• Practical AI
  • Posts
  • The AI inside Microsoft 365 is crazy bananas 🍌

The AI inside Microsoft 365 is crazy bananas 🍌

This is how AI will change the world

Hey there

I suck at Excel! 

There, I said it…

For years I have “embraced the suck.”

But, Copilot inside Microsoft 365 is here, and I will suck no more!  

Become the wizard of Excel

Remember when Harry Potter discovered he was a wizard? 

That's me with Copilot in Excel

Gone are the days of muggle-like spreadsheet struggles. 

With a flick of my wand, I mean a click of my mouse, I can watch the data arrange itself like magic, making me the Hermione Granger of number-crunching. 

Look at this picture:

On the right side we will now have access to the Copilot, which is… wait for it… powered by GPT-4 and/or GPT-4 Turbo from OpenAI. 

But Copilot is not only limited to asking questions about the spreadsheet. You can ask Copilot to make new columns too. Or rearrange. Maybe combine some fields or numbers is more your jam?

No problem! 

Before you needed some of those Harry Potter skills to make that happen. 

Now you just tell the AI what you want and watch the magic happens - pun intended. 

Not sure what you are looking at? 

Ask.

Don’t know what to ask? 

No worries! Copilot tells you what questions you can ask, what you can abstract from the sheets, including trends you might not have though about. 

Like I said, I suck at Excel. 

And I don’t know what I don’t know. 

With this, I can put on a suit and tie and go work for PwC…  

I think what Microsoft is doing with Excel really signifies the power of AI and how it is going to change business and work. 

But wait, there’s more…

While I am the most excited about Copilot in Excel, Copilot is available in all of Microsoft 365. 

That’s right, not just the “Office package” (as we old folks say), but across all of Microsofts infrastructure. 

Pretty soon you will have a “Copilot” button on every application or surface that Microsoft offers. 

You can get it inside Word today. 

In Word it can help write text, rework a text you already written, and even combine multiple sources (files) and create something unique for you based on them. 

Imagine the time savings… 

What about taking your new Word document and create a PowerPoint presentation based on that data and that document? 

That’s not a problem at all. 

While I have never been too concerned about creating fancy slides, I always tend to go for extremely basic looking presentations using one of the basic templates. 

Why make it hard for myself? 

Well, now we have access to the Copilot and it will do all the fancy stuff for you. Sure, it is still going to require some adjustments, but Powerpoint is full of options and AI can help you with a lot. 

How fast can you make a great looking Powerpoint presentation? 

My guess; pretty darn fast…

What about Teams, our “favorite” online meeting tool? 

(I put it in quotation marks because I am not_a_fan!). 

Anyways, I think Copilot inside Teams is cool! 

Who would have thought… Teams + cool in one sentence. 

Wake me up, because I must be dreaming! 

Imagine you are late to a Teams meeting. Copilot got your back!

Instead of feeling lost, and interrupting, or disturbing a coworker - just ask Copilot for a summary of what has been discussed already. 

Voila! 

An obvious use case is the transcripts and meeting notes. Extend that, and ask the AI to create documents, reports, articles and even Powerpoint presentations for you about the meeting. 

Productivity through the roof!!

What about Outlook

Of course Copilot is there too. 

One of the first AI tools I think I mentioned when I started this newsletter, was an AI that lived inside your email software and could draft an email reply in no time. 

A huge time saver! 

Well, too bad for them. Now both Outlook and Google will have these capabilities inbuilt. 

And it is just a matter of time before the rest of the email clients will too…

While I personally prefer writing my own emails, especially the “important” ones, it is not super hard to see how Copilot inside Outlook and other email tools will increase your productivity. 

My worry, however, is will I remember what I have replied and said to the person on the other side? 

Don’t we risk a situation where two AI’s are mostly talking between themselves and we as humans forget what the heck we are talking about?

Is there such a thing as too much productivity? 

But Copilot is not only limited to helping you write the emails. It can surface important information, prioritise your inbox, etc. 

It is as if an assistant is living inside your inbox. 

Kind of neat, huh? 

