Microsoft GenAI Tools

Who remembers Clippy (1996-2007)? You know, the paperclip-with-eyes that would pop up within Microsoft Word, eager to help you complete whatever you were trying to accomplish? While Clippy’s scope was limited, it possessed an unabashed willingness to help, prompting users with messages like:

“It looks like you’re writing an article about GenAI. Would you like some help?”

Even with its limited functionality, it will always have its place in history as an early iteration of generative AI (GenAI) and a precursor for Microsoft’s modern business offerings. Today, GenAI has advanced by leaps and bounds, with the overall GenAI market size eclipsing $45 billion by the end of 2023.

As the use cases and potential impact of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) on business operations continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to choose the right GenAI tools for the job. In this article, we’re going to explore GenAI’s use cases and discuss one of the most versatile GenAI tools on the market, Microsoft Copilot. (alternatively known as Microsoft 365 Copilot).

What Is GenAI, and What Are GenAI Tools Used For?

Generative AI (GenAI) is a specific type of artificial intelligence designed to create novel new content (like text, images, and audio) that can mimic the style and tone of human-generated content. From the surface, it might seem like magic—but behind the scenes there is a considerable amount of processing going on.

Through their use of sophisticated machine learning models like deep learning and neural networks, GenAI tools can provide value to organizations in ways that may be limited more by their imagination than any other factor.

The category of GenAI tools generally includes applications capable of taking specific text prompts or inputs and creating new content, which is commonly either text- or image-based. These tools have come a long way in a relatively short time, with the best generative AI tools today being capable of producing credible, logical content that truly blurs the proverbial line between human and machine.

While ChatGPT was one of the first widely-available GenAI tools—and still remains one of the most well-known, with over 100,000,000 users—GenAI is capable of much more than what you commonly see with ChatGPT.

Today, businesses are finding new ways to derive value from GenAI tools, which they can leverage to…

  • Generate code more efficiently
  • Improve the customer experience
  • Create personalized sales and marketing campaigns
  • Enhance productivity and project management capabilities
  • Produce website content, as well as sales/marketing collateral
  • Deliver more efficient customer service and support
  • Strengthen their fraud detection and risk management capabilities

In the sections that follow, we’ll get more detailed in our exploration of how GenAI tools can benefit businesses across a wide range of industries—focusing especially on Microsoft’s GenAI tool set (Copilot).

What Are Examples of Generative AI Tools for Business?

Whether you’re reading this as a business leader or just someone who’s interested in GenAI innovations, you probably have some experience with one of the most commonly-used GenAI tools for business: chatbots. But they’re just the tip of the GenAI iceberg—in reality, new tools are constantly emerging and evolving. For the sake of discussion, we’ll sort them into three key categories: customer service, sales and marketing, and IT/development.

1. GenAI Tools for Enhanced Customer Service

Customers increasingly expect efficient, personalized customer service, and GenAI is like a godsend for organizations looking to improve their customer service at a reasonable cost. As noted above, customer service chatbots provide an efficient and cost-effective way to elevate the customer experience. Not only can chatbots handle an increasingly-wide range of customer inquiries, they can also connect customers with the resources they need for self-service.

Within a larger enterprise, GenAI can also transform the contact center by creating intelligent and adaptable call routing protocols, combining live agents with AI chatbots and self-service, automating key tasks, and so on.

2. GenAI Tools for Sales and Marketing

You can use GenAI tools like Microsoft Copilot for a wide range of sales and marketing objectives. By using these tools, you can ensure that decisions are backed by up-to-date and accurate data, streamline data collection and synthesis tasks, and create compelling new content to engage, educate, and influence customers. Consider the following scenarios, which represent some of the most compelling use cases for Microsoft Copilot’s GenAI features in sales and marketing.

  • Sales: One of the biggest challenges facing sellers is time management. Simply put, there are too many tedious and repetitive tasks that consume as much as 70% of their time—time that could be better spent engaging with prospects. When implemented well, Microsoft Copilot can impact customer retention, revenue per sale, close rates, and other key metrics.

Common sales uses for Copilot include:

    • Creating proposals and making pitches
    • Improving customer meetings and responding to RFPs
    • Responding to customer questions and/or complaints
  • Marketing: No matter what your message is or who you’re trying to reach, it can be maddening trying to reach the right customers with content that’s going to resonate. From creating a cohesive strategy to defining specific customer personas and value propositions, there is a lot to consider. One of GenAI’s biggest advantages is its ability to understand and synthesize massive amounts of data, and to derive actionable insights from it. With Microsoft Copilot, you can fine-tune your brand and increase your number of leads while also reducing your cost-per-lead.

Common marketing uses for Copilot include:

    • Collecting and sharing product feedback
    • Conducting market research
    • Creating and launching new product/service offerings

3. GenAI Tools for IT and Development

For IT teams and developers, GenAI offerings like Microsoft Copilot can enhance several aspects of their day-to-day responsibilities. For example, McKinsey research found that using generative AI…

  • Sped up code documentation processes by 45-50%,
  • Sped up code generation processes by 35-45%, and
  • Sped up code refactoring processes by 20-30%.

With time, we can only expect the versatility and efficiency of GenAI will only continue to grow. “While a massive surge in productivity is possible,” McKinsey notes, “time savings can vary significantly based on task complexity and developer experience.”

Their research ultimately found that GenAI is weaker (compared to the figures cited above) when it comes to “high-complexity tasks,” which are only sped up by around 10% or less today. This isn’t a knock against GenAI; it simply underscores the importance of achieving the right balance between responsible GenAI usage and the unique advantages of human intelligence and problem solving.

Is Microsoft Copilot Generative AI?

