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Microsoft 365 Copilot – Shifting the Way We Work

Low Angle View Of Hands Of Multiracial Group Of People Working With Ideas And Brainstorming Together To Make Decisions With Documents On Table In Creative Office Teamwork

This is a big deal

The tech landscape is always evolving. In the history of computing, there have been three major shifts that completely changed how we view technology and its usefulness to society. Those include:

  1. Graphical User Interfaces
  2. The Internet
  3. Mobile (and social media on mobile i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more recently TikTok)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the newest shift. Whether you are shopping at a major grocery store chain, keeping up with the latest trends on your favorite social media app, or simply using an iPhone, AI is ubiquitous to your experience.

But these have largely been personal consumer experiences. Now, AI is poised to improve our communication, collaboration and productivity at work. One of the first major forays into this quest is Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Generative AI

Early introductions of AI took the form of an additional surface for search results and customer interactions. More recently, we’ve seen a new category of AI that generates outputs like written creative content, graphic design, audio tracks and more.

Bringing Generative AI in the workplace is poised to streamline more of our day-to-day activities, from live meeting intelligence to personal productivity to smarter marketing campaigns. This has the profound possibility to change how organizations and their workers approach their job duties and processes. That is… if corporations can embrace AI as a competitive advantage vs. working against it.

Related Content: Unleashing the Power of Generative AI: Transforming the Future of Content and Experiences

Generative AI at Work – Microsoft 365 Copilot

On March 16, 2023, Microsoft announced Copilot for Microsoft 365. This new set of functionality seeks to bring the power of next-generation AI to work, providing our experiences in the Microsoft 365 Apps through the power of the Microsoft Graph and AI large language models with your data. This seamless experience seeks to provide a copilot to your work experience and assist with the following:

  • Increase productivity in common apps such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel
  • Maximize collaboration through Outlook and Microsoft Teams
  • Simplify event troubleshooting and response for Microsoft 365 administrators
  • Infuse Business Data and best practices into creator tools such as Power Apps, Visual Studio, Dynamics 365 and GitHub
  • Keep a company’s data estate and attack surface secure with AI-driven troubleshooting and faster incident reporting
  • Boost collaboration and communication within Microsoft Viva

Does Copilot do my work for me?

No. Copilot is meant to assist us in our daily tasks. In most cases, it creates a starting point. Copilot is not intended to do the work for you. The goal is to get your preliminary draft started, provide more insights, and make it better.

AI is not perfect. In fact, it is often wrong. This is clear with both ChatGPT interactions and Copilot for Microsoft 365. But end-users can maximize the Copilot-generated outputs with the ability to Delete, Regenerate, Adjust or Keep.

Use Cases

A new tool is simply a shiny object until we get down to the use cases. Proper use cases will decide whether this is going to truly become another monumental shift or a flash in the pan. Copilot use cases are ubiquitous across Microsoft 365, Power Platform and more:

  • Copilot in Word writes, edits, summarizes and creates right alongside people as they work.
  • Copilot in PowerPoint enables the creation process by turning ideas into a designed presentation through natural language commands.
  • Copilot in Excel helps unlock insights, identify trends or create professional-looking data visualizations in a fraction of the time.
  • Copilot in Outlook can help synthesize and manage the inbox to allow more time to be spent on actually communicating.
  • Copilot in Teams makes meetings more productive with real-time summaries and action items directly in the context of the conversation.
  • Business Chat brings together data from across documents, presentations, email, calendar, notes and contacts to help summarize chats, write emails, find key dates or even write a plan based on other project files.
  • Copilot in Power Platform will help developers of all skill levels accelerate and streamline development with low-code tools with the introduction of two new capabilities within Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents.
  • Copilot for Security will aggregate Microsoft Sentinel security data and correlate alerts from virtually any source with intelligent security information and event management (SIEM); prevent and detect attacks across your identities, apps, email, data, and cloud apps with extended detection and response (XDR) via Microsoft Defender and help mitigate threats to devices, protect corporate data, and improve compliance across all cloud and on-premises endpoints with Microsoft Intune.
  • Copilot for Sales promises to move deals forward, provide deeper customer intelligence and enrich the customer experience through integrations with Viva Sales, Power Virtual Agents, Customer Insights, and Dynamics 365 (Marketing, Customer Service, Supply Chain Management and Business Central)
  • More to come including Dynamics/CRM 365, Viva, Loop, Nuance, and more…

What about Ethics and AI?

Copilot follows the larger Microsoft privacy rules and regulations. Microsoft 365 Copilot does not use customer data – including prompts – to train or improve its large language models. Microsoft believes the customers’ data is their data. Existing Microsoft guarantees for enterprise and commercial data persist and continue. This is especially important in this new era of AI. Follow this link to review Microsoft’s privacy policy and service documentation for more information.

Microsoft recently revised its responsible AI standards and general requirements. See this link for the for details. Microsoft summarizes it’s stance as follows:

Microsoft is committed to creating responsible AI by design. Our work is guided by a core set of principles: fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. We are helping our customers use our AI products responsibly, sharing our learnings, and building trust-based partnerships. For these new services, we provide our customers with information about the intended uses, capabilities, and limitations of our AI platform service, so they have the knowledge necessary to make responsible deployment choices.
Microsoft Responsible AI Standard v2 General Requirements

Copilot Availability

Copilot comes in a few different flavors. Each of these variations have their town timeline.

  • Copilot for GitHub – available now.
  • Copilot for Power Apps – currently available in the United States and English language by signup
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365 – currently testing Microsoft 365 Copilot with 20 customers, including 8 in Fortune 500 enterprises. We will be expanding these previews to customers more broadly in the coming months and will share more on new controls for IT admins so that they can plan with confidence to enable Copilot across their organizations…We will share more about pricing and details in the coming months
  • Copilot for Sales – Copilot for Viva Sales is available now. Deeper feature for Dynamics 365 Customer Service are in limited preview and waitlisted. Additional features mentioned in this article are also in preview.
  • Copilot for Security – Microsoft Security Copilot is currently in preview and not yet generally available. Sign up for Microsoft Security updates to learn about product announcements, security insights, and upcoming events.

Ready to Reimagine Your Employee Experience?

Our dedicated Microsoft Modern Work practice brings the best expertise in the industry. From M365 Strategies to Intelligent Intranet to Microsoft Teams to Microsoft Viva, our consultants are here to ensure your success.

As a designated Modern Work Microsoft Solutions Partner and Viva Early Adopter, our Microsoft Partner Advisory Council and Partner Program contributions along with our 20+ years of delivering employee experiences to our clients means we seek to build the best strategy for your organization.

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Ron Jones, Practice Director, Microsoft Modern Work

Ron is the practice lead for Microsoft Modern Work including M365 security, M365 foundations, tenant -to-tenant migrations, collaboration, and Microsoft-based employee experiences including modern intranets and Microsoft Viva. He is also an active member of the Microsoft community leading the Atlanta SharePoint and Microsoft 365 User Group (ATL365) and speaking at events.

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