How about drafting a reply based on data you have in a document? 

Yeah, it does that too. 

I am sure we will find plenty of more use cases as time moves on. 

Chat is a new and interesting feature. 

You can now do company wide chats where you have access to all of the data and intelligence of the organisation (in addition to all the knowledge of GTP-4). 

Imagine chatting internally, and you cannot remember some data about last week’s customer meeting, or you want to double check that you got your facts right?

Just ask Copilot inside the Chat to find you those data and share in the chat. 

I mentioned intelligence above, but I cannot go without talking about Microsoft Graph

LLMs (AIs) are trained on a large set of data. 

General data. 

But the key to unlocking the power of the AI internally for your business, is the use of your own business data. 

Microsoft Graph is that connection. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot has real-time access to both your content and context, which means the AI is generating answers anchored in your business context. 

What specifically? 

Well, Copilot have access to all your emails, documents, calendar, chats, meetings, contacts and other business data (inside Microsoft 365) and therefore can help you within your working context. 

That means being able to answer your questions inside a chat, by pulling information from emails , Excel sheets, Word, OneDrive, Teams, etc. 

Copilot gives you accurate, relevant and contextual responses. 

Scary or cool? 

Me personally - a little bit of both… 

But a key point Microsoft makes, is that this happens in a secure, compliant, privacy-preserving way. 

I guess the question is - do you trust this to be true? 

Let’s talk about money

Will everyone get access to Copilot?

Yes, but…

…it is an add-on. 

It does not come included with your regular Microsoft 365 license.

It is available to both the private and the pro market, though at different prices. 

If you have a personal (or family) license, getting Copilot will cost you an additional $20/month PER user. 

If you have a professional/business license, the extra cost is $30/month PER user. 

BUT…

You need to commit to an annual plan! 

So the actual price is $240/$360 for Copilot, depending on what license you have.  

And while I think having Copilot will save businesses insane amount of time and will make their business more productive, the question remains - do I need this when I have ChatGPT, which uses the exact same AI model? 

Or rather, do I need ChatGPT if I get Copilot? 

The answer to that question for a business is clear - I think. The whole Graph thingy makes it worth it. Having your own AI encompassing all your data and tacit knowledge of the organization is worth its weight in gold. 

But I think it will make sense for some private persons as well, depending on what you use your Microsoft products for. I can think of a bunch of friends that would love this, but I cannot imagine my wife or daughters having much use of this. 

Copilot in other places

This newsletter is already long as it is, so I do not want to dive any deeper into other areas where Copilot will live. But if your business or your workplace is built around the Microsoft suite of tools and infrastructure, Copilot will eventually live inside every nook and cranny. 

I randomly came across this today: Microsoft has developed Copilot for “Microsoft Cloud for Retail”.

I didn’t even know there was a “Cloud of Retail”. But it makes sense - it is a huge business field. 

Either way, this stuff offers AI and data solutions and capabilities for retailers that span the retail shopper journey, from enabling personalized shopping experience, empowering store associates, and unlocking and unifying retail data to helping brands more effectively reach their audiences. 

There will be retail data solutions inside Microsoft Fabric and Copilot inside Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. 

This is obviously not my field of expertise. But as I said above, Copilot will find its way into all of the Microsoft offerings and in every corner of your computer. 

And while Microsoft seems to have a solid lead on “all the other” tech companies, Google included, what happens and what capabilities will we have once the other giants comes to the table? 

Who? Oracle, Amazon, IBM, SAP, Alibaba, WMware, Cisco, and HP…  

Then what? 

We are in the beginning of a major disruption to everything - I might even go as far to say we might be at the beginning of a fifth industrial revolution… 

Either way, the world in 5 years is going to look very different thanks for AI. 

I think the introduction of Copilot in “all things Microsoft” is giving us an insight to what is coming down the pike. 

🤖 

That’s all I had for you today. 

What do you think about Copilot inside Microsoft products? 

Let me know by hitting reply. 

AI’ll be back next week with more practical AI stuff 🔥

- Thomas

🤖 

Join the conversation

or to participate.