We are on the threshold of a new computing revolution. These really are exciting times.
So why do I dread writing this article?
Oh yeah, it’s the 5 trillion articles about AI that have bombarded me over the past few months.
I’m so sick of that. I’m sure you are too. So hear me when I say, this isn’t just another article about how AI is going to be so great and do everything for you and you’ll make tons of money with no effort, yadda yadda yadda.
But Microsoft has added a new tool to its lineup, and it promises to be a very revolutionary tool within its app ecosystem – which is a huge framework in the majority of businesses today.
This innovative tool is called Microsoft 365 Copilot.
And they say it’s going to improve everybody’s workflow in three areas: Creativity, Productivity, and Increasing Skills.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI assistant. Sort of like Clippy…but on Crack.
For those of you not trapped in an elderly world of taking vitamins, poor eyesight, and bodily pain from reaching for something, Clippy was an animated pop-up office assistant in the old 90s editions of Microsoft Office.
While Clippy was a little more annoying than useful, Copilot should be far more helpful.
Having a personal assistant embedded inside your app isn’t new, but the ability to ask it questions, give recommendations, or help with tasks all leveraging AI technology is quite useful.
Of course, it’ll be seamlessly incorporated throughout all major M365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. The “and more” will be a big deal, but I’ll get to that towards the end of the article. Whether performing various tasks like document editing, meeting scheduling, or team collaboration, Copilot stands ready to provide invaluable assistance.
How Copilot Works
Microsoft 365 Copilot harnesses the power of AI and machine learning to comprehend users’ needs and deliver tailored support. By analyzing data obtained from users’ interactions with Microsoft 365 apps, Copilot learns their unique usage patterns, subsequently offering recommendations based on their preferences.
For example, Copilot assists users with common tasks like meeting scheduling and email management. A simple request to Copilot is all it takes to schedule a meeting or locate an email from a specific individual, relieving users of the associated burdens.
If you frequently use features in apps, then Copilot will learn this and proactively suggest relevant features when it sees you doing a similar task. Having the right tools handed to you because it knows you will need them will speed your workflow dramatically.
It’s not just black and white though, there are spectrums of colors because it can help creatively too. Struggling with a design in PowerPoint? Copilot can give you suggestions based on your brand guidelines.
As you look at how Copilot gets used, the benefits become clear quickly. Having a personal assistant at your beck and call would boost anybody’s productivity. Here are the top benefits everybody should expect.
Copilot will help every user, based on what tasks they perform and how they perform them. It’s not cookie-cutter solutions, it’s tailored aid to match the person’s work.
Common tasks will get completed much faster. Things like scheduling meetings, summarizing notes, and gathering information are huge time killers. Copilot can streamline these processes and let you recapture that time.
Ready for less grouchy employees? Since Copilot provides solutions when workers are stuck, it removes a lot of the frustration that builds when problems pop up. Instead of being stuck or needing to figure out a solution, Copilot is there to help get them over the hump. No guarantees on less grouchy employees though. Some people are just like that. 😊
All the talk about AI programs helping us do our work revolves around this topic. Copilot delivers by being able to handle tasks for you that just haven’t been able to be done by in app assistance before.
You can ask it to create a PowerPoint presentation based on a document. It will. It’ll bring in the relevant data, make it to the page count you desire, and inject appropriate Microsoft stock photos. Even if you still need to review and edit the content, the heavy lifting is done for you. You’re going to get much more done than you did before.
Copilot is important because it is changing how people work. Yes, all those benefits I discussed will make you more productive and efficient, and that’s great. That’s just surface level though. I want to emphasize how deeply it impacts your workflow, and why it’s a game changer. This is the “and more” I referenced earlier.
Imagine wrestling with table formatting in Word while preparing a report. Rather than spending precious time scouring the internet for a solution or struggling to figure it out yourself, you can effortlessly seek guidance from Microsoft 365 Copilot. Copilot not only offers suggestions but can also guide you step-by-step through the process, expediting tasks and alleviating frustration.
The final solution is great, but the fact that you can interface with your apps and get immediate results is phenomenal. That’s going to unlock so much more out of your existing apps. Think about it, how many of the M365 apps do you know? How many do you know well? The few you use daily you probably know decently, but Copilot will make you an expert on them. The others Copilot will point to them as a solution when you didn’t even know there was one. You essentially have a private tutor to enhance your work with the power of the apps you already have.
The capabilities of Copilot extend even further. It can scour all your documents, chats, and notes to draft documents for you. Need an agenda or presentation? Just ask Copilot and it’ll draw up an initial framework for you. Imagine needing to update your team on a marketing strategy. Instead of delving into emails, chat threads, or meeting notes, simply instruct Copilot to “inform my team about the updated marketing strategy.” Copilot will search across various sources and craft a comprehensive update for your team.
Copilot unifies your data. Since it integrates with your business documents, applications, and chat, it makes all of your data easily accessible to your entire team. It ensures that knowledge flows freely throughout your organization, saving you precious time otherwise spent searching for answers. That is a huge deal.
This is the million-dollar question, and one I wish I had a better answer for. As of the writing of this article Microsoft has not announced a release date.
Copilot is currently in testing with its Early Access Program and Work Trend Index. If you have Enterprise licenses of M365 (E3 or E5 licenses) then they have implemented a “Semantic Index” so Copilot can start learning relevance within your company now. For instance, they describe that it will create an association that sales reports are produced by a specific employee and created in Excel. That way when Copilot goes live it will hit the ground running.
When we know more, we will let you know. Until then, if you need any help with your Microsoft 365, licenses, or apps get in touch.