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Microsoft 365 Copilot: Transforming Workflows with Generative AI

May 15, 2023

By Alex Passett, Editor

In 2023, Microsoft is a name that syncs oft-synonymously with products ranked top-tier; especially its licenses for casual individual users and global organizations alike. Over the years, Microsoft’s success has been attributed to factors that include early market entry, its dominant establishment of the Windows operating system and ostensibly perpetual cycles of innovation. These, at the bare minimum, characterize its strong footholds, one metaphorically climbed right after another.

So, effectiveness via integrated, user-friendly software tools, licenses and applications galore. Microsoft’s focuses on compatibility and interoperability cater to folks at home and growing enterprises. Microsoft stays on its toes, so to speak.

And in 2023, it feels like “staying on your toes” in the tech world nigh-unavoidably loops back to artificial intelligence (AI).

Today, we’re covering two Microsoft-and-AI interwoven topic; namely, the company’s World Trend Index Annual report titled “Will AI Fix Work?” and results therein, plus a new AI integrations update with Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Let’s dive in.

The executively-summarized, long-story-short version of the “Will AI Fix Work” report is as follows:

  • Due to the intensity of work and needs for always-on communications, feelings of being outpaced are increasing. Per Microsoft, 64% of people claim they’re still struggling with having both the time and energy to appropriately do their jobs.
  • Studies also indicate that “people are struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of data and constant streams of information, thus feeling more pressures amidst economic uncertainties.”

So, what can help fix the future of work?

As Microsoft sees it (as do many), the answer is AI.

With AI, burdens are more alleviable; even though approximately 49% of people say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs (without the creation of sufficient new ones, along the way), an even larger 70% are ready to delegate as much work as is possible to AI in order to lessen overall workloads while still meeting (if not exceeding) ROIs on the solutions that make modernized workflows make more sense.

Until roughly November of 2022, AI was largely on autopilot for individual consumers and big businesses; AI was just assumed to be in applications’ background. That just made sense.

Now, AI has hit the foreground like a steam roller. So if it isn’t quite on “autopilot” any longer, you might say it’s on, well:


Recently, Microsoft announced its integration of generative AI into Copilot’s full suite of productivity tools; i.e. AI-powered capabilities to apps millions of people use daily, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Microsoft Teams.

With expanded access to and AI capabilities within Microsoft 365 Copilot’s Early Access Program, Microsoft’s chairman and CEO Satya Nadella has said, “This new surge of AI will remove the drudgery of work and unleash creativity. “An enormous opportunity for AI-powered tools is here for us to seize; to help alleviate digital debt, build AI aptitude and empower employees.”

This ties back to the “Will AI Fix Work” report. Three of its key insights for businesses (in terms of understanding and responsibly adopting AI) touched on:

  • “Digital Debt” – Every minute spent managing the “digital debt” we carry (e.g. the sheer volume of data, emails, chats and other digitized responsibilities we use and check in on) is a minute not spent on creative work, Microsoft says. AI will afford us more opportunities to clear our plates of time-consuming work headaches and, instead, increase strategically creative workflows.
  • A new AI-employee alliance – Rather than cutting headcounts and introduce the wholesale replacement of human jobs, workers can work with AI. Workers can delegate workload-lightening tasks that (with the proper in-demand and AI-centric skillsets) will have ripple effects.
    • AI aptitudes – According to Microsoft, “every employee, not just the AI experts, will need new core competencies like prompt engineering in order to succeed.”

Overall, the goal here is not to overload workflows or stifle creative intuitions. Adopting alliances with AI and staying abreast of their innovations is key.

And, to circle back to Microsoft 365 Copilot, this is also now possible via how:

  • Copilot in Whiteboard enhances Microsoft Teams meetings and brainstorming sessions with the ability to generate ideas, organize them into themes, create design-rich content, and summarize Whiteboard content.
  • Copilot in PowerPoint (through integration with OpenAI’s DALL-E) allows users to ask Copilot to create custom images to enhance their presentations.
  • Copilot in Outlook offers coaching tips and suggestions on clarity, sentiment and tone to help users write more effective emails.
  • Copilot in OneNote uses prompts to draft plans, generate ideas, create lists and organize information for easy access.
  • Copilot in Viva Learning utilizes a natural language chat interface (NLP, even) to create a personalized learning journey, including designing upskilling paths and discovering relevant learning resources, such as how to automated scheduling time for assignees’ trainings.

To help businesses adapt to the AI era, Microsoft’s 365 Copilot Early Access Program launch has only so far* comprised of an initial wave of 600 total enterprise customers worldwide in an invitation-only paid preview program. New tools and accessibilities to them are scheduled* to be added.

Edited by Greg Tavarez



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