Your business wants AI
AI adoption in businesses took its time, but there’s been a major shift over the last couple of years thanks to the democratisation of the technology behind it. Where AI used to sound like something far-off that happened in labs, it now touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives.
At home, Alexa calls out what ingredients you need for a lasagna, your Smart Meter predicts what energy you might use, and clever apps help decide when to turn your lamps on and off. As more people get a taste of what AI can do for them in one part of their lives, they see how it could help in others, namely at work. Something IT teams are rightly responding to.
Research by the UK Government indicates that in 2022, 15% of all businesses were already using at least one AI technology. Since then, that number is very likely to have increased, in fact, that same study predicted that between 2020 and 2040, annual expenditure on AI technologies will increase from £16.7 billion to £83.5 billion.
So, who’s been leading the charge for exploring AI in businesses today? Generally, it goes like this:
- The C-suite: Want to remain competitive by developing their offering and continuing to innovate. They’re seeing what AI is doing for others, and don’t want to be left behind.
- IT teams: Want to make use of the productivity and automation AI offers – especially for integrating, deploying and operating technology.
- Workforces: Are already accustomed to AI at home, and want to be able to reap the same shortcuts and benefits at work. They want their business technology to be more intuitive or are even already using shadow IT AI solutions of their own.
Among businesses already adopting AI, IBM global research indicates that the top two drivers for AI adoption are advancing accessibility and achieving cost reductions. From our own experience, we’d also add automating daily tasks and improving customer experiences into the mix as major drivers.
Deploying AI isn’t as big a leap as it may sound
At a top-level AI can give your business some big wins, such as automating business processes etc, enhancing productivity, and improving customer experience and services to match competitors.
But on a more granular level, how is AI affecting employee and IT teams’ day to day working life?
These are some of the AI tools making waves for businesses right now:
Grammarly – Ever wondered why your colleague doesn’t make silly typos in their emails? They’re probably running their emails through a tool like Grammarly first. It’s the grown-up version of Spellcheck, which checks on your grammar, spelling, and sentence structure before making intelligent recommendations about how to improve your content.
Chatbots – We’re all familiar with Chatbots by now, this is a perfect example of AI becoming commonplace in our day-to-day lives. That leads us on to…
ChatGPT – There’s a lot of noise, and some controversy, around ChatGPT. In case you’re not quite sure what it is, ChatGPT is the generative AI chatbot which you can chat to, ask to perform tasks, and use to create things like Excel formulas.
AI vs generative AI
‘Generative AI’ is a phrase you may have heard more recently. Compared to more traditional AI, which focuses more on analysing, detecting, and classifying existing data, generative AI encompasses AI programmes that generate new data. Think ChatGPT. That data may be content, a video, images, or almost anything you can think of, depending on the program you’re using.
But let’s bring things back down to earth a little. Within your very own Microsoft suite, you can make use of, and deploy, AI solutions that are designed to make life easier for every user, regardless of their technical capacity or experience, by giving them their very own AI copilot.
Every user’s Copilot
Microsoft Copilot is designed to travel with you as you traverse across your Microsoft suite, providing shortcuts and anticipating your needs along the way. The vast range of AI-driven automations are embedded across Microsoft 365 to make Office programmes more intuitive and optimise users’ time.
By using natural language prompts, users can unlock new Copilot functionalities from the programmes they use every single day, including:
Word – Have you noticed Word finishing your sentences for you lately? If you’re a Windows 11 user, then you should have. This is just one of the ways Word is getting smarter, and Microsoft are standing up to AI content generators like Chat GPT by helping users write their own documents faster.
PowerPoint Designer tool – The designer tool makes slide decks simpler to write, build, and read, by reshaping your slides and making them slicker and more professional. The AI Speaker Coach then helps you rehearse and refine how you present those slides.
Excel – Excel can now analyse and interpret your data before transforming it into impressive data visualisations within moments, so users don’t have to spend hours converting raw data into something presentable.
Copilot is designed to help with everything users do, right down to Bing Copilot, designed to improve the search experience of every user. But Copilot is far from just being about the users.
Microsoft Copilot for IT teams
Copilot is designed to improve even the most complex of workflows and work programmes, so that IT teams too can make better use of their time.
There’s Copilot for Microsoft Dynamics, to help manage your CRM and ERP, there’s Security Copilot to help security professionals manage their environment, and with Copilot in Power Platform, you can automate repetitive tasks, build and launch chatbots, and take apps from idea to reality within minutes.
Perhaps one of the most advanced usages is GitHub Copilot, which is already widely used, and speeds up code writing by turning natural language prompts, comments and commands into code suggestions while you work.
Copilot is currently being rolled out to all Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers, so if your business needs help getting to grips with the new features, or you just want to talk AI, get in touch.