To reconnect to the soul of our work, we don’t just need a better way of doing the same things. We need a whole new way to work.
Jared Spataro, Microsoft
Copilot is Microsoft’s new AI-driven personal assistant, allowing you to focus on the creative and the essential, streamlining mundane tasks and make work more efficient.
Microsoft used a lot of flowery words to introduce Copilot, but you can’t fault the intent: keeping work as efficient as possible to allow more time for what matters, whether that is teaching, learning, creating, solving or just enjoying a nice cappuccino with the newspaper.
What is Microsoft Copilot?
Microsoft describes Copilot as a co-worker, one that doesn’t nick your last yoghurt from the fridge.
It’s a new productivity tool designed to streamline and simplify your day. It’s an intermediary sitting between your Microsoft 365 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) and a natural language model, combining the power of artificial intelligence with applied practice to provide an intuitive and comprehensive platform.
Copilot offers recommendations on how to better manage workflow, adjusts priorities based on user feedback and habits, and actively seeks out improvements to increase efficiency.
What does it do? How will it impact my day?
Using advanced algorithms, it can detect inefficiencies and tactical errors, alerting users when those discrepancies are found. The system also takes interpersonal dynamics between team members into account and provides a platform to improve collaboration between workers who may not know each other well for example due to remote working.
You can use Copilot for:
- Business Chat – Use 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.
- Word – Flashing cursor getting you down? Copilot can give you a first draft to edit, potentially saving a lot of time. You can prompt Copilot to shorten, rewrite or give feedback.
- PowerPoint - Create beautiful presentations featuring graphics and animations with a simple prompt, adding relevant content from related documents INCLUDING Outlook and Teams.
- Excel – identify and analyse trends and create data visualisations in seconds. Use commands like “find our least profitable region” rather than =SUMIF(B2:B25,"<5")
- Teams – It can be difficult to simultaneously make notes and follow a discussion. Things can be missed. Teams Copilot can summarise key discussion points — including who said what — and suggest action items, all in real time during a meeting.
- Power Platform – automate repetitive tasks and go from idea to working app in minutes. Will it be robust, accurate, bug free? Maybe not. But a working model is better than nothing even if you just use it to brief IT.
- Level Up. Most of us use only a handful of features from the thousands available across Microsoft 365. Now, you can use natural language to initiate action, rather than having to sort through a bunch of complex menu items and commands.
Won’t that be annoying?
The idea of having an automated program providing step-by-step instructions on how to complete a task might sound helpful at first. However, nobody enjoys hearing 'Helpful hint' every few minutes, making us feel inadequate. Remember Clippy? A lot of people had strong feelings about Clippy. But with all the features Microsoft has added in, including personalised learning and smart suggestions, one can only hope that Copilot stays out of your way when you don't need it and isn't too intrusive when you do.
Is it secure?
As part of the Microsoft offering, we can be sure that Copilot has been engineered with a high level of security and privacy in mind. All data sent between you and the service is protected through secure protocols, and your end-user experience is encrypted for added safety. Two-factor authentication, compliance boundaries, privacy protections and more make Copilot more trustworthy than, say, ChatGPT. Though no service is ever impenetrable, Microsoft takes responsible steps to ensure your personal information remains safe when using Copilot.
Microsoft Copilot has arrived and is set to revolutionise the way we work. It helps streamline our workflows; reducing time-consuming and mundane tasks, encouraging better interactions between colleagues, and providing accessible knowledge about the Microsoft Office tools. Put to use correctly, it can truly transform the way we do business today.
According to Microsoft, Copilot is currently being trialled by “20 companies,” but there’s no word on when the rest of us can have a go.
If nothing else, this is an astonishing demonstration of Microsoft’s progressiveness and ingenuity. Five months ago we were all Googling and writing our own copy like cavemen, now we have a whole ChatGPT ecosystem embedded within the tools we use every day. Impressive… and a bit scary.
Need help getting started? Get in touch with us today so we can optimise your Microsoft 365 environment. The power of a well-organised workplace should not be underestimated - let’s make the most of it!