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The Microsoft 365 apps that will have their potential augmented by Copilot

Posted 15th September 2023

“The traditional notion of productivity, where humans do the bulk of the work and rely on computers for the final step, has been flipped.” Sumit Chauhan, corporate vice president of the Office Product Group at Microsoft. 

Microsoft is clear on the revolutionary impact AI will have on the function of business and the way we work; it will unleash creativity; it will unlock productivity; and it will uplevel skills. 

Importantly, it will remove the drudgery of time-consuming and tedious tasks, freeing employees to focus on more fulfilling, higher value work. 

With the forthcoming launch of Copilot, Microsoft is putting this world of possibility directly into the hands of M365 users. 

Combining the power of large language models (LLMs) with your own data in the Microsoft Graph, Copilot has been embedded into the suite of Microsoft 365 apps, to work alongside users to automate tasks, create content and streamline communications. 

In this article, we take a practical look at seven ways the most widely – and lesser used – Microsoft 365 apps will take your work to the next level with the launch of Copilot.

Unleash creativity:

1) Copilot in Word

As the most widely used Microsoft 365 application, Copilot for Word is likely to be one of the most popular business AI tools – particularly as employees get used to the technology. At a basic level, you can give it a topic, and it will create a draft for you; whether it’s an article, a basic research summary, or a simple presentation. It will also make suggestions and corrections as you type, add visuals or a summary, and make predictive recommendations for words and phrases.

However, it comes into its own when integrated with your other M365 apps and company data. It can draw through key detail, such as meeting notes, statistics or previous presentations, and when given the right prompts, produce new drafts of proposals, marketing content, and even contracts, that reflect your usual written approach. It shifts production from ‘creation’ to ‘refinement’ – over time, you’ll never have to write up a job description, a tender response or a production description from scratch ever again.

2) Copilot in Whiteboard

Whiteboard is Microsoft’s collaborative ‘canvas’ for ideation and planning in meetings. Adding Copilot to Whiteboard will take brainstorming sessions to the next level – generating ideas, analysing and organising them into themes, and even creating designs on the fly that bring them to life. 

It can even summarise your Whiteboard content, ready for sharing with your team after your brainstorming sessions.

3) Copilot in PowerPoint

Copilot in Powerpoint can quicken the time to producing a presentation, by taking your existing text or prompts, and creating a draft deck.

It can convert Word documents into presentations (or vice versa), suggest suitable creative images, animation and original titles, and even generate speaker notes for every slide.

And if your presentation is too long, it can condense your copy into shorter sentences or bullet points, or even tighten your entire deck into fewer slides.

Unlock productivity:

4) Copilot in Outlook

If you’ve ever waded through a full inbox after time away, you’ll know the drain it can have on your productivity.

Copilot in Outlook looks set to be a game changer for dealing with an influx of emails – Microsoft describes it as ‘separating the signal from the noise.’

It can prioritize the most important messages, summarize long email threads into the most salient information, and even draft replies, drawing through relevant data sources and adapting to your writing style, so all you need to do is check, and send.

5) Copilot in Teams

The powerful summarising capabilities of Copilot have the potential to transform Teams meetings – no need to take notes, no need to send follow-up contact reports, no need even, to attend meetings that you would ordinarily sit in on to avoid missing out.

Copilot will summarize what happened in the meeting, identify who said what, and capture the main points discussed. It will even identify any questions that remained unanswered.

At scale, the ability to limit attendees to only those who absolutely must be involved, has the potential to drive significant productivity gains.

Here’s Sam Schillace, Microsoft’s deputy CTO with his experience: “I was in a Teams meeting, and we turned on closed captioning. The model—an internal experiment—took the closed captions and structured them into a Loop document. So at the end of the meeting, we didn’t just get a transcription, we got: ‘Here’s all the questions asked, all the answers that were given. Here’s all the stuff that was referenced and here’s a snippet of any document that referenced that.’ We got this nicely structured log of the meeting to refer back to.”

6) Copilot in Planner

Alongside Microsoft Whiteboard, Planner is another tool that could take your planning and project management to the next level. 

Already a powerful task management tool, when combined with Copilot and your other M365 apps, it could streamline your projects, from kick-off, to delivery. 

Imagine a Teams meeting in which tasks are assigned – instead of manually creating your project plan, you can use Copilot to join the dots; highlighting actions, creating a project plan in Planner, and assigning tasks to relevant individuals. 

If you’re currently using a separate project management program, it could be time to think again.

Uplevel skills:

“It’s going to give everyone a superpower they’ve never had before.” Jon Friedman, corporate vice president of design and research at Microsoft. 

The productivity apps in Microsoft 365 are already designed to help users work smarter – but Copilot will take your workforce’s potential even further. 

It will, says Microsoft, ‘make you better at what you’re good at, and quickly master what you’ve yet to learn’, boosting the capabilities of lower skilled employees to the level of your more highly skilled and productive team members. 

All of the M365 apps will work more effectively together, augmenting the capacity and output of every individual and giving your business an edge. 

Get more from your Microsoft 365 apps with Copilot

There’s no doubt, AI will change the way we work, and for the pioneering businesses and ambitious teams who embrace it, it has the potential to unlock new levels of productivity. 

But it’s important to ensure the right foundations are in place before you dive in.

Get ready for Copilot with BCN. Speak to our team today.

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