Microsoft Unveils Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service for Frontline Workers
Various frontline worker product improvements were described by Microsoft.
Microsoft on Wednesday introduced a preview of Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service, plus other "frontline worker"-type product positionings.
Organizations using Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 apps, Microsoft Viva Connections and Microsoft Teams can establish better communications with frontline workers or shift workers, Microsoft argued, in a series of Wednesday announcements. The announcement also touted Windows 365 Frontline, a desktop-as-as-service offering for frontline workers using shared devices that's been commercially available since July.
Manager communications with frontline workers will be facilitated by coming artificial intelligence Copilot capabilities, expected this year, plus various Microsoft 365 product integrations, the announcements indicated.
Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service Preview
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the preview of Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service, which may not be publicly available. Update 8/10: It's available in "public preview," according to a Microsoft spokesperson, via e-mail. Many of Microsoft's Copilot implementations have so far been at the private preview stage.
There's also a new Shifts plugin for Microsoft 365 Copilot that will help managers identify work shifts that need to be covered. Its release status wasn't described.
Currently available at the preview stage are Dynamics 365 Field Service for Outlook and for Teams, plus a mobile experience. A Dynamics 365 Field Service web experience is also available, but it's at the "early access" stage.
Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service works with Outlook e-mail and will pull together "relevant data including summaries of customer escalations into draft work orders for managers to review in their flow of work." Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service works in Microsoft Teams, too, but the details weren't described.
If managers approve the suggestions of Copilot, a work order gets created and is automatically synced to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. Microsoft is planning to add a Copilot enhancement later this fall that will schedule field technicians "based on travel time, availability, skill set, and other factors," along with providing a summarization of customer messages.
Mobile Apps and Other Integrations
Microsoft provided some details about the "mobile experience for frontline technicians" using the Dynamics 365 Field Service app.
The mobile experience is notable for embedding the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides solution, offering step-by-step guides with images and videos, which can be used by technicians in the field.
There's also a Teams mobile app implementation. Frontline workers can access the "Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app in one click via their home experience in Teams mobile," which gives them access to "remote experts in real time using 3D spatial annotations that lock to the physical world."
The Dynamics 365 Field Service also works with "asset performance solutions from ICONICS and Willow," which can help technicians resolve equipment issues.
Microsoft also mentioned that the Dynamics 365 Field Service app is now supplemented with Tasks in Microsoft Viva Connections. The separate Viva Connections product is used for company messaging. It has an "Announcements" capability to that end, which delivers push notifications to mobile devices, based on the "Teams home experience" of workers. The Announcements feature in Viva Connections will be available for mobile devices "in September."
Microsoft added a capability called "multiple Viva Connections experiences in Teams," which is now available. This capability is for organizations that have messaging tasks across multiple brands.
Viva Engage is getting a Targeted Campaigns feature "soon" for promoting company-wide initiatives. Microsoft added that Copilot in Viva will be "coming later this year." Copilot will offer message personalization suggestions for Viva Engage users.
In September, Microsoft is planning to preview a "shared mobile device mode using Intune" capability. It will enable frontline workers to have "a single sign-in and out experience for Teams, Microsoft Edge, Outlook, Power Apps, Viva Engage, and now Power BI." It'll also let them "compliantly wipe their device for the next shift."
Here are the other announcements highlighting existing or coming frontline worker support in various Microsoft products:
- Fortune 500 use: stating that more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft 365 to oversee frontline workers.
- Microsoft Teams support: indicating that more than 800 organizations support "more than 10,000 frontline workers each with Microsoft 365."
- AI support: outlining coming Copilot and mobile device support for managing frontline workers, the ability to pin up to five channels using the Walkie Talkie app, plus organizations can create their own Azure OpenAI chatbots via Power Virtual Agents (at preview).
- Retail support: Retail operations benefit from Store Operations Assist embedded in Microsoft Teams, a Shifts plug-in for Microsoft 365 Copilot, plus Viva Connections targeted communications.
- Healthcare support: Healthcare organizations get worker management perks from using Microsoft 365 Copilot and its Shifts plugin, plus a Hotline feature on Teams certified devices for preprogrammed dialing, along with the ability to set multiple home experiences in the Viva Connections app in Teams.
These announcements tended to be somewhat repetitive, highlighting Microsoft's frontline worker theme.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.