Jump to Future of Work with Microsoft 365 Copilot

Recently Microsoft announced something that has been making waves in the world of productivity: Microsoft 365 Copilot. What is it and why all the buzz? Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new tool that combines the power of artificial intelligence with your data and the apps you use every day to help you do amazing things with words. Whether you need to reply to email write a report, create a presentation, analyze data, or communicate with your team, Copilot can help you get it done faster.

TL;DR summary:
Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new tool that uses a large language model (GPT-4) to generate natural language text based on user input, using data retrieved via the Microsoft Graph to make its output more relevant and personalized. It can be integrated into Microsoft 365 productivity apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, Loop and OneNote. Microsoft Copilot can help users unleash creativity, unlock productivity, and uplevel skills, by giving a head-start in the creative process, helping with tasks like scheduling meetings and drafting emails, and creating content. Business Chat is another new feature that works with Copilot and can give natural language prompts to generate status updates, schedule meetings, and find information. Copilot is in limited preview and will likely be rolled out incrementally over the coming months. This has the potential to transform how people work, but it will require an adoption journey to learn how to use it effectively.

  1. What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?
  2. What can Copilot do for me?
    1. Microsoft Loop and Copilot
    2. Power Platform and Copilot
    3. Microsoft Teams Intelligent Recap and Copilot
  3. Business Chat: your personal assistant
  4. Fly to The Future of Work

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Copilot works by using a large language model (LLM) called GPT-4 that can generate natural language text based on your input. But unlike other LLMs that use generic data from the internet, Copilot uses your data retrieved via the Microsoft Graph – your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings, contacts, and more – to make its output more relevant and personalized for you. For example, if you ask Copilot to draft an email to your boss about your project status, it will use information from your previous emails, chats, and documents to create a coherent message that includes relevant details. This is what we saw at Microsoft’s event on 16th of March 2023. The future will tell us how this vision lands in real life. We already have seen what is possible with GPT-4 on generating content.

Copilot will be integrated into the Microsoft 365 productivity apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Loop and more to come.

For example:

  • write an introduction about Microsoft 365 Copilot to colleagues and how we advise customers to adopt it into use
  • summarize this @documentname into three sentences
  • create a presentation about customer @Northwind with charts showing sales trends by region
  • suggest some icebreakers for my next team meeting
  • Summarize the email conversation.

And Copilot can also suggest relevant content items to be used in generation.

Or in PowerPoint opening Copilot from the ribbon. As can be seen in this example, it is important to learn how to prompt the AI properly to get best results.

And so on. But I must admit that this is cool and is changing how we work!

Copilot will then generate text, presentation or other content based on your prompt or command and insert it into your document or app. You can edit or modify it normally – or telling Copilot to do changes. You’re always in control – Copilot only generates draft, and you continue the work from there. And as with AI, it is always good to check details instead of blindly trusting the results.

What can Copilot do for me?

Simply put: Copilot can help you unleash creativity, unlock productivity, and uplevel skills. Those three topics are how Microsoft states what Copilot can do. But there is a lot of potential truth in them: you can be creative with your words and gain results you did not know how to actually create – all Microsoft 365 Apps have a lot(majority) of features that majority of people don’t use or even know about.

Microsoft 365 Copilot works inside Microsoft Cloud, it inherits its security, compliance and privacy policies. And Copilot uses Microsoft Graph to access the content, and Graph works in user’s context, meaning that it can only access the data user can. Permissions are honored.

Here are some examples of how Copilot can transform your work:

  • With Copilot in Word , you can get a head-start the creative process, avoiding “tabula rasa” or black document moment. Copilot gives you a first draft to get started, edit, work, iterate and co-author on. And save time. Sometimes Copilot will be right , other times it will provide irrelevant content- but it will give you something to edit further. Personally, I find it easier to edit existing text, instead of starting with an empty document. I have already gotten head start with this with Bing Chat: I can create the first draft or ideate content structure before I start writing. That speeds up the process. It is good to remember that you are the author and in control: you can always edit the result. Think it a bit like using a template: you get the base where you build your content on. You can use Copilot as relentless personal assistant to improve, rewrite portions or give feedback about text to you. Or even change the writing style of the document – from casual to professional.
    Today you can already do part of what is Copilots promise by using Bing Chat or ChatGPT to get you started.
  • With Copilot in Outlook, you can save time by letting Copilot help with tasks like scheduling meetings , sending reminders , or following up on action items . Copilot can help to draft emails using a specific style: for example professional or casual. According to announcement materials, Copilot can use existing email exchange and other information you have about the contact to use those facts and styles when you are responding – or drafting a new email. Viva Sales provides first glimpse of this already today – it can also use information about the contact / account in CRM when it generates text.
  • A lot of people do not know or use most features that are available in Microsoft 365 Apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, …). When you describe what you need, Copilot creates it. And you learn about features at the same time. Seeing what is possible. Ideate something new and let Copilot create you a template to work with.

