Microsoft New Features – The Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program And The 2023 Work Trend Index.
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Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI-powered assistant introduced on March 16, 2023, for Microsoft 365 applications and services. It utilizes OpenAI’s advanced GPT-4 LLMs and Microsoft Graph to transform user text input into content in various Microsoft 365 apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.
Recently, Microsoft has unveiled a new Private Preview Program, which allows testing of AI capabilities, along with the “Semantic Index for Copilot” feature, which facilitates these capabilities. So far, the feedback from users who have tried it has been overwhelmingly positive, with only 20 business users having tested it.
The company announced on Tuesday that it is broadening the availability of the preview version of Microsoft 365 Copilot and is presenting new features. Additionally, the company has unveiled new statistics and observations from its 2023 Work Trend Index report.“Will AI Fix Work?”
According to the data, the speed of work has increased beyond the capacity of humans, leading to a negative impact on innovation. However, the upcoming AI technology will alleviate the burden of work. Organizations that adopt AI early will disrupt this pattern, resulting in enhanced creativity and productivity for all.
Satya Nadella, the chairman and CEO of Microsoft, stated that the latest AI technology will eliminate the tediousness of work and enable creativity to flourish. He believes there is a significant potential for AI-based tools to reduce digital debt, enhance the ability to use AI and give more power to employees.
The report provides three important pieces of information that can guide business leaders in responsibly understanding and adopting AI for their organizations. These reports comprise;
Digital Debt Is Costing Us Innovation:
All of us are facing the problem of digital overload due to the excessive amount of data, emails, and chats we have to handle. There is a chance to enhance the efficiency of our current communication methods.
Managing this digital overload is taking away from the time we could spend on creative tasks. According to a survey, 64% of employees feel that they don’t have enough time and energy to complete their work, and these employees are 3.5 times more likely to struggle with innovative and strategic thinking.
On average, Microsoft 365 users spend 57% of their time on communication tasks and only 43% on creative work.
There’s A New AI-Employee Alliance:
Despite concerns about job loss due to AI, managers aim to empower their employees with AI tools rather than replace them. While 49% of employees worry that AI may replace their jobs, 70% prefer to delegate tasks to AI to reduce their workload.
Furthermore, leaders believe AI can be more valuable in boosting productivity than reducing headcount, as they are twice as likely to prioritize AI for productivity enhancement in the workplace.
Every Employee Needs AI Aptitude:
In the era of AI, all employees will require new essential abilities, not just those who specialize in AI. According to 82% of managers, employees will need additional skills to succeed in the AI era, and job postings on LinkedIn in the United States that mention GPT have increased by 79% year over year as of March 2023.
This newfound AI-focused and highly sought-after skillset will impact everything from resumes to job advertisements.
Jared Spataro, CVP of Modern Work and Business Applications, stated that the amount and speed of work had grown exponentially, surpassing human capability to keep up. He also mentioned that digital debt is no longer just an inconvenience but a hindrance to innovation, considering creativity is now the new productivity.
Spataro further added that the next-generation AI would alleviate the burden of work and enable people to concentrate on essential work.
Microsoft is launching an Early Access Program called Microsoft 365 Copilot to help businesses succeed in AI. The program will be available to 600 enterprise customers worldwide, invited to participate in a paid preview. With this program, Microsoft will also add new features to Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Viva.
Copilot In Whiteboard
- The Copilot functionality integrated into Whiteboard is aimed at enhancing the creativity and efficiency of Microsoft Teams meetings and brainstorming sessions. You can utilize natural language to request Copilot to generate concepts, categorize them into groups, create designs that depict the ideas, and summarize the Whiteboard content.
Copilot In PowerPoint
- By incorporating OpenAI’s image-generating tool called DALL-E into Copilot in PowerPoint, users can request Copilot to produce personalized images that complement their content.
Copilot In Outlook
- The Copilot feature integrated into Outlook is designed to guide users in improving the effectiveness of their email communication by offering coaching tips and suggestions on clarity, tone, and sentiment, thereby boosting their confidence.
Copilot In OneNote
- The Copilot feature integrated into OneNote will utilize cues to draft outlines, produce concepts, establish lists, and arrange data to assist users in quickly locating the information they require.
Copilot In Viva Learning
- Viva Learning’s Copilot feature will utilize a chat interface that uses natural language to help users create a customized learning experience. This includes designing paths for upskilling, identifying applicable learning resources, and scheduling time for assigned training sessions.
Microsoft is introducing a new capability called the Semantic Index for Copilot to help all Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers become AI-ready.
The Semantic Index for Copilot is a complex representation of user and organizational information that Microsoft 365 Copilot utilizes to respond more effectively to user inquiries or requests. This feature will also improve the search results for businesses using E3 and E5 subscriptions, even if they do not use Copilot.
According to Microsoft, the Semantic Index for Copilot can respond more efficiently to a sales report query by utilizing information about the individuals within a company responsible for creating reports and the tools used in the process.
This is made possible through the pre-existing Microsoft Graph indexing of various communication and collaboration components, such as emails, files, meetings, chats, calendars, and contacts, which are included with Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
No description was given regarding when Microsoft 365 E3/E5 customers can expect the release of the Semantic Index for Copilot.