Reinventing Productivity with Copilot for Microsoft 365

With AI set to transform how we work, we explore how Microsoft’s new AI-powered virtual assistant, Copilot, can help boost your productivity.

The author of this page: John Tallon
John Tallon, Modern Applications and Modern Workplace Practice Director Apr 17, 2023

Microsoft has doubled down on its mission to help every person on the planet to achieve more, and to do more with less. 

Following Microsoft’s announcement earlier this month about the first ever AI Copilot for CRM and ERP- Dynamics 365 Copilot, the company has revealed that Copilot is coming to all Microsoft 365 apps. Copilot for Microsoft 365- “your copilot for work”, will be integrable with Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered productivity tool that aims to enhance the user experience across M365 by streamlining your workload and automating certain tasks, so you can focus on more value-added work.  

The system is powered by large language models (LLMs), meaning it can generate and understand human language. Once integrated with your organisation's M365, a simple language prompt can lead Copilot to carry out tasks such as data analysis, a text summary, or simply assist with your daily undertakings. 

Created with AI principles and Responsible AI Standard in mind, Copilot for M365 will provide enterprise-ready AI at scale, while adhering to Microsoft's high standards of privacy and data security. Copilots LLMs are not trained on individual prompts or on customer content, therefore sensitive data is protected. 

Below we explain some of the core capabilities of Copilot. 

Task Automation 

With Copilot, the tedious tasks that were previously done manually can now be completely automated, enhancing your productivity. Copilot can perform complex tasks such as automatically generating a report or creating templates for commonly used documents. 

In Outlook, the software can summarise long email threads and then provide suggested replies, dramatically reducing the time it takes to sort through emails.  

Additionally, Copilot can boost collaboration among teams by scheduling your meetings and performing certain tasks for you during live meetings. In MS Teams, Copilot can suggest meeting agendas and follow-up tasks in real-time, as well as summarising key discussion points. Copilot can even note who said what, and whether the team agrees or disagrees on a topic. 

Moreover, Copilot can be used to manage your presentations in PowerPoint. A single prompt can be used to create the ideal presentation, adding relevant content from selected documents and Excel files. You no longer need to spend time transferring information from documents to slides or spend time formatting and designing the perfect deck, Copilot does it for you. 

Writing Assistance 

Copilot for M365 can help users write better and faster by suggesting grammar, vocabulary and even entire sentences. It can provide synonyms and context-based corrections to make your writing more professional across Word, Outlook and PowerPoint.  

In Word, Copilot can even provide you with a first draft of text that you can edit, saving hours in sourcing and writing time, and helping to combat writers' block. It can rewrite entire blocks of text with a choice of different writing styles. Some example prompts used to drive your productivity are: 

  • Build a draft five-page proposal on [a specific topic], based on the content from [business requirements document] and the data from [a functional requirements spreadsheet]. 

  • Make the fourth and sixth paragraphs more concise.  

  • Change the tone of the document to be more business professional.

While it’s also capable of generating new text, it’s at its most impressive when handling other documents, where it can do things like create summaries and action plans. 

Aiding Research 

Carrying out industry or market research is now simpler than ever with Copilot. Users can find information and research topics much quicker and more efficiently. The system can suggest relevant sources, summarise articles and research papers and generate bibliographies in real-time. These functions mean that background research is done for you, allowing you to get straight into your projects and assignments.  

Data Analysis 

Copilot can help users visualise and analyse data more effectively in Excel. It can suggest formulas, create charts and graphs, and provide insights based on data trends, saving you hours of manually organising and analysing data. 

Microsoft have shared some examples of what Copilot can do in Excel: 

  • Give a breakdown of the sales by type and channel. Insert a table. 

  • Project the impact of [a variable change] and generate a chart to help visualize. 

  • Model how a change to the growth rate for [variable] would impact my gross margin. 

By leveraging the power of AI and machine learning, Copilot can help users to be more productive and effective in their roles by automating tasks, streamlining workflows and boosting collaboration among teams. According to Microsoft, 88% of developers who use GitHub Copilot are now more productive, and 74% say they can focus on more satisfying work. Evidently, Copilot’s dynamic capabilities make it a valuable tool that can help organisations operate more efficiently.  

Copilot is currently being tested among a small group of Microsoft customers, including eight Fortune 500 companies, to develop the system further. However, the company says that the capabilities of the software should be available soon, as well as price and licensing details. It will be available in preview for more users as the year unfolds. 

If you would like to learn more about Copilot for M365, get in touch with one of our experts today. 

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