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Do more work, more quickly within Microsoft 365 with AI

Companies throughout history have found that vast increases in productivity stem from each new technological surge. The latest and most exciting of these is the sudden and tremendous rise of AI or Artificial Intelligence.

In much the same way that the Industrial Revolution marked a change in production that allowed workers to spend less time performing repetitive physical tasks, the emerging field of AI may be marking great changes within the industry that allows workers to shift away from performing repetitive digital tasks and focus on the work that simply matters more.

As more and more tech companies begin to develop and iterate upon their own branches of AI with differing purposes in mind it becomes important to recognise just what specific advances may be beneficial to utilise.

Why use AI?

It’s easy to see the appeal. Who hasn’t watched any work of science-fiction and thought about how much simpler things would be if you had a convenient, computerised assistant to help with everyday tasks. Although we may be a far cry from the likes of Iron Man’s Jarvis or the computer of the Enterprise, we have finally reached a point where AI can shoulder some of the burdens of everyday life. AI also presents an opportunity to re-examine hard-wired work processes. Human biases are stripped away as AI works based on user-defined priorities allowing answers that are as close to impartial as possible.

Microsoft 365 Copilot

Microsoft’s particular breed of AI, dubbed 365 Copilot, has the advantage of being built for their already industry standard Microsoft 365 suite of apps. Envisioned as an AI assistant designed to boost your productivity, the AI supports your work as you go about your business within apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and more. Copilot also utilises the strengths of Large Language Models (LLMs) and the data already being collected through the Microsoft Graph.

All this means is that as the AI model continues to improve it becomes better able to handle the content and context of your data. As Copilot becomes more accustomed to your workflow and processes you may find it becoming almost indispensable to whichever endeavour you may be undertaking in any of the Microsoft 365 apps.

Easy to use

Copilot is designed to recognise natural language prompts, enabling you to communicate with the AI as easily as communicating a co-worker, or perhaps even easier depending on the co-worker! The beauty of Copilot is that it is already built into your most frequently used apps. One of Copilot’s many functions, Business Chat, provides a simple new avenue to better communicate with your co-workers. The example given by Microsoft describes how a user can ask Copilot to “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy,” with the outcome generating a status update that collates information collected from that morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads.

Among the promises made regarding Copilot, Microsoft focuses on helping the user improve in three key areas, creativity, productivity and skill acquisition.

Encouraging Creativity

AI is able to benefit the creative process as common hurdles are encountered. Theoretically, gone are the days of writer’s block or blank page anxiety. Copilot and Word are able to generate whole first drafts based on a user prompt. Whether the AI generated text is close to what you were looking for or even if it ends up wildly different from what you wanted, it still provides a solid base to edit and iterate upon. Copilot and PowerPoint can create presentations from a single prompt and is able to incorporate relevant data from your other documents automatically. Copliot and Excel can analyse trends within your data and present it professionally within seconds.

Improving Productivity

Copilot and Outlook can help you cut through the mountains of emails you have to deal with on a daily basis. Lengthy email threads are shortened into easily digested summaries. Emails that require a response can have a reply quickly drafted automatically to be reviewed by the sender. Copilot and Teams can have the AI essentially act as a moderator, summarising key discussion points and highlighting areas where people agree or disagree while also suggesting action items. Data provided by Github shows that 88% of developers found that Copilot made them more productive, 77% found using the AI meant they spent less time having to search for information and 74% found that they could better focus on the kind of work they find more satisfying.

Developing Skills

All these advances in efficiency means that you are able to better develop your abilities and workflow. No matter how obscure the function, Copilot can execute a command much faster than a human searching through menus for a specific function. This all boils down to you being able to spend more time on the big picture stuff and refining your skillset instead of getting bogged down in the minutiae of everything else.

The Future

It’s certainly an exciting time for those of us who are always looking to do more with less time. Only time can tell just how essential AI will become to our workflows no matter the industry. Tech giants such as Microsoft’s adoption of this new and promising method of automation is a clear sign that AI is here to stay and may soon be considered a crucial supporting column to any work performed by a human.

Ensuring value from your IT

Using the tools at your disposal in your 365 ecosystem correctly will ensure value. You have the power to revolutionise the way your organisation produces work. We can ensure that you implement the right tools, use them correctly, and plan for the future with those tools as important assets in the prolonged success of your organisation. Our success can be attributed to one thing: TRUST. Ever since our very first year in business our clients have been happy to recommend us to other businesses, and we have grown steadily as a result of these recommendations. We can help you to truly get the best from your IT in the most secure way possible. Don’t hesitate – contact us now!

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