Insights 6 M365 Copilot Features I Love and 4 I Don’t

6 M365 Copilot Features I Love and 4 I Don’t

The commodity AI capabilities of Copilot and other platforms are taking the world by storm. The question that few have answered however is… “what’s it like?” Does it work? What doesn’t work? As both an avid user of Office and a leader in the AI adoption space, I wanted to share some initial feedback on what I’m REALLY loving in M365 Copilot and what I’m finding a challenge.

What I Love 1: Meeting Summaries

I am not a note taker. I really try to be present in meetings, looking people in the face, and understand what is being said. Often, the note taking duties have fallen to another member of the team, but that naturally takes them partially out of the discussion while they focus on notes. The immediate benefit of Teams Premium and Copilot is the automation of note taking, summaries, action items, and asking questions “about the meeting”. A question like, “who disagreed in the meeting”, or “what was the tone of the meeting”, is easily answered by Copilot. It also means I don’t have to annoy co-workers about “how did the meeting go? As I can find out myself”.

What I Don’t 1: Microsoft Whiteboard Copilot (yet)

I love using Microsoft Whiteboard in place of a traditional whiteboard. It works well from my laptop, the Surface Hub, over Teams meetings, and for sharing. So when I heard there was going to be a Copilot for Whiteboard, I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, the initial version is a bit underwhelming. It isn’t useless, but it’s pretty limited. The Copilot for Whiteboard essentially lets you use a prompt to create sticky notes, or summarize notes already on the board. While I think that is somewhat useful, I can think of MANY other things I’d much rather have… such as:

  1. Summarize the written content on the board in the context of the meeting we just had. What are the next steps?
  2. Translate the drawing into a digital diagram. I always wonder why someone hasn’t built such a thing. It would be amazingly useful to create digital representations of whiteboards sketches.

I’m confident many capabilities will be coming for whiteboard. Just not yet.

What I Love 2: Upcoming Meetings and Email Summaries

I got back from vacation and I had a lot that happened while I was out. I was unsure about when the need meeting was with different customers or partners… so I turned to Copilot. In the case below, you can see I’m asking about any upcoming meetings I might have with Launch, an organization that I’m working as a student-mentor with.

I also love the capability in Outlook to use Copilot to summarize an email string, especially one that has been going on for a while. I recently returned from vacation, and I immediately used Copilot to summarize some of the TLDR messages I didn’t want to go through in depth. For example, in the email below, you can see it summarizes my Cyphercon session conversation with Michael and Brandon, indicating that we have some action items, such as our Bios and Photos that we need to return. BTW… don’t miss Cyphercon this year! We’ll be talking about mitigating AI security risks!

What I Don’t 2: Presentation Slide Creation (but descriptions are great)

Man… I really want to love Copilot in PowerPoint. There are some things I do really love there. However, I haven’t been impressed with its creation of slide content that I actually use (yet). I’m sure it will get there and eventually it will speed up my presentation prep. So far, I haven’t seen as much impact. The funny thing is… I LOVE the designer feature of PowerPoint. Why they didn’t amp that up another ten notches is beyond me. That is already one of the best features of PowerPoint, pre-Copilot.

For instance, I asked it to “create a slide that describes the benefits of an AI center of excellence”. I know how to write this and was curious what the AI would build. What it created was pretty ugly. Now, I think the template might have thrown it off a bit and I’ve seen it do better in longer-form content. It just didn’t really speed up my process in this instance.

Now… on contrast, the presentation descriptions from Copilot have been great. You can ask Copilot to summarize a presentation and it does a reasonably good job with references. This is a nice time saver.

What I Love 3: Document Drafting in Word and Outlook

The hardest word to write is the first one. A colleague of mine says, “with Copilot, you never need to write a draft again”. I must admit I’m a bit torn when I ask Copilot to draft something. I feel a bit dirty not being the one coming up with the original idea. For many pieces of content, such as this newsletter, I completely eschew the use of it. However, for other things, such as a Statement of Work, an idea list, or a framework, it can be a perfect complement. For something that I’d “give to an intern” to start, I can now give to Copilot.

Things I Don’t 3: General Misses on Content Targeting

In order for Copilot to be effective at Q&A from the corporate intranet, you need to point it in the right direction on certain prompts. For example, in Concurrency we have a “submit Kudos” button we use pretty liberally. We love to give positive feedback where warranted on the excellent work our consultants do. So, I wanted to ask Copilot if it could find the link to submit. Interestingly, it DID find the link, but not in the easy to find SharePoint button on the main homepage. This is something an organization just needs to understand as they deploy the tooling. Where you need precision and accuracy, you need to do some extra work to get what you want.

Things I Love 4: The Stuff I Forgot

I have a lot to juggle on a daily basis and sometimes I forget about an important commitment I made because it slipped my mind. Copilot has been very useful at helping me to catch up on any outstanding items I might have forgotten that were captured in email or meetings.

Things I Don’t 4: Satire (and Tone) is Still a Bit of a Struggle

I’m not Michael Scott… but I do tell a good dad joke. I’ve been off-and-on working on a site (it’s been a while… don’t judge me). I asked Copilot in OneNote to look at previous examples and create a few new ideas. I had to re-prompt it a couple times to get it closer to what I was looking for. In that sense, I’m also a bit concerned about “sound like me”. It seems that some of the nuances of humor and/or tone are still missing. That’s ok, as it’s supposed to be a Copilot, not an Autopilot.

Things I Love 5: Copilot Studio Integration

I think one of the biggest benefits long-term of Copilot will be the ability to plug in custom Copilots created in Copilot Studio, as well as the interplay with fully custom platforms built in Azure AI Studio. I appreciate the opportunity for power users to create intelligent automations or bots that can accomplish tasks that require moderate accuracy, precision, and explainability. It is also a gateway to build best-in-class AI solutions when partnered with Azure AI Studio and the work of talented data scientists.

Things I Love 6: Excel and Power BI

The capabilities coming for Excel and Power BI are pretty impressive. The ability for Copilot to provide insights from data and describe what is happening in a report is very helpful. I particularly think that Excel jockeys are going to find value from Copilot for data analysis, but will also be able to translate that into Power BI use cases delivered through Fabric.

However, I didn’t like that you needed to format everything as a table in order for it to be used. This is a major gap that needs to be closed… or at least made easier to do, since almost every Excel needed to be changed to use Copilot.

Final Thoughts

Well… I’m certainly a fan. I’ve found immediate benefits from meeting summarization, content creation, finding content, building simple automations, and working with documents. M365 Copilot needs some more work in the nuanced areas like presentation prep, tone, and excel. I’m certain it will get there and as it does, I’ll post again. In some of these cases content prep makes a difference as well (such in the Power Point example). I’d be very surprised if an information worker didn’t get immediate benefit from Copilot.