The world of great technology is constantly evolving. Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, has become a cornerstone of productivity and collaboration for millions of users worldwide. The thought of what new developments and improvements we can expect from Microsoft this year is exciting. Here are our top five predictions for Microsoft 365 in 2023.
#1 More AI integration with Microsoft tools
Companies increasingly use artificial intelligence tools like DALL-E, ChatGPT and generative AI to improve their products and services. Here are a few examples:
- World-leading toy manufacturer Mattel uses DALL-E to generate ideas for new Hot Wheels toys.
- CarMax, a used car dealer based in the United States, has aggregated customer reviews with generative AI technology.
- Social media platform Snapchat has integrated a chatbot into its messaging service.
- Instacart, an American company that operates a grocery delivery and pick-up service, uses ChatGPT to answer customer grocery inquiries.
- Billion-dollar American beverage company Coca-Cola also plans to use generative AI to create new marketing content.
Not surprisingly, Microsoft has been investing heavily in AI technology for the past four years, and this year we expect to see even more AI-powered productivity enhancements in Microsoft 365. Microsoft’s long-standing partnership with OpenAI is no longer big news, but what does it mean for us, the end users?
In a recent blog post, Microsoft wrote that the number of Microsoft Edge installs has increased. Microsoft shared that its Bing search engine has reached a milestone of more than 100 million daily active users. The post also highlighted the popularity of Bing Preview with OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, which has attracted more than one million users. In addition, Microsoft reported that over 30% of users who signed up for the preview had not used Bing before.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf-dbS9CcRUThe Future of Work With AI – Microsoft March 2023 Event – YouTube Video: Microsoft.com
To meet current market trends, in December 2022, Microsoft announced that DALL-E 2 integration into some of its products, such as Microsoft Designer. Microsoft Designer is a web-based application which is going to be available exclusively to Microsoft 365 subscribers that enables the creation of graphics and visual elements. The app uses artificial intelligence to help create custom content, allowing unique images and designs to be generated. With Microsoft Designer, users can create various objects, including but not limited to signs, invitations, logos, social media posts, website banners and more. As of December 2022, Microsoft Designer can be accessed via a preview version on the web, which requires registration on a waiting list.
In addition, we expect to see further development of Microsoft Power Platform’s AI Builder. AI Builder is an innovative feature built into Microsoft Power Apps. This tool allows users to create and train machine learning models without any previous programming knowledge.
Microsoft is also introducing Copilot in Dynamics 365, which is modelled after GitHub’s Copilot service. The goal of Copilot is to automate repetitive tasks in sales and customer service. Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales users can use Copilot to compose responses to customers and create an email summary of a team meeting in Outlook. The new Conversation Booster feature in Power Virtual Agents allows companies to connect their chatbot to resources such as websites or knowledge bases to answer questions the bot has yet to be trained to respond.
#2 Low-code/no-code developments with Power Platform
With increasing digital demand and the need for new applications to be developed in the coming years, Power Platform can help users automate tasks and respond to the wave of digital transformation.
Low-code and no-code developments enable almost anyone to create practical ICT systems. Of course, they do not replace an expert developing software from scratch. Nevertheless, they are an affordable solution for many small organisations.
Microsoft is positioning itself for a low-code future, as evidenced by the recent Power Fx announcement and Power Platform updates. This low-code application development solution allows developers to create applications, or Power Apps, that integrate with other Office 365 and Dynamics 365 services.
At the 2022 annual Microsoft Ignite technology conference, Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president of Low Code Application Platform at Microsoft, and Julie Strauss, partner PM director at Microsoft, highlighted what users can expect from Power Platform in the near future. One major announcement is the integration of Power Automate Desktop into Windows 10, which allows users to automate tasks and increase productivity.
There is now tight integration between Microsoft Teams and all parts of the Power Platform, allowing developers to create Power Apps directly from the Teams interface. Microsoft is also introducing new governance controls and data loss prevention features to the platform and supporting Microsoft Information Protection to improve data security.
#3 More application integration with Microsoft 365
As Microsoft continues to expand its suite of services, we expect to see even deeper integration between Microsoft 365 and other Microsoft services such as Teams, Dynamics 365 and Power BI. This integration will enable even greater collaboration and data sharing, making it easier for teams to work together across departments and projects.
