Microsoft 365 Copilot: How to increase your company’s productivity and efficiency with AI

Published: 26 February 2024
Published: 26 February 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been in the headlines a lot recently and is increasingly becoming part of our day-to-day lives, but did you know you could have your very own AI assistant to help you boost productivity at work too? 

As the business world continues to grow and get more competitive, efficiency and productivity are becoming increasingly important. Users can benefit from Microsoft 365 Copilot which acts as an AI assistant to your workflow, integrating with all your favourite Office 365 applications to boost productivity.  

How Copilot works 

Copilot uses the power of large language models (LLM) and data from your organisation’s Microsoft 365 suite, as well as Open AI’s LLM GPT-4, to make intelligent suggestions, offer insights and automate tedious or repetitive tasks.   

Copilot can help users in many ways and ranging from a chatbot that provides intelligent suggestions to a fully integrated AI assistant. Copilot runs off GPT-4 whilst also utilising Microsoft’s Bing giving  Copilot full access to the internet to provide more relevant information compared to GPT 3.5 (which is only as accurate as information up to January 2022). 

Currently, you need a business or enterprise Microsoft 365 subscription to access Copilot but, used effectively, this AI tool could revolutionise your workflow to the benefit of your entire company. 

What can Copilot do? 

Copilot can quickly generate content, ideas, insights and more with just a few words or clicks. More specifically, it can: 

  • Assist in crafting documents and composing emails. 
  • Develop presentations and design graphics.  
  • Streamline your tasks and save you time by handling routine work.  
  • Summarise text, rephrase sentences, and format data. 
  • Schedule meetings, send messages and generate meeting minutes.  
  • Refine your writing, communication, collaboration and learning abilities.  
  • Provide feedback, suggestions, tips and explanations that can enhance your overall proficiency.  

Although this tool is designed to act as your copilot, it would be unrealistic at this stage to expect it to act as your autopilot! It is important to research and verify any AI-generated content, including that from Copilot, online to ensure the results are accurate. 

How does Copilot integrate with other Microsoft 365 applications to support business operations? 

The integration of Copilot across all Microsoft 365 applications makes it easier to get more out of the programmes that are central to business operations.  

Word 

  • Drafting – Generate a complete first draft by providing Copilot with a prompt or key points. Copilot can also continue writing an existing document and analyse other files to inform the content it produces.  
  • Editing and rewriting – Copilot can suggest how to improve sentence structure and clarity in your writing. It can also simplify and transform complex data into clear, well-formatted tables. 
  • Summarise documents – Copilot is able to produce a summary of the key points in your document. 

PowerPoint  

  • Create presentations – Through simple prompts, Copilot can create PowerPoint presentations with relevant content and visuals from scratch. 
  • Transform documents to PowerPoints – Turn Word documents into visually engaging presentations. 
  • Branding assistant – If your organisation has branding guidelines, Copilot can create presentations with your logos, colour schemes and fonts. 
  • Enhance existing slides – Copilot can reorganise your slides for better flow and clarity, create summaries for quick reference or audience handouts and automatically generate speaker notes based on key points. 
  • Add visual appeal – Copilot can suggest relevant, high-quality images for your presentation and convert data into charts and graphs. 
  • Use your organisation’s data – When given permission, Copilot can access internal data sources to strengthen your presentations with engaging insights. 

 Excel 

  • Suggest formulas – Based on your cell selection, Copilot will suggest relevant formulas tailored to your data and your desired outcome (e.g. average, total etc.) 
  • Explain existing formulas – Copilot can help you understand existing formulas on a spreadsheet by breaking its function down into plain English. 
  • Complete partial formulas – If you start typing a formula, Copilot will suggest completions based on context and common Excel functions. 
  • Identify data trends and patterns – You can ask Copilot questions about your data, like “What are the top three sales regions?” or “Is there a correlation between price and sales?”. Copilot will analyse your data and present insights in charts, PivotTables, or summaries. 
  • Highlight interesting data points – Copilot can detect unusual values, outliers and potential errors in a dataset that may require further investigation. 

Teams 

  • Summarise chats and channels – You can easily catch up on missed conversations in chats or channels from the past day, week, or month without wading through a lengthy thread, thanks to Copilot’s useful summarising tool. 
  • Find important information by asking questions – For example, you can use prompts like “What did Katie say about the deadline?” or “What are the next steps in this project?” to get more targeted results than when using the standard search function on Teams. 
  • Minute-taking– Copilot can be used to capture key discussion points and who said what during meetings. It can also identify actions and generate a list of action points assigned to specific people.  

How to make the most of Microsoft Copilot 

  • Regular updates – Copilot is constantly evolving and to maximise its full potential it is important to ensure that it is updated regularly and that all updates are installed. 
  • Effective prompts – The prompts that you provide Copilot with are important to receive strong results. Giving clear examples and providing example scenarios will help produce the most relevant results. 
  • Team collaboration – Copilot has the option to collaborate with peers, which could help with increasing efficiency and accuracy amongst your team. 

 

Copilot is a valuable addition to your organisation’s productivity toolkit, which can be added to your current Microsoft 365 package or introduced to your organisation via a new plan. Understanding all the different options available is important to make sure that you are using the most effective Microsoft plan for your organisation. Contact our friendly IT experts today to review your options. 

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