How Microsoft Makes Employees’ Workday More Productive

by September 14, 2020 0 comments


Writing is a unique creation of humans. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can’t be creative as much as human beings are in writing. What AI can and already is aiding us to spell out words correctly and having zero grammatical errors through the myriad ways it is infused around the suite of Microsoft 365 products. These help the employees to craft stories.


In one of his Microsoft blogs, a science and technology journalist, John Roach, wrote, “Being more sophisticated in these products, AI is helping us more than spot a misspelled word. It includes new intelligent features in Microsoft Word that help us design our documents for maximum readability.”


Besides Microsoft Word, other features in Microsoft Search and Microsoft Edge are easing everybody to make their workday more productive. Microsoft introduced these intelligent features last year during the annual conference for developers at Microsoft Build in Seattle. 


Using AI, Microsoft 365 helps employees deal with some of the harsh realities of modern work. These include an increase in time demands, massive amounts of data, and growing security threats. A senior product marketing manager for Microsoft 365, Malavika Rewari, states, “Microsoft AI is all about amplifying human ingenuity with intelligent technologies.”



Source of Gathering Knowledge

One of the modern realities of work is that it requires knowledge. The most significant difference is that employees nowadays rely on the Internet to learn. Microsoft search brought access to the web and work into a single search experience last year, making general availability. It leverages Bing and Microsoft Graph‘s capabilities, one of the largest data collections about how people have ever created. Microsoft Graph also enables workers to find, command, navigate, and look for items available across their organization’s data network. It also includes data from the public domains and makes them available to employees within an organization like directories and policy manuals. Each employee’s graph is distinctive as it contains such data that is available only to their specific teams, such as data from their email, documents, and calendar.


Bill Baer, a senior product marketing manager of the Microsoft search team, says, “We can deliver cohesive search experience that works across any endpoint in Microsoft 365. Whether you are searching on Bing or the Windows 10 search bar, you’ll get a set of contextually relevant results.”


The new intelligence of Microsoft Search includes a machine reading comprehension feature, capable of extracting a paragraph from documents explicitly related to one’s question. For instance, if an employee asks, “Can I bring my pet to work?” Microsoft Search will extract the relevant paragraph from the human resources (HR) manual and serve it as a search result.


Elaborating the features of Microsoft Search, Baer adds, “It understands the question you are asking, and then it can find the answer within millions of words of texts and give it to you in context.” 


Another intelligent feature allows employees within a company to conduct searches for people with incomplete information. For instance, consider being told, “Speak with Rick on the third floor, not knowing who Rick is.” A search on Rick on “Rick, floor 3” applies intelligence from Microsoft Graph such as your immediate team and location to get back most likely Rick, including his office number and picture. 



New Features of Microsoft Edge

Microsoft that announced plans in adopting the Chromium open source project to develop the Microsoft Edge on the desktop, is working to make the Microsoft Edge browser a natural extension of the Microsoft Search experience. That means users logged in to a Microsoft 365 account will see similar results within the Edge browser.


A team of Microsoft Edge is simultaneously experimenting with a feature called Collections that permits users to compile and organize content as and when they browse the Internet in their open browser window. They can intelligently share the complied content via email or after exporting it to Word or Excel.


For example, an individual who is likely to purchase a new mobile phone could visit several similar product websites and bookmark/save each page in the Collections pane on the browser side. The underlying machine learning of Collections would sharply depict each model’s image and relevant metadata like price, user rating, and the origin of the website.


Group product marketing manager for Microsoft Edge, Divya Kumar, says, “You can easily, at a glance, get the value and make your decision more quickly.” She adds, “The team is experimenting with similar functions for exporting to the Word. It includes the ability to compile a document with information like images and text collected from multiple websites.”



Enhancing Word Documents

A feature that is already easing people and making them more productive in PowerPoint and Excel will also enhance its users’ Word Online experience. The ideas for Microsoft Word use the intelligence of Microsoft Graph and machine learning to improve users’ write-ups, create professional documents, and efficiently navigate other creators’ documents as well. For instance, feedback and signals from Microsoft Graph indicate employees usually ignore using tools, including section heads available on Word, in terms of structuring a document.



Improving Neural Sentence Rewriting

Another intelligent feature in Word is rewrite suggestions, which brings the power of in-depth learning to offer recommendations on different ways to rewrite a phrase. The technology brings an improvement to the popular synonyms feature in Microsoft Word that uses machine learning to figure out the context of a sentence and offer alternative relevant word choices.


Zhang Li, a Senior Programme Manager of the Microsoft office team explains the intelligence service of Word and recommends, “You don’t need to search online to find an alternative way to express a phrase.”


Though Microsoft Word Online has already improved its synonym ranking, they are trying to lead the synonym suggestion rate to double. This feature will augment employees’ skills more effective, efficient, and inclusive.



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