your company to be Copilot testers, it's important to make sure they know how to use it correctly. Here are some ideas:

Training Sessions: Set up training sessions for some workers to learn about Copilot's features and functions.

Share your Best Ideas: Encourage workers to share any useful information they find while using Copilot. This will help create an environment where people can work together to learn.

Check-ins: Set up regular check-ins to see how the tool is being used and how it's changing the way work gets done.


Moving Forward with Microsoft Copilot

It can be pricey to buy Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, especially for small businesses. You can get the most out of your investment, though, if you carefully choose the right people and make sure they know how to use the tool. It's all about planning ahead and keeping your business goals and employees' work flows in mind.

Purchasing Copilot isn't straightforward via Microsoft's website; it involves contacting a Microsoft representative or, for partners like us, through a license provider. Once acquired and assigned to your Microsoft 365 tenant, you're all set to explore its capabilities.

So how much does Ccpilot cost? Microsoft charges $360/user per year.


Conclusion

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 can be a substantial investment, especially for small businesses. However, by carefully selecting the right users and ensuring they are well-equipped to leverage this tool, you can maximize the return on your investment. If you would like assistant with Copilot and help identifying who might use it in your company get in touch with us today.

Goodbye to IT headaches and hello to IT proficiency. Locally owned and operated, Nextworks has earned a 5-star rating on Google. We guarantee IT cohesion in 30 days or less, or your money back.

Let Nextworks help to ease your IT burden.

Lean more about Nextworks IT Managed Services.


Thursday, January 4, 2024

How to Use AI to Help Automate Your Business

Quite a few small business AI case studies have shown how beneficial artificial intelligence can be for a company. It offers more than a few benefits, letting entrepreneurs run their businesses much more efficiently.

AI helps save time, complete tasks faster, save on resources, cut down on costs, and more. While many entrepreneurs already know that, they don’t know what kind of uses AI automation for businesses offers.

There are quite a few of these, with some being much more notable than others. It’s worth diving into three of the more significant.

AI Automation for Businesses: 3 Ways it Drives Efficiencies


1. Optimize Supply Chains

Supply chains can often be some of the most difficult areas for entrepreneurs to manage. The larger a business gets, the more complicated this gets. There’ll be more and more moving parts, making it more difficult to look after. When properly hooked up, AI can help with this.

It brings in all relevant information, analyses it, and uses it to make sure everything is where it needs to be. AI can make everything more efficient by making sure you have an appropriate amount of resources on-hand, for example. Your supply chain will chug along much more easily.


2. Create Predictive Analytics

Every entrepreneur needs to future-proof their business as much as possible. There’s only a certain amount they can do, even if they have a lot of information at hand. With AI automation for businesses, this gets a lot easier. It can be used to create predictive analytics reports for your company.

These can be put to a wealth of uses, but the most important thing is it gives you an idea of what to expect. While not everything might work out exactly the way the report says, it should be in the general area. You’ll be in a better position moving forward.


3. Informed Decision-Making

The predictive analytics above can be put to more than a few uses and can be a great part of the decision-making process. That isn’t the only way AI automation for businesses can be used to inform your decision-making, however. You can use it to bring in and analyse any of the information you need to make a company decision.

Not all of this must be predictive. Instead, it can be used to analyse past information and identify trends while charting them out. You can then use this to make decisions. Seasonal sales are a great example of where this can be used.

AI Automation for Businesses: Wrapping Up

AI automation for businesses boasts more than a few minutes. It lets companies get work done much more productively while cutting down on overall costs. It can even increase overall productivity across a business.

Then there’s how cost-effective and versatile it is. As multiple small business AI case studies have shown, artificial intelligence can be put to countless uses across a company. When used right, it can have a significant impact on any business.

There’ll be countless ways to benefit from it.


CONTACT NEXTWORKS TODAY TO HELP AUTOMATE YOUR BUSINESS


Friday, December 8, 2023

A Guide for Small Businesses on How to Pick the Best VPN Service for Your Company

 

In today's digital-first business world, it's more important than ever to keep your data safe and give your employees more freedom. This means that many small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners need to add a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to their IT plan. But there are so many VPN companies out there that it can be hard to pick one that fits your business needs. You can use this piece to help you sort through all the choices and pick the best VPN service for your business.


Figuring Out What You Need from a VPN:

Before you start the decision process, you should think about what your business needs. Take a look at this:

How big your business is: What kind of VPN service you need will depend on how many people you have.

What kind of info you have: Stronger encryption and security features are needed for sensitive info.

Needs for remote access: Look at the needs of your remote workers, such as where they work and what gadgets they use.


Important things to think about:

  1. Protocols for security: Security is the most important part of any VPN service. Try to find service companies that offer a number of protocols, like OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2. Make sure they offer AES 256-bit security, which is the best available right now.
  2. Where the servers are located: Pick a service company with servers in the areas where you do business. This gives your team faster speeds and more reliable links.
  3. Performance and Dependability: A VPN can slow down your internet. This effect can be avoided with certain providers.
  4. Ease of Use: It should be easy to use your VPN. Your team may not use it as much if the ability to access is too hard to use.
  5. Price vs. Features: Look at the features and compare them to the price. When it comes to safety, remember that the cheapest choice isn't always the best.


What You Should Ask Possible Providers:

To be honest and make sure you're getting the best VPN for your business, ask these questions of possible providers:

  • Could you give me some examples of small businesses that have used your service?
  • What rules do you have in place for logs? 
  • How do you make sure that your data is safe in line with rules like GDPR and HIPAA?
  • Can your VPN handle the number of people my business expects?
  • What is your plan in case there is a security breach?


