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It has been impossible over the last year to ignore the excitement and potential of generative AI.  Microsoft has been at the forefront of this push into the AI revolution, releasing and expanding their OpenAI powered Copilot offerings throughout their entire suite of applications.  While the initial introduction of these tools caused a huge amount of hype, at some point the expectations must meet reality.  As Microsoft puts it, “If 2023 was all about AI’s promise, 2024 will be all about the proof”. But is Microsoft Copilot worth the cost?

Copilot tools have been available to the public for several months at this point and many people now have first-hand experience.  While the initial impressions have mostly been positive, some business leaders have begun to question whether these tools are worth the cost.  In most instances, organizations purchase Copilot on a per-user license basis, and the associated costs are significant. The value proposition will vary based on specific workflows, however there are some general considerations based on empirical research that may help contextualize how we can think about the value of these tools.

Time is Money


We are all familiar with the adage “Time is Money”, and perhaps the biggest promise of these new generative AI tools is that they will save time for employees.  From a financial perspective, this approach promises to speed up task completion and increases throughput, thereby enhancing productivity and boosting the bottom line.  Have these promises proven to be the case?

According to a Microsoft survey, the answer is yes.  Some excerpts from the survey:

  • Overall, users were 29% faster in a series of tasks (searching, writing, and summarizing).
  • 67% said Copilot saved them time so they could focus on more important work.
  • On average, users reported daily time savings of 14 minutes, or 1.2 hours a week.
  • 22% of people said they save more than 30 minutes a day.

The most impressive gains appear in catching up on missed meetings, where users report a fourfold improvement. Additionally, a large majority of users experience enhancements across a wide array of daily tasks. Searching for content across multiple information sources was another area of significant improvement.  While the licensing costs can add up quickly, these time savings can quickly compound to create real savings.

Quality and Quantity

Quality,Over,Quantity,Symbol.,Turned,Cubes,And,Changed,The,WordThroughout history, quantity and quality have existed in an inverse relationship – to increase one almost necessarily decreased the other.  However, AI tools have promised that they will be able to quickly create content based on simple prompts and increase the quality of output.  This can be especially useful to overcome the tyranny of the blank page to get an initial collection of thoughts and ideas together is a meaningful way.

Again, we can review the findings of the study to see if the data supports this.  From a productivity and idea genesis standpoint:

  • 70% of Copilot users said they were more.
  • 85% said Copilot helps them get to a good first draft faster.
  • 87% said Copilot makes it easier to get started on a first draft.
  • 68% said Copilot helped them jump-start the creative process.
  • 72% said it helped them generate ideas while writing.

It seems evident that Copilot may be a particularly useful tool for those of us who struggle with writer’s block and starting from zero.

Regarding the quality of the output, the study finds:

  • 68% said it improved the quality of their work.
  • 57% said it made them more creative.
  • Emails written with Copilot were rated 18% clearer.
  • Emails written with Copilot were also rated 19% more concise.

Based on the above, for some common tasks, such as email and others, Copilot can increase both quality and quantity.

The Employee Experience

At ThreeWill, we are big believers in increasing employee satisfaction as one of the ways to help employees thrive at work. Almost all workers will have some parts of their jobs that they enjoy more than others.  We are aware of some of the hidden costs of disengaged employees and attempt to identify ways to help employees remove roadblocks and frustrations and do more of the work they enjoy. So, when we ask ourselves “Is Microsoft Copilot worth the cost?”, there’s something more that should be considered.

In addition to measurable outcomes, such as productivity, AI tools promise some intangible benefits, such as increasing employee satisfaction by reducing the time spent on mundane and repetitive tasks.

What do the survey results tell us about these measurements?  Here are some notable findings:

  • Copilot users don’t just expend less effort—they feel like they do too.
  • 85% of users said Copilot reduced effort to complete the tasks.
  • 71% said they saved time on mundane tasks.
  • While summarizing a missed meeting, Copilot users found the task to be 58% less draining.

Clearly there are benefits to being more productive, however this is compounds even more when the results come with less fatigue and less time spent on rote tasks.  Other independent studies have found that even when time is not saved using AI tools, users still report less burnout.

Perhaps most notable from the survey, once employees have experienced working with Copilot they wanted to keep using Copilot; 77% said they would not want to give it up.  Furthermore, an impressive 30% of respondents even said that access to Copilot could influence their choice of employer.


As Microsoft has stated, the Age of Copilots is upon us.  These AI tools are now widely available and are being used in the real world.  Is Microsoft Copilot worth the cost? Quite possibly, though the actual cost/benefit ratio will vary depending on many factors, such as the industry and the workflows. However, there are multiple ways to contextualize the total cost, not all of which rely only on financial considerations.  The cost of Copilot is not just an expense. It is also an investment in innovation and excellence that promises to yield dividends in time, quality, and employee satisfaction.

Want to know if Microsoft Copilot is right for your business? Contact us today!

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