Microsoft: How will AI change the way we work in Asia Pacific?

Microsoft: How will AI change the way of work in Asia Pacific?

  • The pace of work is surpassing individuals’ capacity to stay abreast. AI is anticipated to establish an entirely new mode of operation.
  • Microsoft is launching the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program to equip businesses for the AI era.

The debate about AI taking over human tasks in daily work and the associated apprehension of job loss is prevalent. But is this concern justified?

The transition to AI is happening and is set to radically transform work, helping manage the increasing pace and data overload in the modern workplace. AI copilots, an emerging concept, promise to unburden people from overwhelming digital tasks and foster innovation.

Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 Copilot, bringing advanced AI features to commonly used applications. They recently expanded access to the Copilot preview and shared insights from their 2023 Work Trend Index report, “Will AI Fix Work?”.

The report, based on a survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries and an analysis of trillions of digital signals, shows that work pace outpaces human capacity, affecting innovation. It suggests that early AI adopters in organizations can break this trend, boosting creativity and productivity.

Vinod Muralidharan, General Manager Modern Work at Microsoft Asia, asserts that AI embodies a significant transformation in the approach to work. Transitioning from a passive autopilot function, AI now takes an active copilot role, liberating individuals from the overwhelming constraints of digital debt and fostering innovation.

“As AI redefines work, we too must adapt. Our Work Trend Index research suggests that employees across Asia Pacific view AI with optimism, with 78% willing to assign as much work as possible to AI to reduce their workloads. The most urgent opportunity and obligation for every leader is to comprehend how to utilize AI to eliminate work monotony, stimulate creativity, and cultivate AI proficiency,” Muralidharan elaborated.

Understanding on how AI will work in organizations

The report pinpoints three vital insights for business leaders striving to understand and responsibly implement AI within their organizations:

Digital debt is stifling innovation

Everyone is burdened with digital debt. The sheer volume of data, emails, and chats has surpassed our capacity to handle them. There lies an opportunity to make our existing communications more productive. Each minute devoted to managing digital debt is a minute lost to creative work.

In the Asia Pacific, 72% of people express that they lack sufficient time and energy to complete their work, and these individuals are three times more likely to struggle with innovation. On average, individuals spend 57% of their time in Microsoft 365 on communication and only 43% on creation. The primary disruption to productivity is unproductive meetings.

A new AI-employee alliance is forming

The allure of relief from work for employees surpasses fears of job loss due to AI. Managers aim to equip employees with AI tools rather than replace them. While 58% of respondents in the Asia Pacific fear AI will take over their jobs, an even higher proportion – 78% – would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lighten their workloads.

In the Asia Pacific, three out of four people would be comfortable using AI for administrative tasks and analytical and creative aspects of their work. Leaders are nearly twice as likely to say that AI would be most valuable in their workplace by enhancing productivity rather than reducing the workforce.

Every employee requires AI proficiency

Not just AI specialists, but every employee will need new core skills such as prompt engineering in their daily routines. In the Asia Pacific, 85% of leaders anticipate that employees will need to acquire new skills in the AI era. Also, 71% of people in the region feel they lack the skills to complete their work.

This emerging, AI-driven skillset will have far-reaching implications on everything from resumes to job postings.

Microsoft is launching the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program to equip businesses for the AI era. Initially, this invitation-only, paid preview program will be accessible to 600 global enterprise customers. Microsoft 365 Copilot and Microsoft Viva will also be enhanced with the following new features:

  • Whiteboard’s Copilot will enhance Microsoft Teams meetings and brainstorming sessions. Copilot, using natural language, can generate and organize ideas, create designs to visualize these ideas, and summarize Whiteboard content.
  • By integrating OpenAI’s image generator, DALL-E, into PowerPoint’s Copilot, users can command Copilot to produce custom images that complement their content.
  • Outlook’s Copilot will guide clarity, sentiment, and tone, helping users compose more impactful emails and communicate more confidently.
  • OneNote’s Copilot will assist in drafting plans, generating ideas, creating lists, and organizing information, aiding customers in finding what they need efficiently.
  • Viva Learning’s Copilot will employ a natural language chat interface to facilitate users in designing a personalized learning journey, which includes creating upskilling paths, finding relevant learning resources, and scheduling training sessions.

AI, poised to ease work burdens and inspire innovation, is eagerly awaited by strained employees and productivity-focused leaders. Rather than merely “fixing” work, AI promises to create a new work dynamic. Leaders must guide employees to partner with AI responsibly, enhancing business value and paving the way for a more fulfilling future of work.