Will Microsoft Copilot change the way we work?

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We have been closely watching the amazing trajectory of AI tools this year. Our recent posts about Chat GPT and Midjourney have explored how these tools are becoming more accessible and obvious in their use in our day-to-day work lives.

In what appears to be another amazing leap forward, Microsoft has just announced their new product, Microsoft 365 Co-Pilot. 

But what is Microsoft Co-Pilot? Why should I care, and more importantly, should I be scared for my job?

Microsoft Co-Pilot is a new set of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based tools and services that Microsoft are building into their Microsoft 365 apps. In Microsoft’s works, Co-Pilot combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your own data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet. Sounds impressive.

Using Copilot in everyday tools

The main way you can interact with Copilot is through the Microsoft 365 apps you use every day. Copilot is embedded into apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. You can give it natural language prompts, and Copilot will help generate the code, text, analytics and more to reduce the manual effort in your information work. Here are some further examples of how Copilot can benefit you:

  1. Copilot in Outlook – spend less time combing through your Outlook emails.
    1. Summarise long emails and email threads with multiple people, understanding not only what has been said, but the different viewpoints of each person, and identify any open questions that have not been answered.
    1. Turn quick notes you have taken into professional messages.
    1. Catch up on emails while you have been away and flag any important items.
  2. Copilot in PowerPoint – spend less time with manual formatting and layouts.
    1. Turn existing written documents into PowerPoint presentations, complete with speaker notes and sources.
    1. Condense lengthy presentations with just a single click and use natural language commands to adjust layouts and formatting, and add perfectly timed animations.
  3. Copilot in Excel – spend time less time working out the right formulas to write.
    1. Generate reports by asking questions in natural language about your data to help analyse and explore your data.
    1. Create visualisations based on the outcomes you describe.
    1. Model what-if scenarios based on the questions you ask.
  4. Copilot in Word – be more productive with assistance in editing
    1. Assist in researching and summarizing it into draft documents, including sources
    1. Checking, changing, and aligning the tone of your documents, e.g. professional, casual, thankful, etc.
    1. Making the text more concise or detailed, depending on the intended audience.
  5. Copilot in Teams – be more efficient in collaborating
    1. Summarise meeting discussion into notes and highlight
    outcomes and actions requiredAssisting with analysing the advantages and disadvantages of the discussion topic in real-time
    1. Scheduling initial and follow-up meetings more efficiently based on what Copilot hears in meetings.

Introducing Business Chat

The second approach to using Microsoft Copilot is an entirely new experience. Business Chat works alongside you, with access to all your apps and data, some of which are described above. The aim is to spend less time focused on individual tools and apps and more time focusing on the work to be done. Business Chat will bring together data from across all documents, emails, presentations, calendars, notes, and contacts, which you can access, to help summarise chat, write emails, find key dates, create a plan, and many other activities.

How does it work?

Microsoft 365 Copilot obtains access through its use of Microsoft Graph, the access engine you currently use today, behind the scenes. It is based on large language models to continue learning and improving the more you use it. It is still important to note that, like any other AI tool, it depends on human interaction and feedback to improve continuously. We would encourage leveraging Copilot to reduce the labour-intensive tasks in your daily workload, but it does not replace the need for human decision-making and, even more importantly, giving feedback to ensure the results improve over time. We are excited about the future of work!

What does it mean for you?

The use of Copilot could mean saving hours of collating, writing, sourcing, and editing documents, presentations, emails, and other Microsoft apps. It can also reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, all while being instructed by you, the user. This frees up your time to be productive and creative and, ultimately, focus on providing value while having fun at work.

You can read more of the initial blog post here: https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2023/03/16/introducing-microsoft-365-copilot-your-copilot-for-work/