Microsoft 365 co-pilot early access program and 2023 Work Trend Index

Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program

Earlier this year, Microsoft Corp. introduced Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will bring powerful new generative AI capabilities to apps millions of people use every day like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Microsoft Teams and more.

The company is expanding access to the Microsoft 365 Copilot preview and introducing new features. The company also released new data and insights from its 2023 Work Trend Index report: “Will AI Fix Work?”

The data shows that the pace of work has accelerated faster than humans can keep up, and it’s impacting innovation. Next-generation AI will lift the weight of work. Organisations that move first to embrace AI will break the cycle — increasing creativity and productivity for everyone.

“This new generation of AI will remove the drudgery of work and unleash creativity,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “There’s an enormous opportunity for AI-powered tools to help alleviate digital debt, build AI aptitude and empower employees.”

The report shares three key insights for business leaders as they look to understand and responsibly adopt AI for their organisation:

1. Digital debt is costing us innovation: We’re all carrying digital debt: The volume of data, emails and chats has outpaced our ability to process it all. There is an opportunity to make our existing communications more productive. Every minute spent managing this digital debt is a minute not spent on creative work. Sixty-four percent of employees don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done and those employees are 3.5x more likely to say they struggle with being innovative or thinking strategically. Of time spent in Microsoft 365, the average person spends 57% communicating and only 43% creating.

2. There’s a new AI-employee alliance: For employees, the promise of relief outweighs job loss fears and managers are looking to empower employees with AI, not replace. Forty-nine percent of people say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs, but even more — 70% — would delegate as much work as possible to AI in order to lessen their workloads. In fact, leaders are 2x more likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount.

3. Every employee needs AI aptitude: Every employee, not just AI experts, will need new core competencies such as prompt engineering in their day to day. Eighty-two percent of leaders anticipate employees will need new skills in the AI era, and as of March 2023, jobs on LinkedIn in the U.S. mentioning GPT have increased by 79% year over year. This new, in-demand and AI-centric skillset will have ripple effects across everything from resumes to job postings.

“The pace and volume of work have increased exponentially and are outpacing humans’ ability to keep up,” said Jared Spataro, CVP, Modern Work and Business Applications. “In a world where creativity is the new productivity, digital debt is more than an inconvenience — it’s a threat to innovation. Next-generation AI will lift the weight of work and free us all to focus on the work that matters.”

To empower businesses in the AI era, Microsoft is introducing the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program with an initial wave of 600 enterprise customers worldwide in an invitation-only paid preview programme. In addition, the following new capabilities will be added to Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Viva:

  • Copilot in Whiteboard will make Microsoft Teams meetings and brainstorms more creative and effective. Using natural language, you can ask Copilot to generate ideas, organise ideas into themes, create designs that bring ideas to life, and summarise Whiteboard content.
  • By integrating DALL-E, OpenAI’s image generator, into Copilot in PowerPoint, users will be able to ask Copilot to create custom images to support their content.
  • Copilot in Outlook will offer coaching tips and suggestions on clarity, sentiment and tone to help users write more effective emails and communicate more confidently.
  • Copilot in OneNote will use prompts to draft plans, generate ideas, create lists and organise information to help customers find what they need easily.
  • Copilot in Viva Learning will use a natural language chat interface to help users create a personalised learning journey including designing upskilling paths, discovering relevant learning resources and scheduling time for assigned trainings.

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