5th Apr 2023
3 Min Read

Microsoft Copilot - First impressions

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
IC & Engagement

Microsoft Copilot. What is it and why should those responsible for employee engagement care? Let’s find out.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Copilot is Microsoft's newest experiment in the Office365 suite of tools. It combines a chat interface that understands natural language with seriously smart artificial intelligence (AI), and the content and data you have at work.

That’s your emails, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and notes to create a tool that answers naturally phrased questions with useful, meaningful answers that ‘understand’ the documents and conversations you work with every day.

Think ChatGPT at work. Or, what I like to call, ‘Megaclippy.’

I’m excited, because while ChatGPT is great at interrogating data and formulating useful results based on information out there in the big wide world, Microsoft’s Copilot is looking at hyper-relevant and hyper-useful internal business documents that have specific, personalised and collaborative value, making the tool potentially very powerful.

What does Microsoft Copilot mean for internal communications?

Here’s an example: You’ve just hosted a Town Hall and your leader has (mostly) followed the script and hit all the important points in the new strategy reveal.


You upload the video onto Stream – Office365’s answer to YouTube – which has already transcribed the video and created subtitles.


Now you ask Copilot, either directly in Word or via Office365’s new business chat interface:

Create a summary news article of the Town Hall transcript in an easy to read and friendly tone of voice.”

Copilot has a think and does exactly that. You just saved yourself a good hour or so and your Intranet story is drafted in seconds.

Now, of course this is where I must say: “this is a good start to the article but make sure you refer to your own notes, and your understanding of the strategy points to proof this AI-generated first draft.”

As with tasking this to a junior colleague, it’s up to you to make sure it’s right and to tweak as necessary. But, as a first draft, it’s certainly very useful.

Diving deeper

It’s not yet clear how much data and insight we can get with Copilot. For example, is it possible to broadly ask: “What did people think about today’s town hall? Summarise feedback from all employees in a PowerPoint deck.”?

I wonder if Copilot can, or will, run through emails, Yammer posts and direct messaging available across the business, and then anonymously provide sentiment on employees’ reception of the Town Hall.

There’s a mountain of ethics and data security wrapped up in all of this. But Copilot’s potential impact on internal communication could be phenomenal, not just in terms of tactical support, but also measurement and big-picture insights too.

Could it kill the all-staff survey?

What happens now?

Copilot is currently being rolled out to a very small selection of Microsoft Office365 users. The complexity and potential impact of this tool on those customers could be wide-ranging and it will be tricky to monitor and understand the value that the tool can bring to businesses across all sectors.

Knowledge-based sectors, such as law, program development and consultancy, could benefit wildly from hyper-connected Copilots that have their fingers in all the knowledge pies at any given company. But its ability to assist and support day-to-day tasks could touch everyone in any given business.

This new tool is exciting but does need to be fully understood and explored before we all get carried away, especially given some of the initial teething problems there have been bringing this tech to consumers externally.

We’re keeping our eye on these exciting developments and will share what we see with you in future Digi Digests. But if you’re looking to explore how your current Office365 suite can help support employee engagement and collaboration, you know who to ask.

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