Yes, Microsoft Copilot is a popular GenAI tool that enhances the functionality of Microsoft 365’s suite of productivity and collaboration apps (like Teams, Outlook, and Excel). Originally announced in 2023, Copilot was being touted as a way to “unleash creativity” and “unlock productivity,” along with other benefits.

What Does Microsoft Copilot Do?

Microsoft Copilot increases the efficiency and versatility of other products within the Microsoft 365 suite of products—with one of its most common use cases relating to workflow automation and content creation.

Workflow Automation

If you’re familiar with programs like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, you can probably imagine how automation could streamline operations. Copilot makes it easy to build custom, automated workflows without requiring extensive, in-depth knowledge. Instead, Copilot provides an intuitive interface that requires minimal code. It instead uses drag-and-drop tools and natural language inputs.

For example, let’s say you need to run the same spreadsheet every week. The process isn’t necessarily time-intensive or difficult, but the time and energy add up over time. With Microsoft Copilot, you could instead describe what you need and let Copilot do the heavy lifting. You can learn more about the basic flow creation and automation processes in this blog from Microsoft.

Content Creation

Compelling and informative content plays an important role in sales, marketing, and other business functions. It’s important for engaging and educating prospects, establishing a brand reputation and voice, and even documenting how to use your product or service offerings. With GenAI tools like Microsoft Copilot, all you really need to get started is an idea of what you want.

  • Does Microsoft Copilot use ChatGPT? Yes, and if you understand how ChatGPT works, you have a pretty good idea of how to use Microsoft Copilot to generate content. Like with ChatGPT, the more detailed your prompt, the closer the output will be to what you have in mind. As you use Copilot more—and in more ways—its basic knowledge base only becomes larger, enabling more contextuality and nuance.

How Does Microsoft Copilot Use Artificial Intelligence?

Microsoft Copilot uses artificial intelligence to process various data inputs from applications like PowerPoint and Excel in order to produce new insights, content, and strategies. Don’t underestimate its capabilities based on its user-friendliness, though. Behind the scenes, there is a lot going on—Copilot leverages machine learning concepts like recursive neural networks, large language models, and even image-based datasets.

Like any GenAI offering, Microsoft Copilot becomes more powerful the more you use it. As noted by PCMag, “the latest version of ChatGPT on which Copilot is based (GPT-4) uses a trillion parameters when formulating answers,” and “the AI models behind Copilot continue to improve how they understand and parse what you’re asking and sift through data to generate relevant results.”

Is Microsoft Copilot Available Yet?

Yes! The Microsoft Copilot release date for enterprise customers on November 1, 2023. Despite the fact that its release was relatively recent, Microsoft Copilot has continually added new features and enhancements, making it even more powerful. For example, April 2024 alone saw the release of several new features and expanded capabilities, which you can review here.

At InterVision, we’re passionate about helping to solve business challenges with the technology best-suited for the job. We understand that no two businesses are identical, and the best tool or tools for one may not properly suit the other.

We also know that effective GenAI implementation requires collaboration. While you may know your business inside and out, we bring cutting-edge expertise to help you find the right solutions and implement them effectively. As a managed services provider, your objectives become our objectives, and your challenges become our motivation.

As we’ve been monitoring the emergence and evolution of AI-powered tools like Microsoft Copilot, we’ve learned valuable lessons. Arguably the most important is that “GenAI engines should never operate in singularity, nor should leaders adopt such tools without appropriately strategizing and investing in platforms that support their organization’s risk and change management processes.”

In other words, you wouldn’t trust your business and its data to a total stranger, and you must be similarly vigilant when selecting and configuring AI tools into your organization. You need your AI to be reliable, ethical, and to solve problems—not create them.

AI is no longer the new kid on the block. Instead, its continuous evolution is consistently winning users over—even in 2022, it was found that “92.1% of businesses have seen measurable results from AI investments.” And it’s not just enterprise-level companies realizing the benefits. There’s been a substantial (415%) increase among small businesses.

Creating Value with GenAI

We’ve worked with companies across several different industries, helping them to not only find the best GenAI tools for their business but to maximize their value as well. While every customer’s scenario is unique, we’ve learned that there are at least 4 compelling ways GenAI can create value for businesses:

  1. Elevating both the customer and employee experience. When organizations leverage GenAI, they take an important step toward delivering more personalized and efficient customer experiences. From deploying targeted sales and marketing campaigns to creating engaging and informative content, the possibilities are virtually endless. Incorporating chatbots is a common entry point—and one that serves customers, employees, and the organization well.
  2. Increasing productivity.  Automating certain workflows and aspects of customer service benefits customers as well as agents. Customers can receive the speedy, personalized, and proactive service they expect—and employees aren’t burdened with time-consuming tasks that could be done just as well with GenAI and automation.
  3. Improving the decision-making process. One aspect of GenAI we haven’t discussed yet is its ability to process, summarize, and synthesize gigantic amounts of disparate data, making valuable insights closer than ever before. With GenAI, business leaders can discover new opportunities and prioritize data-driven decision making.
  4. Inspiring creativity. Not only can GenAI produce informative and engaging content for web pages and sales/marketing campaigns, it can also help you decide what kind of content to produce—as well as how to structure it. For businesses using the Microsoft 365 suite of products, Microsoft Copilot can address a wide range of prompts related to content ideation and creation.

Get the Most Out of Microsoft’s GenAI Tools with InterVision

We’re ready to help you assess your needs, consider your best options for solutions, and effectively implement the top generative AI tools—the ones that align best with your priorities. Reach out today to get expert advice for your business. We’ll help you cut through the noise to discover the best ways to maximize the value of Microsoft 365 and the full collection of Microsoft GenAI tools.

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