After months of building up anticipation, we’re excited to announce that Microsoft 365 Copilot has been officially released on November 1, 2023. Microsoft’s artificial intelligence is here to revitalise the way we work.
To do that, we’ll need to prepare ourselves a bit, but we’ll get to that in this article. But before we dive into it, from Itequia, we would like to share with you a summary of the annual report, the “Work Trend Index Annual Report,” focusing on one specific question: “Will AI fix work-related issues?”
Since the significant rise of AI in early 2023, various opinions have surfaced regarding its advantages and disadvantages. From the most pessimistic and dystopian views, akin to the “Skynet” concept in the Terminator film series, where AI is seen as the future world dominator, to the most optimistic and utopian perspectives, in which AI is here to assist us and enable us to harness its capabilities, thus enhancing our daily lives in all aspects. This spectrum also encompasses all shades of gray – reactions that, incidentally, have recurred throughout history with the arrival of new technological advancements – and these opinions are underpinned by the increasingly frequent leaps in technology.
But can Artificial Intelligence help us overcome the challenges of work? To what extent? Where should we focus our efforts? Let’s explore the results and conclusions from the “Work Trend Index Annual Report.“
A Paradigm Shift
“The pace of work is outstripping our ability to keep up. Artificial Intelligence is poised to create an entirely new framework for work.” With this statement or headline, the study is introduced. I’m convinced that the vast majority of us will wholeheartedly agree with the first part. What about the second part? Let’s see why we’ll likely concur with the second statement.
The pace of work has increased significantly due to the vast amount of information and constant connectivity. We all strive to manage this situation and the associated workload, while leaders are working to enhance productivity amidst economic uncertainty.
We spend most of our day sorting through the signal from the noise, and this exacts a significant toll on individual creativity and productivity.
Until now, AI has operated in “autopilot mode.” From now on, copilots will work alongside us, liberating us from digital debt – the loss of profits or business momentum due to not adopting digital channels or technologies – and helping us enhance innovation and unlock productivity for each of us.
In preparation for the AI era, Microsoft has surveyed 31,000 workers across 31 countries and analyzed trillions of productivity signals from Microsoft 365. This analysis has revealed three key points that we need to pay attention to and take action on:
- Digital debt is costing us innovation.
- There’s a new partnership between workers and AI.
- Every worker needs AI proficiency.
Let’s delve into the details of each of these findings.
Hasta ahora, la IA ha funcionado en “modo piloto automático”. A partir de ahora los copilotos trabajarán con nosotros, nos liberarán de la deuda digital -la pérdida de beneficios o de impulso empresarial por no adoptar canales o tecnologías digitales- y nos ayudarán a mejorar la innovación y a desbloquear la productividad para todos y cada uno de nosotros.
Digital debt is undermining innovation.
We all carry digital debt, the pace of data, emails, notifications, calls, and meetings makes it difficult for us to process everything efficiently. This pace is only increasing. Everything seems important, so we spend our entire day managing these stimuli to the best of our abilities.
We have limited daily hours, and every minute spent managing digital debt is a minute we don’t devote to the creative work that drives innovation. And this has a significant impact on the business.
Teams allocate 57% of their time with Microsoft 365 to communication, with the remaining 43% dedicated to creation
It’s becoming easier for us to communicate, but it’s also getting harder to keep up with everything. When we zoom in on the aspects that most affect productivity, we find:
- Loss of concentration.
- Information retrieval.
- The volume of constant communication.
What can we do?
- First and foremost, let’s address the productivity obstacles in our organization by gathering feedback from our colleagues.
- Let’s completely rethink the workday Use Artificial Intelligence to free up time and energy, protecting our focus for creativity and driving innovation.
- When it comes to meetings, let’s consider them as a “digital artifact” rather than a point in time. Utilize AI to summarize meetings, transcribe recordings, and review them when we have the appropriate attention.
The new alliance between artificial intelligence and employees
This is the point where we can dispel the dystopian scenario that some sources have suggested AI might lead to.
There were (and still are) concerns that AI will replace us in our jobs. But here’s the unexpected twist: employees anticipate AI will alleviate their workload more than they fear being replaced by this technology. To be more concise
- 49% express concern that AI will replace their work.
- At the same time, 70% would delegate as much work as possible to AI to help lighten their load.
What burdens employees the most and what does Artificial Intelligence offer? The following image depicts how survey respondents envision work in 2030.
What can we do?
- Let’s align the management of our organizations. Create safe spaces to allow people to experiment with AI in a secure and responsible manner.
- Do this intentionally and in a structured manner. Like any platform change, the adoption of AI on a certain scale requires change management. Start with some processes and workflows to test and learn from. Identify change agents within the organization who can convey the benefits of this change.
- As we start to adopt AI, do it where people need it based on our weaknesses and challenges.
Every employee needs AI proficiency
Each of us is unique, with our own strengths and weaknesses. The paradigm shift to using copilots requires a radical change in the way we work. Using natural language with Artificial Intelligence will become as natural as what we’ve been doing with the internet.
We need to consider aspects like:
- Critical thinking
- Analytical judgment
- Complex problem-solving
- Emotional intelligence
- Creativity and originality will become new core competencies.
In essence, we have to work interactively with AI and apply these skills to its results.
What can we do?
- Let’s help our colleagues embrace a new way of working. Start by building AI proficiency, from practicing prompt engineering (knowing how to write what we need from AI effectively) to fact-checking to verify whether the results are correct or not.
- Leverage the learning resources and best practices available from those who have already adapted to AI as copilots.
- Think about how roles and functions can evolve alongside AI, creating opportunities for reinvention.
Let’s not stop; let’s continue down this path that opens before us.
Artificial Intelligence is designed to ease our work and has great potential to free us from digital debt and enhance innovation.
AI won’t fix work; it will create an entirely new way of working.
Managers will need to help their employees work responsibly with AI to reap all the benefits we’ve discussed in this article.
Now, in November 2023, we can get to work with the copilot rollout and learn how to work with it in these tools:
“We won’t pilot alone.”
Oriol Fernandez – Product Owner at Itequia