Microsoft 365 Copilot is the most powerful productivity tool on the planet. That's how Microsoft described its innovative platform news. I watched Microsoft 365 Copilot's presentation, and all I can say is that they must be right. I could hardly believe what I was watching; Digital Transformation is here! It's hard to process so many tech enhancements in so little time.
Microsoft is determined to rule the AI Era. This new product promises to change work as we know it and bring back the joy that creation brings. It combines the power of the most revolutionary technological tool with Office Productivity Apps. In this manner, Copilot intends to eliminate dull and repetitive tasks as it boosts creativity. In this article, you'll get the implications of Microsoft 365 Copilot AI-powered features. We'll also see some cool things to do with your favorite Office app and some caveats when using them.
"Make no mistake. This is a significant milestone for generational AI and, more importantly, for the world of work." BBC News
What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
When Microsoft introduced the New Bing, they said you could think of it as your copilot on the web. Well, Microsoft 365 Copilot is the same but for your workplace. This new product brings all the power of generative AI to the Office apps you use daily.
It combines all the power of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, OneNote, and Outlook. And it goes beyond that! So far, the Generative AI models we've seen only accept texts as input. Nonetheless, this is changing. GPT-4 will reportedly be able to receive images. With Microsoft 365 Copilot, you can pass files, voice recordings, and slides with more versatile answers.
Microsoft claims that Microsoft 365 Copilot's true power is to unleash creativity and productivity at work. That's possible thanks to its popular system. The copilot system is a concept that covers all the Microsoft 365 Apps we know. Plus, it uses Large Language Models (GPT-4) and Microsoft Graph. The latter involves all your data, like emails, files, calendars, contacts, and chats. Further, it handles Copilot's security and privacy compliance.
How does Microsoft 365 Copilot Work?
The process starts with the user submitting a simple prompt in an Office App. Copilot pre-processes it and improves its quality through a grounding process. That's how Copilot ensures your answers are actionable and relevant. Then, Microsoft Graph comes into play. It puts all its available info into context to refine the prompt. On top of that, Copilot combines that with other inputs to further improve the prompt. The result of that is a fine-tuned prompt.
The Large Language Model (LLM) receives the prompt in the third phase. If you have interacted with ChatGPT, Bing Chat, or Google Bard, you know what an LLM can do! The LLM gives a response to Copilot and processes it again with more grounding calls to the Graph. The prompts' post-processing includes security and privacy reviews. Finally, Copilot sends a response to the user (the text output we're familiar with) and sends commands to the app. Not only does it answer your questions, but it also tells the app you're using to do what you wish!
That is a robust process when you compare it with the search experience of an LLM alone. Copilot refines the prompt to ensure it's adapted to your needs. Then it refines it again to ensure it complies with privacy and security standards. Hence, it's much more likely to give users what they expect. Yet, it's important to remember that these AI tools are still working on improvements. During Copilot's big announcement, they warned it could give "usefully" wrong answers, so thorough reviews will be vital. Yet, if it has all the benefits they showed, there's no doubt that everyday tasks won't be a nuisance anymore.
Microsoft 365 Copilot's Impact
Copilot will let you build, refine, and edit everything you have to do on Microsoft 365 apps. All you have to do is to tell Copilot what you need. Further, it will be great for you to follow the process we've just described. Let's go over Microsoft Office Apps individually for a deeper view.
Excel with 365 Copilot
You'll be able to pass any data to Copilot. It could be a piece of text, slides, code, or meeting transcriptions. Then you can ask it to turn into a sheet according to your instructions. It'll also give you insightful graphs and analyze the data. You can even ask it to examine parts of the data to understand it better and make projections. For instance, you could write: "present this data in a line chart if sales had been 25% higher." Imagine how much time it could save!
Word with 365 Copilot
Like GPT-4, an AI-powered tool, Copilot can help you write documents from scratch whenever you feel stuck. Also, it can summarize long papers and highlight the key takeaways. The best part is, thanks to Graph, the work it creates will be much more refined and tailored to your needs.
PowerPoint with 365 Copilot
You'll no longer have to spend hours building a lengthy presentation! Copilot will create stunning presentations for you. You can be as specific as selecting the number of slides, style, animations, etc. Also, you can give it more instructions to edit if you are not pleased with the result. The best part is that it offers speaker notes and handles transitions. Modern work and business applications will evolve to a new level with these workplace productivity tools.
Outlook With 365 Copilot
We all figured that Generative AI in email service providers could help draft emails. But it also allows you to prioritize tons of messages in your inbox. In this manner, you can focus on the significant ones. And like with Word, it can summarize long email messages instantly. In addition, it can follow you up with meetings you can't attend. That will indeed have a strong positive impact on small business professionals.
Teams With 365 Copilot
Speaking of meetings, Copilot will give you transcriptions of your them if using Teams. It'll use recordings as input to organize and present that information as a meeting recap. Copilot will include things like a meeting summary, notes, and actionable items. If any sounds like gibberish, don't hesitate to ask Copilot's clarification! It can generate those transcriptions in a live meeting. That way, you can check discussion topics and what problems need solving. That will help end endless meetings to reach new effective meetings. It leads to saving up time for everyone and clears up meeting agendas.
Loop With 365 Copilot
Loop rises as a new Project Management tool in Microsoft's environment. It provides a collaborative space that multiple team members can access simultaneously. On top of that, it integrates all the other Microsoft 365 apps and the power of Copilot. After watching the presentation, I can only say that Notion will have to work hard to compete with this. As far as I can see, Loop will also have a highly positive impact on productivity!
Business Chat With 365 Copilot
Believe it or not, there's one more tool that Microsoft plans to give us with Microsoft 365 Copilot. Business Chat is a feature that allows Copilot usage without accessing the other apps. How is that useful? Business Chat collects data from your calendar, emails, and files, and you can interact with it like ChatGPT. This way, it can quickly brief you on a sales or team meeting whenever needed.
Microsoft 365 Copilot Concerns
Let's start with the fact that Microsoft 365 Copilot still needs some revision. It can be challenging to avoid relying too much on a tool that solves almost everything for us. That's why reviewing every piece of work Copilot gives you is so important! The Copilot System process seems thorough but needs to show how it handles what it promises. Business owners want to know precisely how it ensures privacy, compliance, and security. They purposely hid that from us, which collides with Microsoft's ethics team layoffs.
Copilot is a vast tech enhancement that will smooth work for everyone. It'll make daily tasks more accessible than ever before. It could promote critical thinking and enhance assistance across business functions. Yet, it's a good idea to tread lightly with the information you give it until it shows more transparency. I have no doubt that Microsoft will refine and polish Copilot until it's almost flawless. It's worth noting that Microsoft 365 Copilot made it much easier for us to connect work with the AI-powered future!