Earlier this year, Microsoft (MS) dropped the latest AI-related bombshell when they introduced Microsoft 365 Copilot – an AI-powered productivity tool that integrates instantly with the tools you use every day.
If you haven’t heard of Microsoft Copilot or don’t know much about it, stick around.
I am Michael Hamer, Virtual IT Director for Netitude, a Managed IT Services provider and a Microsoft Gold Partner. My goal is to help you understand what Microsoft Copilot is, how it integrates with your existing Microsoft 365 applications, and how it can benefit your business.
What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
Microsoft’s latest tool will merge AI technology seamlessly into your Outlook inboxes, Teams chats and Word documents. The introduction of Microsoft 365 Copilot certainly seems like a pivotal moment in the modern world of office work.
How exactly does it do this, I hear you asking? Well, a big part of the technology is based around Large Language Models (LLMs). LLMs function as next-word predictors and are vital in Generative AI like Open AI’s ChatGPT.
The AI technology that runs Copilot uses deep learning techniques and analyses vast amounts of data to comprehend, summarise, predict and generate content as a result of the prompts and information it’s fed.
Another essential aspect of Copilot is its integration with Microsoft Graph. If you're not familiar with it, imagine a vast library that stores a wealth of information across all the applications in the Microsoft suite. Instead of shelves filled with books, this digital library contains data from various sources.
Every meeting held on Teams and every email sent via Outlook is recorded on the Microsoft Graph system. This data can be analyzed and utilized by Copilot to enhance your workday. It helps you stay on top of your organisational goals, daily tasks, and to-dos.
You can be easily bogged down by the amount of jargon and tricky terms to get your head around. I like to think of Copilot as a satnav for your work life. It suggests the best routes to take, alerts you of any traffic to avoid, and ensures you reach your destination safely and securely.
Copilot 365 Suite Integration
Right, let’s now get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly Microsoft Copilot does and how it works.
One great advantage of Copilot is its integration with common programs such as Teams, Outlook, and Word. That means users won’t have to waste any time navigating to a completely different application to access the tool.
Microsoft 365 Outlook
Outlook is an instrumental part of office life. According to social.com, the average working professional spends 28% of their workday on email.
Keeping on top of an overflowing inbox and threads-upon threads of emails can often seem like an overwhelming task and something you’re likely to put on the back burner if a more urgent priority crops up. Copilot is going to change the game in this regard by introducing three key features:
- Coaching tips: A lot of valuable time can be wasted concocting the ‘perfect’ email. What if there was a tool that could give you suggestions and tips to ensure that your messages are clear and convey the right tone? Fortunately, Microsoft Copilot is here to help. It enhances the quality of your outbound emails while also reducing the time it takes to write them.
- Summarize: If you’re a regular user of Outlook, then it’s likely that you’ll have found yourself lost in a seemingly endless and confusing email thread. Copilot’s summary tool will summarise email threads so you can get a grasp of the discussion and make quick decisions.
- Leverage Content: Leveraging content is also a great potential time saver. This tool enables you to quickly extract relevant information from emails and other 365 suite content, helping you communicate effectively in seconds.
Microsoft 365 Teams
Similarly to its counterpart Outlook, Microsoft Teams will definitely have a new look and feel for the users who have opted for Microsoft’s latest tool (Copilot). Some of the most notable features include:
- Chat Integration: Copilot licence owners can use Copilot in any of their Team’s chats. Furthermore, the tool can summarise up to a month’s worth (30 days) of chat information. Users can engage with Copilot’s chat tool by using preselected prompts or by typing in their own questions.
- Meetings: Copilot can utilise meeting transcriptions in real-time to provide answers to user questions regarding the specific meeting. The only caveat is that Copilot can only answer questions related to the meeting topics.
- Business Chat: The Business Chat feature works in sync with Microsoft Graph which we covered earlier. Users can access it within Teams by logging in with a Bing active directory account.
- Whiteboard: The Whiteboard feature in Teams allows for enhanced virtual collaboration and brainstorming. Copilot can help you bring new ideas to life, visually organize your thoughts, and generate potential avenues to explore.
Microsoft Word and PowerPoint
These 365 stalwarts (Word and PowerPoint) have also been given a new lease of life with the new Copilot features. According to a report by the Financial Times in 2021, over a billion individuals utilize Microsoft Office as a product or service. Microsoft Copilot is expected to bring about revolutionary changes in two of the most widely used products of Microsoft Office- MS Word and PowerPoint.
- Draft with Copilot: This handy feature can help you leverage existing content to create informative and engaging presentations, enabling you to repurpose relevant content with ease. Within Word, the Draft with Copilot type box enables users to generate passages of text off the back of the given prompts.
- Chat: This feature is a guide that’ll help elevate your ideas in MS Word and PowerPoint. Think of it like a helpful friend or colleague who is always on hand to provide suggestions and summaries, and will even go so far as asking you thought-provoking questions about the content.
- Light Commanding (PowerPoint only): The Light Commanding tool can be used to create entire slides, and users can add text and images to enhance their content. The feature can be configured to ensure that all slide changes are inserted in a consistent format.
Benefits for Business
Wow, those were undoubtedly an extensive list of features, and we’ve barely scratched the surface regarding the overall benefits that MS Copilot can provide for businesses of all sizes, structures and sectors.
The main benefits are clear for all to see. Microsoft Copilot is adeptly set up to enhance organisational and employee productivity whilst bolstering the realms of human creativity.
Enhancing Organisational Productivity
It’s clear to see how much of an impact MS Copilot is set to have on enhancing organisational productivity. Employees with access to Microsoft Copilot can complete tasks such as emails, company documents, and presentations faster and more efficiently.
Copilot enhances productivity by seamlessly integrating with popular Microsoft 365 apps and tools. These include Outlook, Teams, and PowerPoint, which are commonly used during work hours. This is vitally important as much as, according to Zippia, it can take as much as 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from a distraction at work.
That’s precious hours that can be lost company-wide from the potential distractions that can be met when switching tabs or leaving the productivity tools we all know and love. Therefore, the fact that we can access Copilot in the apps we spend much of our time in is a real plus point.
Bolstering the Realms of Human Creativity
We’ve all been there: staring at a blank document, presentation or email, not knowing where to begin to tackle the task in store. The introduction of Microsoft Copilot will be sure to rid users of this unproductive block that stifles creativity and wastes previous company time.
Arguably the most significant selling point is that Microsoft Copilot is designed to help users reduce their time spent on the mundane monotony of everyday tasks. The time saved from performing these repetitive tasks can be used to upskill, be creative, and focus on the bigger picture.
Microsoft Copilot: The Final Verdict
Business leaders around the globe must be pondering over the prospect of productivity that lies in store with Microsoft 365 Copilot. The potential benefits of implementing AI in business include increased efficiency and employee creativity, making it an attractive opportunity for growth.
However, like any other technology, Microsoft Copilot must be granted the success it deserves. Rather than adopting a gung-ho approach, it would be much more prudent to assess whether the revolutionary technology has the potential to impact your business positively.
As Microsoft Experts, our team at Netitude are best placed to ensure your business can integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Copilot. We’re passionate about helping businesses achieve more by ensuring they have the right tech to succeed.
As your Microsoft 365 Migration Support Partner, we’ll be on hand to clear up any queries you may have concerning MS Copilot or any other 365 products.
Book a call with our team today and start your journey toward enhanced operational efficiency and best-in-class IT practices today!