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How AI and Machine Learning Are Transforming Office Productivity Tools
Artificial intelligence is defined as the ability of a machine to perform tasks normally the preserve of intelligent beings. The name refers to a number of learned skills that can be carried out by a computer which mimics human actions.

Machine Learning is the process of achieving AI through systems that learn from experience and repeated patterns. A number of everyday office productivity tools bear the hallmarks of an increasing range of AI capabilities.

office group 

Artificial Intelligence in the office

AI is increasingly evident in many tools and applications intended for personal, business, and enterprise use. Industry giants like Google and Microsoft are trying to create tools which are intuitively easy to work with. The AI does the mundane, repeatable work so that humans can concentrate on the more complex tasks.

AI projects are not done in giant leaps but happen more often by incrementally improving existing processes. AI-powered features are refined over time. Many iterations are developed and polished as developers try to understand what works and what does not.

A lot of product development gets to the next level when there is a feedback loop and users show adoption and usage of certain features, which are then rolled out to a larger scale.

The Cloud is helping IT consulting

To support the changing world of work in the office and the home, Microsoft's Office 365 and Google's office tools are transforming into collaborative, cloud-based suites. Cloud computing is key to the office of the future, with many businesses migrating to the cloud. The security and productivity upshots of the cloud are easy to achieve with good IT consulting services. Here are some examples of AI in office tools:

Machine Learning and Email

  • Gmail uses powerful AI to scan attachments for malware. Gmail scans an incredible 300 billion attachments every week. Previously the security domain of IT consulting services, this smart AI eradicates 99.9% of malware threats, according to Google.
  • Gmail also uses AI for its smart reply and smart compose functions. These tools make suggestions on the next word a user might need to type next. Through machine learning, the context of the message and the typing habits of the user are taken into account.
  • Microsoft's Outlook assistant Cortana can read out emails with almost human intelligence. This is most useful for people on the go. Cortana summarizes important details like sender, time sent, and subject.
  • Cortana can also perform a range of scheduling tasks such as suggesting meeting times, finding time slots in a user diary, and booking a room. All this can be prompted in natural or spoken language and is driven by AI.
  • Cortana can also offer translating services for emails, which is a useful tool for today's globalized world. The translation is at a high level of intuition and user-friendliness.

AI The New Office Assistant with Spreadsheets

  • Microsoft Excel can insert data from pictures. Users can take a snap of data in table form on a piece of paper. A lot of time can be saved when compared to importing more detailed information like analog spreadsheets. The AI knows it is reading a table and easily replicates it into excel cells.
  • Excel can also use visual summaries to pick up possible correlations between data points that users haven't seen or noticed. This is like having a very smart assistant nearby.
  • Google Sheets uses powerful data analysis to find insights from large data sets. Users can ask Sheets a question in words, and it can suggest a formula to provide the insight. AI is the backbone of this time-saving innovation.

AI-Powered Suggestions in Presentations

  • In Microsoft Powerpoint you can access live captions and subtitles. If you are hearing-impaired or non-native speaking, Powerpoint can now provide captions and subtitles in real time during presentations. It supports 12 spoken languages and displays on-screen captions in over 60 languages.
  • Presenter coach: Designed to help users improve their presentation skills, this feature can give instant feedback on common traps like bad pacing and the use of filler words. It can even detect and warn you if you are reading from slides word for word.
  • Powered by Microsoft's search engine Bing, the Quickstarter feature provides well-curated outlines on any topic. This makes it easier to get going with presentations when users might not have ready ideas.
  • Not to be outdone, Google Slides offers a similar tool called Explore which dynamically generates design suggestions as users work. Users can select a recommendation with one click. Google estimates that this saves 30% of the time they would have spent on formatting. As office tools can be found in any type of business, the wins for IT support for manufacturers and consulting firms, or any other type of business, are too many to tally.

Intuitive Writing Tools

  • Using Microsoft Word, users can translate sections of text or whole documents into more than 60 different languages. Using machine learning, the tool translates complex or unclear language as a human would, so the translation retains its intended meaning.
  • Also in Word, acronym definitions is a feature which makes suggestions for acronym definitions specific to a user's company or field. It makes the reading less repetitive.
  • The Explore function in Google Docs makes researching and writing reports much simpler. Using powerful AI, it makes instant suggestions based on the content in the document. It recommends helpful supporting material when it detects a user is writing an analysis, summary or proposal.

Conclusion

The aim of AI is for the technology to adapt to the user, and to assist them in magnifying their skills and productivity. With AI underpinning more and more everyday office tools, the user experience is no longer like being funnelled into the strict design of an application.

AI modifies the emphasis and need for enterprise IT consulting due to its inherent usability. Working locations that have embraced the rise of AI are ahead of the curve in terms of adoption, such as IT support Houston. AI is now becoming a personal assistant in every way by limiting distractions, and allowing users to home in on the most important and complex parts of task completion.

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About the Author

Scott Young 

Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Services Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott's expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.
Published Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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