Copilot Dominated the 2024 M365 Community Conference

M365 Conference 2024 Rollup Image

There was a lot of Copilot at this year's M365 Community Conference.

This year’s Microsoft 365 Conference united a global audience, filling sponsor booths and drawing attendees to over 150 sessions. Held in early May in Orlando, Florida, the conference became a vibrant hub for learning, networking, and celebrating the dynamic M365 tech community. With a spotlight on Microsoft's cutting-edge AI innovations, participants had a unique opportunity to connect with product creators, industry experts, and peers to gain deeper expertise in Microsoft 365 and Copilot.

The event showcased the latest in Microsoft 365’s capabilities, emphasizing the integration and enhancement of AI tools to boost productivity, creativity, and collaboration. The conference also highlighted the importance of readiness, adoption, and compliance to ensure successful AI investments.

Extranet User Manager was an event sponsor, providing our team with the opportunity to interact with the Microsoft Community at the booth and showcase the product’s newest release features. Senior Consultants from our sister brand, Envision IT, attended the conference itself, collecting the latest information to bring back to our clients.

Joel and Peter at EUM booth M365 2024

Whether it was conversations at the booth, coffee break chats, conference sessions, or dialogue at events in the evening, Copilot was the dominant theme. It was clear from Microsoft’s messaging that they want to showcase how Copilot advances their vision for workplace productivity, as well as how they hope Copilot will simplify interactions with Microsoft’s core solutions.

In his keynote address, Jeff Teper, President, Microsoft 365 Collaborative Apps and Platforms, emphasized the value Microsoft sees in allowing clients to remain in their flow of work. His metrics supported this business goal and demonstrated just how much data clients’ flow of work generates:

  • Clients achieve cost savings of +60% by using Microsoft’s integrated solution set versus disparate, disconnected tools.
  • There are now 300 million monthly active users of Microsoft Teams, making it the fastest growing product in Microsoft’s history.
  • 200 petabytes of new content are added monthly to SharePoint, representing two billion documents a day. That marks the biggest month in history for SharePoint and the fastest growth rate Microsoft has experienced.
  • There are now 100,000 custom apps for Microsoft Teams.

That much growth and data, enabled through a single M365 license, means that Microsoft’s technology frustrates a lot of users, acknowledged Sumit Chauhan, Corporate Vice President, Office Product Group. When introducing her at the keynote, Teper dubbed Chauhan “the mother of Copilot.” She began her presentation by stating that Copilot “will reduce that frustration.”

Before taking attendees through the new features in Copilot, Chauhan emphasized that human agency is at a premium in all scenarios. She then delivered what our team considered to be the best/most intriguing/memorable line of the conference:

"Copilot is not going to get it right all the time. But even when it is wrong, it is usefully wrong…. Customers find it really easy to have an interaction with Copilot and turn something that is usefully wrong into something that is meaningfully right."

Our team will be developing in-depth analysis of key developments at the conference and how clients can take maximum advantage of them. In the meantime, we’re providing a brief overview of key announcements from the conference.

Copilot: Unlocking Efficiency and Creativity

Copilot integrates with everyday Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Its capabilities now extend beyond mere automation, claims Microsoft; it augments human creativity and productivity.

Before reviewing the latest developments, it’s important to be reminded of how Copilot operates.

  • Content Creation and Editing:
    • Copilot generates written content, designs, and data visualizations.
    • Whether you’re drafting an email, creating a report, or designing a presentation, Copilot assists by suggesting relevant phrases, layouts, and graphics.
    • A use case might be a marketing team crafting a product launch email.
    • Copilot provides compelling language, ensuring consistency and engagement.
  • Data Analysis and Insights:
    • In Excel, Copilot becomes your data-savvy partner.
    • It offers advanced analysis capabilities without requiring deep technical expertise.
    • For instance, an analyst working on sales data can ask Copilot to create pivot tables, perform trend analysis, or visualize results.

