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March 22, 2024

Is Copilot for Frontline Workers Justified?

SAMexpert Podcast

Microsoft promises to make Copilot for M365 available to "frontline worker" M365 and O365 subscription plans. But the price still stands at $30/month.

In this 4-minute episode, Alexander Golev, CEO of SAMexpert, discusses the cost impact, questions the practicality of Copilot for frontline workers, and speculates about the possible reasons why Microsoft is doing it now.

5.51 MB
Episode Transcript

Microsoft's Promised Copilot Expansion

Microsoft promises to make Copilot for M365 more available soon, raising more questions than answers. The recent trend of Microsoft announcing licensing changes via blog posts is unusual. This format offers no guarantee that the changes will materialise as described.

The licensing community has a well-known adage: "If it's not in the product terms, it doesn't exist." However, for the sake of discussion, let's assume Microsoft's promise will be implemented as stated. Let's examine their announcement.

"To empower every organisation to become AI-powered, we are making Copilot available to businesses of all types and sizes, including frontline worker plans. Customers with Microsoft 365 F3 and F1, Office 365 E1, Business Basic, and more will be eligible to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 in the coming weeks."

If this announcement is implemented as stated, it would broaden Copilot's reach. However, a key question remains: Is the value proposition justified? The price remains fixed at $30 per user per month. Consider the Microsoft 365 F3 plan for Frontline Workers (which I'll define shortly). It costs $8 per user per month. Adding Copilot represents a nearly five-fold increase.

It becomes even more striking with the Microsoft 365 F1 plan, the most basic option for frontline workers. The F1 plan costs only $2.25 per user per month, and Adding Copilot dramatically increases the price to $32.25.

Are Frontline Workers the Right Target Audience?

We have consulted with nearly a hundred industry professionals, posing the same question: Why would a client procure Microsoft 365 Copilot for a frontline worker?

The potential use cases aren't apparent. Would a delivery driver utilise Copilot to create PowerPoint presentations while in transit? Would a nurse rely on Excel for complex hospital-wide temperature analysis? Plausible scenarios may exist, but they are not readily apparent.

To clarify, frontline workers encompass roles such as delivery drivers, nurses, and factory personnel. Device screen size limitations often restrict them to small or medium-sized handheld devices. Their work typically does not involve extensive use of standard Office applications like PowerPoint, Word, or Excel.

Given these factors, Copilot's most plausible target audience appears to be users of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, who likely rely heavily on the online versions of Microsoft 365 applications. A feature-limited version of Copilot (namely, "Copilot", not "Copilot for Microsoft 365"), included in plans like E3 and E5, is, perhaps, a more suitable solution for frontline workers.

Why Copilot for Frontline Workers? Why Now?

The next thrilling question is: when will this change be implemented, exactly? Microsoft states, "In the next few weeks." We predict that changes will align with April 1st, when Microsoft often introduces major licensing updates. However, Copilot does not always adhere to the April 1st and October 1st schedules. Licensing changes for Copilot could potentially occur mid-month.

We should see the specifics reflected in the Microsoft product terms in a few weeks. Ultimately, the most important consideration is the return on investment (ROI). Microsoft 365 Copilot represents a substantial investment. For an in-depth analysis of professional considerations, please refer to this article.

Do you have use cases in mind? Please let us know.