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 has now announced it 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 2023 Work Trend Index surveyed 31,000 people across industries in 31 countries including 14 Asia Pacific markets* as well as trillions of signals from emails, meetings, and chats across Microsoft 365, plus labor trends on LinkedIn. The data shows that the pace of work has accelerated faster than humans can keep up, and its 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.
“AI represents a whole new way of working, as it moves from autopilot to copilot, freeing us from digital debt and fuelling innovation,” said Vinod Muralidharan, General Manager Modern Work, Microsoft Asia.
“As work evolves with AI, so must we. Employees across Asia Pacific are optimistic about AI, as our Work Trend Index research suggests 78 percent of people in this region would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads. The most pressing opportunity and responsibility for every leader is to understand how to leverage AI to remove the drudgery of work, unleash creativity, and build AI aptitude.”
The report shares three key insights for business leaders as they look to understand and responsibly adopt AI for their organisations:
- 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. 72 percent of people in Asia Pacific say they don’t have enough time and energy to get their work done, and those people are 3x more likely to say they struggled with being innovative. Of the time spent in Microsoft 365, the average person spends 57 percent communicating and only 43 percent creating. And the #1 productivity disruption is inefficient meetings.
- 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. While 58 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific say they’re worried AI will replace their jobs, even more – 78 percent – would delegate as much work as possible to AI in order to lessen their workloads. In Asia Pacific, 3 in 4 people would be comfortable using AI not just for administrative tasks but also analytical work and creative aspects of their role. Meanwhile, leaders are 1.9x more likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by boosting productivity rather than cutting headcount.
- 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. 85 percent of leaders in Asia Pacific anticipate employees will need new skills in the AI era. And 71 percent of people in Asia Pacific say currently they don’t have the right capabilities to get their work done. This new, in-demand and AI-centric skillset will have ripple effects across everything from resumes to job postings.
To empower businesses in the AI era, Microsoft is also introducing the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program with an initial wave of 600 enterprise customers worldwide in an invitation-only paid preview program. 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.
To help every customer get AI-ready, Microsoft is also introducing the Semantic Index for Copilot, a new capability we’re starting to roll out to all Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers.