Microsoft has just announced a new AI-powered tool, which will be integrated with its Office software suite. Microsoft 365 Copilot has been designed to help organizations generate documents, emails, presentations, and other valuable content. Powered by GPT-4 from OpenAI, Copilot will function as a virtual assistant in the sidebar. While Copilot represents a brand new way of working, it utilizes the power of familiar applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams.

Despite working with known applications, Copilot is much more than ChatGPT attached to Microsoft 365. Instead, AI technology has been integrated with productivity services from the ground up. Copilot orchestrates how users interact with Office, by providing them with a novel and seamless user experience. With most people only using a limited percentage of Office features, this tool promises to unlock the unharnessed potential of multiple Microsoft products.

Where did Copilot come from?

This exciting development was introduced at the recent Reinventing Productivity with AI event. Copilot was developed using the Microsoft Graph, which is a PowerShell SDK serving as an API wrapper. It also implements large language models (LLMs), which are foundational machine learning (ML) models that apply deep learning algorithms to process and understand natural language. Copilot promises to enable valuable human-computer interactions, with users able to interact with apps using their own native language.

The emerging power of AI

The AI-powered tool ChatGPT has received lots of attention lately, both good and bad. This powerful software allows users to access information from the internet and produce new content in text format. The creators of ChatGPT, OpenAI, recently added plug-in support, which gives the chatbot access to live data from across the web. Copilot is driven by GPT-4, which accepts additional prompts composed of text and images to return textual responses.

Microsoft developed the Copilot system with GPT-4, which combines Office apps with GPT-4 through the Microsoft Graph. This allows much deeper levels of data retrieval and contextual intelligence, as user prompts are modified with the Graph before they reach the GPT-4 LLM. This three-pronged process allows for additional grounding, security, and compliance, with information validated and conditioned before a response is generated and sent back to Microsoft 365.

Copilot integration

The Copilot system will work with all of Microsoft’s productivity apps. While implementation will be different between services, core technologies and approaches will be the same. Copilot works in two separate ways: perfect integration with standard Microsoft 365 apps, and the new Business Chat software experience.


Word is the most popular word-processing tool in the entire world. Copilot will have complete integration with Word, helping users to formulate ideas, create first drafts, and refine projects across diverse fields and formats. While it won’t always produce great material, it may save you time and energy by sourcing, writing, and editing content.


Excel is the recognized industry standard for spreadsheets, data visualization, and information analysis. With Copilot, users can navigate the fertile middle ground between dry data and natural language. You will be able to generate complex formulas and create complicated SUMIFs and VLookups by using your own words.


Outlook is a personal information management system that largely consists of email and calendar services. Copilot can be used to separate Outlook information, funnel valuable messages and filter junk by effectively triaging your inbox. It can also be used to summarize threads, draft replies, integrate data, and improve or alter your writing style.


Teams is a valuable collaboration tool that offers workplace chat, videoconferencing, file storage, and app integration. If you can’t attend a virtual meeting, Copilot can be used to create a summary and send you a recap. It can summarize notes and list assigned actions, and supply you with additional details such as alternative solutions and meeting transcripts.


PowerPoint is all about presentation, and Copilot helps with messaging and delivery. You provide the context and upload the documents, and Copilot will create a presentation based on relevant information. You can generate a slide deck using your own language; refine the results manually or through the software; and add explanations, visualizations, and animations.

Power Automate

Power Automate is a no-code solution for app development, and it too can be powered with Copilot. This is an exciting area for AI, with more people likely to use development packages if they can use natural language. With support from Copilot, Power Automate may even become an everyday app like Word or PowerPoint.

Business Chat

A new Business Chat feature will be introduced through the Copilot system, and it will work with all Microsoft 365 data and applications. Business Chat will utilize the Microsoft Graph to integrate documents, emails, notes, contacts, and presentations. Users will have a single chat interface in Microsoft Teams, which they can use to generate summaries, create planning overviews, and much more.

Enterprise ready solutions

During the Copilot announcement, Microsoft was keen to emphasize the commercial applications of Copilot. Far from a frivolous AI content generation tool, it will be launched as a highly-capable business tool with in-built security, privacy, and compliance features. Whether you run a small family business or a large multinational, Copilot will be grounded in your organizational data and operational processes.

This software is designed to work securely between touchpoints, protect valuable private information, and respect compliance regulations across sectors and jurisdictions. It will become an integral part of Microsoft 365, with the same recognized standards and in-build security features as the Office suite. In an earlier presentation, Microsoft announced the Dynamics 365 Copilot, which is a related business-focused AI solution for customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Microsoft 365 Copilot availability

Microsoft Copilot was announced recently on the 16th of March, 2023, and people were immediately excited. According to Microsoft, it represents the next major step in the evolution of human-computer interaction. Not only will it fundamentally change how people work with software applications, but it may also ignite new levels of creativity and unlock a powerful wave of productivity.

Despite rising anticipation, however, Microsoft remains secretive about the launch date. There was no exact date given when the announcement was made, and no one knows when Copilot will be publicly available. Microsoft has offered some clues, however, with the Copilot system likely to roll out incrementally over several months. Instead of one big drop, the technology will come through in doses starting with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more.

If you want to embrace the power of AI in your workflow, Copilot and Office are the perfect combinations. For more information on Copilot, Microsoft 365, or any other Microsoft products, please contact Softlanding today. As the leading experts in professional and managed IT services, we can put your business on the front foot.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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