Microsoft Loop and Copilot

Microsoft Loop app went to public preview on 22nd of March. While the Loop app itself is very interesting and versatile new way of working, I want to raise the upcoming Copilot to this article. Microsoft has already a blog post describing how Copilot will be integrated to Loop app.

You can already see in Loop App settings that Copilot toggle is waiting to be activated.

When we can switch that toggle, is yet unknown but the readiness is clearly there.

With Copilot enabled (pictures are from Microsoft blog post about Loop Copilot) you get option to speed up your workspace and loop creation.

You can see it in action clearly in this gif

Copilot will be enabled to / menu in Loop.

I imagine I would use Copilot to create some basic structure for generic needs, working on information from documents, rework the tone of the text and to create summary. Once I get to use it, I know I will be coming up with a lot of use cases in Loops.

Yes, Copilot will also be included and usable with Loop mobile app.

Power Platform and Copilot

And it is not just our typical productivity apps that get Copilot. Power Platform is also getting those capabilities. Think that you can tell Power Automate what kind of automation you need. I can already see a lot more people using Power Automate to help with routines. They just word their need out to Copilot. It is no code 100% for typical users. How about creating a new PowerApps by describing what you need? You can create PowerApps already from a draft picture, this text to PowerApps is not that farfetched idea. Automating routines with the help of AI is transforming towards reality with these capabilities.

Some of promises Microsoft makes about Copilot’s capabilities are bold. Of course, I want to see the vision of Copilot realize. Schedule mentioned was very vague – upcoming months. It can be by this summer, or the next one. We will see these features, likely, drop into Microsoft 365 incrementally. We already have Copilot with GitHub and Dynamics. Viva Sales is there.

You can already draft a Power Virtual Agent topic with Copilot or Boost conversation with external website (these are in preview in US tenants).

Microsoft Teams Intelligent Recap and Copilot

Microsoft Teams Premium Intelligent Recap pictures in announcement presentation showed updates since Ignite pictures as well. Intelligent Recap includes portions of Copilot inside it (analyzing transcript), but will the Copilot pane come up when Recap does? That is interesting – and we will know the answer by the end of this year half (by end of June) – as Intelligent Recap is roadmapped to the end of this year half. It is a question will Copilot be included in that launch or will it be added there later.

I found this moment from Microsoft’s video interesting. Loop page as a channel in Teams. This may have been just for marketing purposes, but I can always hope we get “Loop channels”. Copilot will be inside Loop as well, as can be seen in this event video snip.

Business Chat: your personal assistant

And there were more than just Copilots in Apps. Business Chat is an new feature that works with the GPT-4 , the Microsoft 365 apps , and your content & data to do things you’ve never been able to do before . You can give it natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy” , and it will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings , emails and chat threads pulling data from calendar, emails, files, Teams, Loops and generally content Microsoft Graph has access in your Microsoft 365 that are relevant to the ask.

Business Chat is like having a personal assistant that knows everything about your work and can help you communicate effectively with anyone. You can command it in natural language. For example:

  • schedule a meeting with John next week
  • create a LinkedIn post promoting our new product launch
  • find me our offering about AI and Metaverse, and who know about these topics

I am already thinking ahead and envision that when speech to text and text to speech capabilities are added to Copilot and Business chat we can walk around in the room and talk to computer – just like in many Sci-Fi series. The future is indeed already happening today. Natural language understanding opens a lot of possibilities. And with connection to your data, it can generate relevant content.

Jump to The Future of Work

Microsoft mentioned also that Copilot is in limited preview – currently in twenty companies. We will get more details and information in Enterprise Connect 2023, Viva Summit and in Microsoft Build at the end of May for sure.

Microsoft Copilot with Business Chat is changing how we work. It transforms how we do routine work and gives us more time to innovate and be creative. This will not happen suddenly or for over a week. It is an adoption journey where people need to learn new skill of “talking to AI” and habit of using it to boost productivity and reduce routine work.

What this has to do with the Metaverse, you may ask. It has everything to do with that. Fusion of Metaverse with AI has been my vision of the future all the time. AI will make metaverse smart, responsive and better with natural language understanding and opening new ways how to create content and innovate.

Reinventing Productivity

About Compliance, Security and Responsible AI.

AI – a Whole New Way of Working @Worklab.

All pictures are from Microsoft Copilot announcement event.

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