The beginners guide to AI in the workplace with Office 365

One of the biggest struggles employees are facing in today’s world of a digital and modern workplace is – fear. Fear of changing the way we are accustomed to working, the way our brains think, the way we complete repetitive tasks, and the fear of allowing a machine, an intelligent machine, to take over jobs.

When most of us hear the word “AI”, the mental image is dark and unwelcoming.

I dedicated this post to all employees who are hesitating to change the way they conduct their day to day tasks, to leaders who are struggling to communicate Office 365, and to all those who just don’t want to change!

I would like to share my tips on how I shed light on machine intelligence, to cast away the darkness, and embrace the new age of a digital and modern workplace.

Before I start – did you know there is a crazy statistic flying around Google…

30 million PowerPoint presentations are made each day

3.8 million slides are designed in PowerPoint per day

Mind blown!

Makes you wonder, how many hours are spent in a day creating slides and presentations. There’s got to be a way to save man hours, and make time spent on presentations more efficient.

This is where we bring in Artificial Intelligence in a non-destructive way – when a machine “thinks” like a human. The buzz word of the decade, the most feared concept of the century.

Most people in my sessions enter the room with their hands crossed, head tilted to one side, and one eyebrow raised. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people tell me “just let me do my job I don’t need help from a machine!

The mission statement for Microsoft 365 is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Hence, I am going to focus on some commonly used, and less obvious ways AI is already helping you shine in your job – with Office 365.

You may be thinking, don’t we already achieve enough?

Welcome to, working on diverse teams, where languages can be a barrier, time zones are an issue, and cultures sometimes clash.

Here are some (not all) of my favorite tips in Office 365 where all this intelligence is helping me and my peers truly be more productive:

  1. When Outlook finds the best room and time for a meeting based on attendees availability – this has now been upgraded and you can send people your availability!
  2. When Excel suggests charts based on my data – that’s intelligence I don’t have!
  3. Document and chat language translations – not everyone speaks English you know.
  4. Fixing my typos and awkward grammatical errors – when my fingers move faster than my brain.
  5. Using design ideas in PowerPoint – so I can look like a designer!
  6. Displaying PowerPoint presentations with on-screen subtitles in 60+ languages – so I can reach my global audience!
  7. Present and record the meeting in MS Teams – for those days I have multiple meetings in the same time slot.
  8. Automatic transcripts of the recorded meeting – so I can refer to discussions, meeting notes or action items I missed.

Is AI really all that bad? I haven’t even scratched the surface. It’s not perfect – because it needs to learn from us and our habits and desires. It’s always improving – as should we! When employees have more time in their own hands, they can begin to innovate and start to understand customers and markets more than they could ever imagine having the time to do.

AI isn’t trying to replace your job – it’s trying to recover time from mundane tasks, so you have more time to drive value to your business.

Don’t misunderstand me…life isn’t ALL ABOUT AI. This is my perspective on how intelligent technologies can help perceive, learn, reason and assist workers from all walks of life. AI is always learning, capturing your trends, and providing you with insights.

The irony is – technology is learning from us and we are learning from the benefits of technology.

Successful change does not happen overnight. One person at a time, one day at a time.

Join me and Microsoft MVP Joanne Klein at SharePoint Saturday in Montreal at Collège Maisonneuve on May 11th, 2019 – as we take a deeper dive into our favorite Productivity Hacks for the Microsoft Office 365 stack!

Send me a note if you want to share a favorite productivity hack – you may get featured 😉

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

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