Last Thoughts:

You shouldn't rush through the process of picking the right VPN service. Do your research, try out the services if you can, and talk to the sales and support teams to fully understand what they have to offer. Remember that the right VPN service will help your business grow and stay safe.

If you would like assistance in deploying a VPN in your business get in touch with us today.



Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Microsoft's Conditional Access for Better 365 Security

Attention Small Business Owners. Have you considered the advantages of  Microsoft Azure's conditional access for your operations?

These simple and effective measures can greatly secure your Microsoft 365 accounts and data.


Get in tough with Nextworks today!


Thursday, September 21, 2023

How to Save 20% on the Cost of Microsoft 365 (for Business)

 

Microsoft 365 has been around for many years.

In that time, it has changed its name - formerly Office 365, the product has had continual improvements that have transformed many small and medium-sized businesses the world over.

One thing that’s not changed is the price. However, Microsoft put out a warning last year that they will increase the price by 10-20% in March.

The rise seems justified due to the value of the software for many in business.

There is a workaround that you can use in your business to delay this price increase for an entire year.

If you are currently using Microsoft 365 or the associated apps, then it’s worth a brief discussion with us on how we can help you lock in the old price for the next 12 months.


Get in touch with Nextworks today.


Thursday, August 31, 2023

The PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform: Nextworks' Solution for Fortifying Cyber-Resilience

In our increasingly digital world, the protection of sensitive data and personal identifiable information (PII) is a core concern for businesses of all sizes. Cyber threats are evolving every day, becoming more sophisticated and harder to spot. That's why a robust cybersecurity education has become essential. The PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform by Nextworks does just that—it provides comprehensive, top-tier education on cybersecurity.

Below, we delve into why the PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform stands out in today's Cybersecurity landscape.


Thorough, Tailored Course Content


The PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform offers a wealth of courses covering a broad spectrum—from basic online safety practices to advanced threat mitigation strategies. The content is tailored to meet specific industry needs and the unique cybersecurity threats that your business may face, making the training exceptionally relevant and practical.


Interactive Simulated Phishing Attacks


One of the standout features of our platform is the interactive, simulated phishing attacks. This practical approach allows users to experience what real-world phishing attempts look like and learn how to efficiently spot and combat them. By engaging in these simulations, users develop an invaluable first-hand understanding of phishing strategies and the nuances in detecting such threats.


Up-to-date Content


Given the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats, staying updated is crucial. The PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform ensures that users are up to speed with the latest trends in cybersecurity and emerging threats. Our team of cybersecurity experts continuously monitors changes in the threat landscape, updating our training resources accordingly.


Robust Risk Management


By empowering users with crucial cybersecurity knowledge, PII Protect enables businesses to manage potential risks more effectively. Your team will be equipped with practical skills to identify and deter a wide variety of cyberattacks.


Enhanced Employee Confidence


Proper training instils confidence in employees when it comes to managing cybersecurity threats. The PII Protect platform ensures that your team understands their crucial role in protecting digital assets, leading to more informed decision-making around potential cyber threats.


Industry Recognition and Trust


Implementing the PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform not only demonstrates your commitment to data protection but also gives you an edge in today's competitive market. The platform's comprehensive training can help your team earn industry-specific cybersecurity certifications, reinforcing your organization's reputation.


The Nextworks Commitment


Nextworks is committed to delivering top-quality IT solutions, including the PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform. With our unwavering dedication, we pledge to stand by our clients as we navigate the complex and dynamic world of cybersecurity together.


In summary, the PII Protect Cybersecurity Training Platform stands as a top-tier resource for comprehensive and relevant cybersecurity education. By partnering with Nextworks and utilizing PII Protect, businesses can arm themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to stay a step ahead in the perpetually evolving landscape of cyber threats.


"Knowledge is the first step towards powerful cybersecurity. Equip yourself with PII Protect by Nextworks and turn the digital battleground into a field of victory."


Get Started Today


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

A Step-by-Step Guide for Local Businesses to Help them Plan Their Migration from Windows Server 2012

As the owner of a local business, you know how important it is to help the community, be reliable, and stay ahead of the curve. With the end of support for Windows Server 2012 coming up in October 2023, you might feel a little lost about how to make the switch. In this post we will walk you through every step of the move, making sure you're ready for this change. The most important hint? Start planning your move now to avoid stress at the last minute and possible problems with how your business runs.

Taking a Look at Your Current IT Setup

The first step in planning your migration is to take a good look at your IT system as it is now. This means knowing how Windows Server 2012 fits into your business, finding any software or apps that depend on it, and figuring out what your hardware can do. This evaluation will help you figure out possible problems and needs for your new server or cloud hosted alternative.

How to Choose a New Server

After you've looked at what you have now, it's time to choose a new server or cloud provider. There are likely several choices, and each has its own pros and cons to think about. When picking a server or cloud provider, you should think about your budget, the needs of your business, and how well the new system works with the software and apps you already have. Remember that cloud vs. in-house server each is quite different and has its own benefits. Choose the one that fits your business wants and goals the best. 

Getting Ready for the Move

Now that you've selected your best option, it's time to plan the move. This means making a schedule, dividing up the resources, determine a workable test environment, who on your team can test before going live, and getting ready for possible downtime. It's also important to plan for data backup and recovery to keep your business information safe during the change.

The end of support for Windows Server 2012 is a big deal, but if you plan and prepare well, you can make sure your local business has a smooth shift. Don't forget that you're not alone in this. We're a neighborhood business, just like you, and we want to help our community.

Our team of IT experts is here to help you through every step of the transfer process so that your business can keep running as smoothly as possible. Contact Nextworks today to start planning your move and make sure your local business has a bright future.