One of Microsoft’s main focuses is expanding its productivity tool suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Teams applications. These applications are used by millions of people worldwide, and Microsoft is constantly adding new features and capabilities to improve its functionality and usability.
Another focus of Microsoft is the development of cloud-based services. The company’s Azure platform is one of the most popular cloud computing platforms on the market and offers businesses a wide range of tools and services to develop, deploy and manage their applications and services.
Microsoft has also invested heavily in AI and machine learning, focusing on natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision. This has led to the developing of new products such as Azure Cognitive Services and the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), which allow businesses to build intelligent applications that can understand and interpret human language.
In addition to these areas, Microsoft has also worked on other products and services, including the HoloLens mixed reality headset, the Power Platform low-code development environment and the Dynamics 365 suite of business applications.
#4 The Rise of Microsoft Viva and Hybrid Work
Hybrid working has become the norm with the widespread adoption of telecommuting, and employees can work from home or come into the office as needed. This approach offers the best of both worlds, allowing employees to enjoy the benefits of teleworking while maintaining a sense of community and collaboration with their colleagues. In response, Microsoft has launched a new product called Viva to address these challenges.
Overview Microsoft Viva Video: Microsoft.com
Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform designed to provide employees with a seamless and holistic experience. It integrates with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and other Microsoft 365 services to provide access to critical information and resources in one central location.
One of Viva’s key features is Viva Connections, which allows employees to stay connected with their colleagues and access company news and resources directly from Microsoft Teams. This feature is handy for field workers who may feel isolated from their colleagues.
Another feature of Viva is Viva Insights, which provides insights and recommendations for employees to improve their well-being and productivity. It offers features such as a virtual commute to help employees transition from work to home life, as well as recommended concentration times to avoid burnout.
Viva Learning is another feature of the platform that provides access to learning resources and training opportunities. This feature is designed to help employees develop new skills and keep up to date with the latest industry trends.
Finally, Viva Topics uses AI to help employees find relevant information and resources quickly and easily. It automatically displays information on a specific topic, such as a project or task, and summarises that information.
#5 Increased focus on sustainability
Sustainability is an important issue for businesses today, and we expect Microsoft 365 to play a more critical role in helping companies to reduce their carbon footprint. This could include new features to support sustainable practices, such as tools to measure and reduce energy consumption and more transparent reporting on Microsoft’s sustainability efforts.
The company has committed to becoming carbon-negative by 2030, removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. One of the ways Microsoft is working towards this goal is through the use of renewable energy sources. In 2020, the company achieved its goal of powering 100% of its data centres with renewable energy, and it plans to continue investing in renewable energy projects.
Another way Microsoft addresses sustainability is through its circular economy initiative, which focuses on extending the life of its products and reducing waste. The company is working to make its products more durable and easier to repair and to increase the number of recycled materials in its devices.
In addition to these efforts, Microsoft also uses technology to address sustainability challenges. The company’s AI for the Earth initiative uses artificial intelligence to address issues such as biodiversity, climate change and water scarcity. Microsoft is also working on a “Planetary Computer” project to create a global environmental data platform to help researchers and policymakers make informed decisions.
Microsoft is encouraging its customers and partners to participate in its sustainability efforts. The company has launched a sustainability calculator that helps customers measure their carbon footprint and make recommendations for reducing it. Microsoft also works with partners to develop sustainable solutions for various industries.
How can Vantage 365 help you?
Vantage 365 is a specialist consultancy that helps businesses of all sizes get the most from their investment in Microsoft 365’s powerful suite of business tools and productivity apps. Our team of expert consultants has years of experience creating customised solutions, applications and strategies to optimise our clients’ technology, capabilities, and performance.
Our mission is to help every client reach their true potential by future-proofing their business and enabling them to thrive in today’s digital landscape. From small businesses to large enterprises, we understand that each company has unique needs and goals, and we work closely with our clients to develop tailored solutions that address their specific challenges.
Whether streamlining workflows, improving collaboration, or enhancing security, we have the expertise to maximise the benefits businesses receive from their investment in Microsoft 365. Our commitment to ongoing support and service ensures that our clients continue to achieve success and stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.
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