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  • Writer's pictureEtienne Oosthuysen

What is Copilot for M365?

Updated: May 16, 2023

In a previous article, How will ChatGPT change data analytics, I explained how I think generative AI such as GPT will affect data analytics. I am now more convinced of the likelihood of the impact of these changes than before.

As the name suggests, Copilot works alongside you, as your co-pilot. Using Generative AI, and built on GPT-4, it will help you analyse data (Excel), write documents (Word), maximise productivity during meetings (Teams), helps you present (PowerPoint), and helps you manage comms (Outlook). Truly game changing and will very likely help simplify your daily office workflows.

Please note that as at the date of publishing this, the AI features of Microsoft 365 Copilot are not yet available to all users but wil be rolled out in due course. "Unfortunately, there is no confirmed release date for Copilot. If you don't see the "Get Ideas" button in your app, it may be because Copilot hasn't been enabled for your account yet. In Microsoft’s blog post, they revealed that twenty of their clients currently have access to the new apps. If all goes well, they will then have plans to roll it out in the next “coming months”." - Microsoft 365 Copilot release date speculation - when will it get a wider release? - PC Guide


Update 16 May 2023 - A great summary of Copilot, how it’s different from ChatGPT, how it can use your proprietary data, and how this data is protected here.



Copilot leverages Microsoft Graph to analyse and interpret your chat’s input before being forwarded to ChatGPT 4 to resolve. Similarly, The data from ChatGPT 4 is initial forwarded to Microsoft Graph for validation, security and compliance checks. This is to ensure that Microsoft can sandbox the functions and features explicitly for the purpose of Office 365.

 

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Excel

In a previous example I showed how you can use ChatGPT to analyse data, and we are currently working on a way to allow for the same over your corporate data (e.g. in Azure), but with Copilot, this moves the functionality to analyse data into the most pervasive data analysis and reporting tool in the world, Excel. With Copilot in Excel you can:

  • Analyse results of dataset & key trends.

  • Creates a sandbox sheet for exploratory work.

  • Find and visualise correlation.

  • Deep dive analysis.

  • Helps make sense of large volumes of data.

 

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Word

  • With only a brief prompt and from documents in OneDrive, Copilot creates a first draft of, for example, a customer proposal.

  • Strike the right tone, from professional to passionate to casual to thankful.

  • Extends content.

  • Makes content more concise.

 

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Powerpoint

  • Create a customer ready slide deck with just some initial starter info.

  • Turns Word into PowerPoint and vice versa.

  • Creates contextual animations.

  • Ensures less wordy slides.

  • Generates speaker notes.


 

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Outlook

  • Catchup with emails in your inbox with Copilot.

  • Triage your inbox.

  • Summary email threads.

  • Draft and generate replies.

  • Makes emails more concise.

  • Reviews and sends emails.


 

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Teams

  • Opt to follow meeting rather than attend.

  • Summarize what you missed as a recap.

  • Highlight content, notes, and action items.

  • Clarify notes.

  • Explain why a decision was made.


 

Conclusion


Part of the current AI, specifically Generative AI, revolution., Copilot is aimed at assisting with tasks. working alongside the user. If it does what it says on the tin, then this is a very compelling prospect. Microsoft claims it 'will observe user behaviour within Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and provide personalized suggestions for how to complete tasks more efficiently'. These intelligent suggestions can be particularly useful for people who work with large amounts of data, create complex documents or presentations, or who simply want to enhance their overall productivity.





Joint author Reagan Burpee


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