Microsoft Previewing 'Copilot' AI Solutions in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Viva Sales
Microsoft on Monday introduced new Microsoft Dynamics 365 "Copilot" artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to help sales teams.
Copilot AI hooks into Microsoft 365 Graph data, as well as customer relationship management (CRM) information, to generate things like product descriptions that can be edited and uploaded to sales sites. It'll also suggest sales-message replies to customer e-mails. Dynamics 365 Copilot is "natively built-in to both CRM and ERP applications" and is currently at the preview stage, Microsoft explained, in this announcement.
Copilot is also part of the Microsoft Viva Sales product. Microsoft includes Viva Sales in its Dynamics 365 Enterprise and Dynamics 365 Premium licensing. Organizations using other CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com's product, can get access to Copilot AI capabilities by subscribing to Viva Sales.
Copilot generates its content using the "natural language capabilities powered by Azure OpenAI Service," Microsoft explained. Microsoft is a partner with, and a billion-dollar investor in, OpenAI, an open source generative AI company.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot has a bunch of capabilities that are mostly at the preview stage right now.
One Copilot capability that's approaching the "general availability" (GA) commercial-release stage is the ability to create sales replies to customer e-mails, which is expected to reach GA on "March 15." At GA, Microsoft plans to add the ability for Copilot to propose meeting dates and times within e-mail replies, based on "the seller's Outlook calendar." Sellers also will be getting the ability to rate the quality of AI-generated e-mail replies with this GA release.
At the "public preview" stage, Viva Sales can create recaps of sales calls, while also providing action items for sales team members, "based on CRM and meeting data."
Also at the public preview stage for Dynamics 365 Marketing is "Content Ideas," which generates marketing copy from topics, plus "Query Assist, " which lets marketing teams describe their target audiences using plain language descriptions rather than data tables.
Another Copilot capability described as being available at the "preview" stage is the ability to use it with Power Virtual Agents to point conversational bots to company data to better assist customers.
Microsoft described other Copilot capabilities as being at the "limited preview" stage, namely:
- Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service, which can be used to provide "24/7 AI-powered assistance" to help customers resolve issues.
- Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights for writing SQL queries in plain language, allowing sales team members to "explore, analyze and understand customer segment sizes and preferences."
- Copilot in Dynamics 365 Business Central for generating AI-written product descriptions that conform to a selected "tone and length," which can be subsequently edited and uploaded to online stores.
- Copilot for Microsoft Supply Chain Center, a capability in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, to "proactively flag external issues such as weather, financial, and geo-political news that may impact key supply chain processes."
'Copilot' Equals AI
Microsoft of late seems to be applying the "Copilot" label liberally to its various AI-based products.
The GitHub Copilot product, an open source code-pairing solution for developers, created by the Microsoft-owned GitHub code repository company, was maybe the first Microsoft AI product to get the Copilot name. Microsoft also has recently characterized its AI-powered Bing search, using OpenAI technology in Windows 11 and Microsoft Edge, as being a user's "copilot."
Now, Microsoft seems to be plastering "Copilot" across the Dynamics 365 product line. Office 365 apps likely are candidates as well for the same treatment, since they also are hooked to the Microsoft Graph cloud-stored data that's used by Microsoft's AI technologies.
Microsoft has described using other AI technologies besides Azure OpenAI-based ones. For instance, Microsoft's "Context IQ," which makes predictions based on Office 365 and Dynamics 365 data, is an AI technology introduced by Microsoft back in 2021.
Microsoft's Power Platform products, including AI Builder, apparently use some early Microsoft AI technology.
"We announced AI Builder four years ago as the first AI capability in Microsoft Power Platform, followed by Power Apps Ideas 18 months ago, which was the first infusion of generative AI in a commercially available product," Microsoft explained, in this announcement.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.