Working More Efficiently with AI through Microsoft Copilot
Pieter van Gelooven 20/02/2024

Working More Efficiently with AI through Microsoft Copilot

In a world where AI tools have become the norm, Microsoft introduced a revolutionary addition to its Microsoft 365 suite: Microsoft 365 Copilot. This innovative tool promises to assist users in their daily tasks.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot? 

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI-powered tool that can be directly integrated into classic office applications such as Word, Teams, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel in Microsoft 365, helping users complete their tasks. Just as a co-pilot assists the captain of an airplane, Microsoft Copilot works for the user, taking over (partial) tasks. This allows users to work more creatively and productively, enhancing their personal skills.

The paid tool uses large language models (LLM) from OpenAI and combines their capabilities with Microsoft Graph data and Microsoft 365 apps. As a result, Microsoft 365 Copilot can gather and combine information and data from various apps and storage locations into meaningful results.

What can Microsoft Copilot do? 

Microsoft 365 Copilot supports users in their daily tasks in common Microsoft Office programs, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, but also in lesser-known programs like Whiteboard, OneNote, Loop, and Viva, Microsoft’s employee experience platform.

Users can ask the AI-powered tool to perform certain tasks via voice or text input. In short, Microsoft 365 Copilot should be able to take over individual work steps and help users have more time for truly important tasks, thereby improving productivity.

The range of capabilities is diverse: Copilot can create texts and presentations, analyze data, handle email communication, and take meeting notes. A completely new feature called Business Chat acts almost like a personal assistant.

For example: A user asks the system verbally to inform the team about the latest revision of the product strategy; Business Chat independently gathers information from meetings, emails, and chat processes to generate the requested update for the team.

Below, we delve deeper into how Copilot provides support in the most well-known Microsoft programs.

Copilot in Word 

Users can use Microsoft 365 Copilot in Word to create initial drafts of text. All that’s needed is a brief prompt, and the co-pilot gets to work. The tool uses specific existing files selected by the user or independently assembles the necessary information from company data. An example of using Copilot in Word is the command: “Write a press release about topic XY based on this presentation.”

Users can also use the co-pilot to add content to existing documents, summarize texts, or rewrite documents to achieve a more concise formulation or choose a particularly professional, friendly, or relaxed tone.

Copilot in Excel 

In Excel, Copilot helps analyze data – not only by entering specific formulas but also via spoken or text prompts. An example is the request: “Analyze the quarterly figures and summarize three key trends.”

Microsoft 365 Copilot can also identify correlations in Excel, set up what-if scenarios, or even suggest new formulas based on the user’s questions. The goal is to make it easier for users to work with data, simplify analyses, and recognize trends earlier.

In Excel, Microsoft 365 Copilot is integrated via a chat window on the right side.

Copilot in PowerPoint 

The co-pilot is also designed to help users with PowerPoint. It’s possible to automatically create a presentation based on a Word document, including images either from the archive or created by an integrated AI image tool.

The user can then make changes and adjust the design to their taste – also using the co-pilot. A request might look like: “Format the three bullet points into three columns, each with an image.” The co-pilot’s support can be invaluable, especially for users not very familiar with the program.

Conversely, the co-pilot is also helpful: it can produce a summary of existing presentations with many slides in just a few seconds. In other words, the co-pilot scores by saving time here as well.

Copilot in Outlook 

Spending less time reading and responding to emails sounds promising to many office workers! This is precisely what the co-pilot makes possible by formulating a fully drafted email with just a few notes. If necessary, Microsoft Copilot also uses documents from the Microsoft 365 universe.

The text length can be easily adjusted, and the tone can be changed from friendly to business-like or from friendly to serious – all with a voice command, text prompt, or using a slider.

Also practical: instead of wading through confusing email threads with multiple people, users can ask their co-pilot for a summary, including each person’s standpoint and an overview of the outstanding questions.

Copilot in Teams 

Microsoft 365 Copilot is also set to be a useful companion in Microsoft Teams, ultimately facilitating collaboration between colleagues and with external communication partners. For instance, if a participant joins a virtual meeting a bit late, they can ask the co-pilot in the chat for a summary of the conversation so far and be instantly up to speed.

Similarly, the co-pilot can create meeting minutes after a meeting, summarize the key points, list the tasks arising from the discussion, and assist in follow-up with responsible colleagues. After lively discussions, the co-pilot proves helpful by collecting and clearly presenting the pros and cons of the discussed topic.

Availability and Pricing of Microsoft 365 Copilot 

Microsoft Copilot is available as an additional license add-on for various Microsoft 365 subscriptions, including Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Standard, Microsoft 365 E3 or E5, Office 365 E3 or E5, and Microsoft 365 Education.

As of the time of writing, the cost of a Copilot license is €28.1 per month per user, with the option to activate it for even a single user. This license is valid for one year, costing €337.20 annually.

Previously, Copilot was only available to large organizations that had to purchase at least 300 Copilot licenses in addition to their Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3 or E5 licenses. This required a substantial extra monthly investment of at least €9,000, posing a barrier for smaller organizations.

Note: Currently, Microsoft Copilot is only available for processing information, prompts, and documents in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Although Dutch is not available yet, there’s nothing stopping you from getting started now.

Discover the Possibilities with Us 

While integrating Microsoft 365 Copilot may present challenges, our experts at ABC-Groep are ready to assist you in setting it up and provide guidance. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Revolutionize your workflow with Microsoft 365 Copilot and experience a new level of efficiency and productivity in your daily tasks.