Microsoft Corp. expanded the power of artificial intelligence to business users today with the introduction of Dynamics 365 Copilot, which uses the company’s recent integration of OpenAI LLC’s ChatGPT chatbot for search and puts it to work for business users.
The new AI assistant will take advantage of ChatGPT’s “generative AI” capability, which can understand natural speech written by users and generate replies or new content on the fly. Microsoft is adding the technology to applicationsl where it can be used quickly to summarize meeting notes, generate email content for customers, automate data entry and assist with other tasks.
Microsoft began using ChatGPT’s chatbot in its Bing search engine in early February to boost its search and answer capabilities. The technology uses generative AI, which allows users to ask questions and receive conversational answers based on information gathered from web searches.
The company is adding the assistant to tools such as Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales to create meeting summaries, product and pricing information, as well as insights from recorded Teams calls. Adding it to customer service tools will allow users to rapidly draft AI-powered emails and chat that can be run entirely by a virtual agent, that can pass over to a human when the AI can’t manage the chat anymore.
Marketers will be able to simplify their workflow greatly using the AI assistant by asking it to look through their data by asking it questions and it can reply by giving them summarized reports. Previously they would have to design complex queries by hand and segment their own customer reports and read through them by hand in order to come up with their own insights. With Copilot, the AI assistant would do much of the heavy lifting for them and be able to understand their needs and even make suggestions based on key topics, existing emails, relevant subjects and more.
Dynamics 365 Business Central, a Microsoft business management solution will have Copilot quickly generate vivid product descriptions for storefronts using attributes in metadata such as color, material and size. The AI can also be tuned to adjust its tone of voice, format and length to fit the mood that the customer wants. That way they won’t need to personalize the copy too much before it goes live.
“The next era of business applications is being transformed by generative AI,” said Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president of business applications and platform at Microsoft. “Users will increasingly expect their customer relations management and enterprise resource planning applications to include AI-powered expertise.”
The supply chain is also getting help from artificial intelligence with copilot capabilities, which can use the assistant to better predict disruptions using access to news, weather reports and supplier information to proactively flag potential issues. Using the service, agents will be able to use the assistant to write outreach emails, re-route orders, estimate new delivery dates and pick alternate distribution centers to fulfill customer demand.
Power Platform, Microsoft’s low-code app development platform for business users, also received two new AI-powered updates including the capability of boosting already existing bots with conversational capabilities and adding generative AI models to Power Apps and Power Automate.
Power Virtual Agents allows developers to build chatbots using a low-code, drag-and-drop visual interface that simplifies bot creation. For the most part, these bots allow for customer self-service of a multitude of tasks, but sometimes there are questions that they cannot answer and must pass over to a human. However, with the help of generative AI trained on a company website, a bot can easily answer customer questions without needing to write up every question and answer.
AI Builder was announced four years ago to give access to powerful tools in Power Platform, and today generative AI models are being previewed on the low-code interface through the Azure OpenAI Service. Using this new capability, developers can embed generative AI capabilities in their apps that could build in a number of different functions. That includes summarizing reports and emailing them with Power Automate, a marketing app that could automatically generate content based on keywords and generate text for social media. A chat app could automate summaries of collaborative threads after sessions were completed.
The conversation booster feature is currently experimental and not yet available for bots, but it’s available in preview. AI Builder’s templates with generative AI models are currently available in a limited preview.