Published on November 16, 2023, 3:30 pm
Microsoft’s generative AI technology, Copilot, is expected to be a significant source of revenue for the company. Analysts predict that it could generate up to $10 billion in annual revenue by 2026. Despite a somewhat confusing rollout, 40% of Fortune 100 companies were testing Copilot by the fall of this year, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Additionally, Forrester predicts that by 2024, around 6.9 million knowledge workers in the US will be using some form of Copilot.
During Microsoft Ignite 2023, the company introduced three new offerings of Copilot across its software and services portfolio: Copilot for Azure, Copilot for Service, and Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides. Microsoft also launched Copilot Studio, a platform that provides tools for connecting Copilot for Microsoft 365 (which includes applications like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Edge browser, and Windows) to third-party data.
Copilot for Azure is integrated into the Azure platform and serves as a chat-driven assistant for cloud customers. It suggests configurations for apps and environments and helps with troubleshooting by identifying potential issues and solutions. Leveraging generative AI models called large language models (LLMs), Copilot for Azure draws knowledge from technical documentation and users’ setups and policies.
Users can ask questions such as “Copilot, how many cloud resources do I have?” or more complex queries like “Copilot, what data store should I use for my application?” and “Copilot, create the command-line interface to perform this action.” By reasoning over customer data in Azure—such as metrics and monitoring data—Copilot provides insights into their workloads and infrastructure.
While there may be concerns about trusting generative AI due to potential mistakes, users can always ask Copilot in Azure how it arrived at a recommendation or explain its reasoning.
Copilot for Service is designed specifically for customer service use cases and integrates with CRM software like Dynamics 365, Salesforce, SAP, Workday, and ServiceNow. It can answer sales-related questions and provide next-step suggestions. Copilot for Service can draw on a company’s websites, knowledge articles, databases, and more to answer commonly asked questions from customer service agents. Agents can also request account and case information from CRM systems when needed.
Microsoft is planning to enhance functionality in the future by enabling proactive recommendations for creating or updating knowledge assets based on email communications, customer service cases, Teams chats, and more. Copilot for Service will be available in public preview in December 2023 at a price of $50 per user per month.
Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides utilizes generative AI to provide information summaries that are useful to frontline workers. It works best with Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset but is set to support mobile devices as well. Workers can point to or view a component and ask questions such as torque limits or assembly instructions. Copilot recognizes the object being referred to and provides answers by displaying instructions on the HoloLens 2’s heads-up display.
The effectiveness of Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides remains to be seen due to challenges associated with understanding images and text. Microsoft has launched it in private preview with limited customers and capabilities to work out any kinks.
Copilot Studio is aimed at making Copilot products more extensible for business customers. With this web-based platform, enterprises using existing Copilots for Microsoft 365 subscriptions can give them access to data in CRMs, enterprise resource management systems, and other databases through prebuilt connectors or ones built by the enterprise itself.
Additionally, users with proper licensing can create custom copilots using natural language descriptions. Copilot Studio provides collaborative tools for refining copilots through side-by-side coding views and commenting systems. Once finalized in Copilot Studio, copilots can be deployed across various channels, and a dashboard allows users to monitor their status and manage deployment environments.
Microsoft’s Copilot strategy aims to offer more customization options for businesses and drive adoption of the Copilot ecosystem as well as Azure products.