Recent Copilot Announcements: Expanded Capabilities

  • Graph Grounded Chat in Outlook:
    • Starting in May, Copilot extends its reach to Outlook.
    • It connects to and reasons across your enterprise data, including chats, documents, meetings, and emails.
    • A use case could be discussing a project deadline in an Outlook chat.
    • Copilot pulls relevant information from past emails, documents, and meetings, providing context-aware responses.
  • Local File Grounding:
    • Copilot’s ability to reason across work data becomes even more comprehensive.
    • You can now ground prompts in local files stored on your machine.
    • Need insights from a locally saved report? Simply mention the file name, and Copilot assists.
  • Efficient Word Document Creation:
    • When you ask Copilot questions in Word chat, it draws from rich, people-focused data and insights in the Microsoft cloud and Microsoft Graph.
    • For instance, imagine drafting a project proposal.
    • Copilot suggests relevant statistics, case studies, and persuasive language, streamlining your document creation process.

Copilot Business Benefits: Real-Life Use Cases

  • Streamlined Marketing Campaigns:
    • Copilot assists marketers in crafting compelling ad copy, social media posts, and newsletters.
    • It ensures consistent messaging and saves time.
    • A digital marketing agency using Copilot saw a 30% reduction in content creation time, allowing them to focus on strategy.
  • Data Driven Decision-Making:
    • Financial analysts leverage Copilot to analyze complex financial models.
    • Copilot suggests relevant formulas, performs sensitivity analysis, and visualizes trends.
    • A finance team reported a 20% increase in accurate forecasting using Copilot.
  • Efficient Customer Support:
    • Copilot aids customer support agents by suggesting empathetic responses, troubleshooting steps, and relevant knowledge-based articles.
    • A tech support team reduced resolution time by 15% with Copilot’s assistance.

Enhancing SharePoint: A User-Centric Approach

Microsoft has continued to make improvements to SharePoint. These updates are designed to enhance the user experience, streamline content creation, and foster better collaboration. Let’s dive into the key areas of focus:

  • Simpler Authoring:
    • SharePoint now offers Copilot integration.
    • Authors can utilize Copilot to assist them in creating compelling content.
    • Whether it’s crafting intranet pages or collaborating on real-time coauthoring, Copilot promises to simplify the process.
    • Additionally, a revamped starting experience makes personal page creation more straightforward.
    • Soon, section-level inline commenting and design ideas will further enhance the authoring experience.
  • Compelling Content:
    • Visual design matters, especially for modern intranet sites.
    • Microsoft understands this, and SharePoint now delivers high-quality design standards.
    • Employees can expect an engaging experience internally, akin to what they encounter across the web.
    • Furthermore, Viva Connections tailors its mobile experience for Android and iOS users, ensuring seamless access to content on the go.
  • News in Outlook Default Experience:
    • News in Outlook is expanding its reach.
    • Soon, it will become the default experience for all SharePoint news posts.
    • This integration ensures that employees stay informed without leaving their familiar email environment.

Microsoft Teams: Enhancing the Flow of Work

Microsoft Teams has rolled out several exciting features and improvements. Let’s dive into what’s new and how it benefits users:

  • Multi-Turn Conversations with Copilot:
    • Copilot now supports multi-turn conversations in chats and channels.
    • After Copilot answers your question, you can continue the conversation and ask for more details or clarification.
    • This feature promises to enhance communication and provide deeper interactions within Teams.
  • Hide General Channels:
    • Users can now hide or show the general channel of a team, just like other channels.
    • Customizing the channel list and reducing clutter by hiding less relevant channels will improve organization and focus on essential channels.
  • Group Chat Profile Picture:
    • Clients can use custom chat profile pictures to match your team or group chat topic.
    • Members can upload images or select from illustrations and emojis, making chats more inclusive and expressive.
    • This feature promises personalized and easily distinguishable chats.
  • Context-Based File Attach Suggestions:
    • With this feature, attaching files to chats is easier.
    • Teams suggests relevant files from OneDrive and SharePoint based on the conversation context.
    • This feature will streamline file sharing and productivity.
  • Voice Isolation:
    • AI-driven voice isolation eliminates background noise during calls or meetings.
    • Only the user’s voice is heard, even in noisy environments, providing clear communication regardless of your surroundings.
  • Performance Improvements:
    • The new Teams app is up to two times faster and uses 50% less memory.
    • Teams Rooms devices optimize audio and video performance, promising a smoother experience and efficient resource utilization.

That's a wrap on our 2024 #M365Con Recap! Next week, we're heading to the European Collab Summit in Wiesbaden, Germany, as a Silver Sponsor. Learn more about the event and EUM President Peter Carson's exciting session on People Search in M365.

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