In March 2023, Microsoft announced that it had begun testing Copilot, its ChatGPT-powered workplace assistant. The trial initially began with 20 major companies, before expanding to a further 600 organisations in May.

Microsoft claims that this technology will be nothing short of revolutionary for office workers.  According to the firm’s own research, countless desk jockeys feel they spend too much time doing repetitive, menial tasks, and want to be more creative. This finding is corroborated by other studies which show that, for example, two thirds of office workers think they do the same jobs over and again. Some studies even claim there’s an epidemic of ‘boreout’ (as opposed to burnout), with millions of people getting little joy from their careers.

And this, says Microsoft, is what Copilot will fix. By letting AI handle more of the dull stuff, people will have more time and freedom to do things they really enjoy.

So how might it all work – and will it be as transformational as Microsoft hopes?


Microsoft is infusing AI into its productivity apps

Copilot essentially works by connecting ChatGPT’s powers of writing and analysis with your organisation’s own information (via Microsoft Graph – an AI tool that tracks data inside your Microsoft 365 instance). While ChatGPT is trained to write content based on information it has read on the public Internet, Copilot makes it more personalised, by bringing in your company’s internal information (reports, presentations, spreadsheets, etc.).

For example, where ChatGPT could write a coherent paragraph about what Acme PLC does, Copilot could be used by an Acme PLC employee to find out what their colleague Emily is currently working on.

Copilot is not yet available for public consumption, but based on initial demos it looks like it will appear as a sidebar in programmes like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

So, how will this technology improve people’s productivity and make work less tedious? Here are just a few examples of potential uses.



Anyone who’s used ChatGPT will have been left deeply impressed by the technology’s ability to produce fluent and coherent text based on simple prompts. Its potential in Microsoft Word documents is simply enormous. We can, for example, imagine an employee opening up a business report template, and asking Copilot to write a new status report based on the latest data from Microsoft Project.


Writing work emails can often be painfully repetitive, but Copilot could help. Say an email comes in from a customer asking about an upcoming appointment. Copilot could check your calendar, then draft out a response that you can review before clicking ‘send’. Why spend five minutes writing out this kind of mundane email, when you can have it done for you in 30 seconds?

Viva Sales

Microsoft has also demonstrated how Copilot could connect with Viva Sales. In a video, the company shows how the technology can intelligently produce responses to customer enquiries by cross referencing data from your CRM.

If, for instance, a customer asks for a product brochure, Copilot could draft a friendly email and attach the correct brochure. The salesperson would just need to double check the content and add some personal touches – but would potentially save several minutes each time such a request came in.


Copilot should be able to do multiple helpful tasks to save people time in Excel. From summarising a spreadsheet, to analysing data to answer questions (e.g., ‘which product is performing best this quarter?’), or producing different kinds of graphs and charts, it should make it much easier to use the spreadsheet programme.


Few people really enjoy creating slides, and so Copilot could prove very helpful. You could, for example, ask it to turn a specific report into a presentation, tell it to add a bit of spark to the design of an entire deck, or even use AI to create interesting imagery.


Copilot will also be made available in Teams, where it should be able to help with a wide variety of useful tasks such as taking meeting minutes, summarising what’s happened on a call, or even help with brainstorming ideas in Whiteboard.

And there are plenty more apps where Microsoft plans to introduce Copilot, including in the Power Platform, Dynamics CRM, Loop, OneNote and beyond.


Will this really revolutionise productivity?

It’s long been a dream of Microsoft’s to provide a genuinely helpful assistant in its software – from Clippie through to Cortana, the company has attempted things like Copilot before with mixed results. However, with the power of ChatGPT built in, this really could be a game-changer.

Copilot clearly has potential, and it does seem likely that it will help people do lots of things faster. If it really can produce coherent emails, documents and take on other time-consuming – yet low-value – tasks, then it could make millions of people more productive – while also cutting out some of the more tedious parts of our working lives.

However, there is some uncertainty among experts about quite how helpful – or safe – Copilot will be:

  • Potential for ‘hallucinations’: ChatGPT and other LLMs have developed a reputation for producing ‘hallucinations’ – i.e., making stuff up. That’s one thing if it’s just someone playing around with ChatGPT for fun, but could be disastrous if an employee sends false pricing information to a client by accident. A few well-publicised Copilot failures could be very damaging to people’s trust in the tech.
  • The newness factor: Just like ChatGPT, Copilot can’t create anything new – it’s essentially trained on information that’s already out there. There’s a risk that by using these technologies, employees will become overly-reliant on tech that essentially regurgitates information. People could produce reports and presentations that look new but contain nothing genuinely fresh.
  • Security issues: Microsoft has made great efforts to assure people that Copilot won’t be used to train external LLMs like ChatGPT. But there are dangers when using it internally too. If a company hasn’t properly configured its own security and permissions, there’s a risk that information will be surfaced that certain employees shouldn’t be able to see.
  • Limited: Copilot is, as far as we know, limited to using data stored in Microsoft 365. For companies that use several different IT systems (e.g., on-prem storage, other clouds, non-Microsoft apps), the tech will only ever have limited value.

Get ready for Copilot

Copilot is, of course, in its early days, and there will be lots of development and testing required before it’s rolled out at a global scale. At FITTS, we’re very excited about its potential for improving the world of work and helping make people more productive.

To be successful, Copilot will require internal training to ensure people actually adopt the tech. Companies will also need to ensure Microsoft 365 is configured correctly, so that Copilot is trained on the correct data and to avoid security compromises.

Interested in how your company can get prepared for this new era of AI-powered productivity? Talk to us today.