Blog October 17, 2023

People + AI: Learnings from Microsoft’s Community Summit

By Mathieu Galipeau
October 17 | 5 min read

Following Day 1 of discussions at the Microsoft Dynamics Community Summit, Mathieu Galipeau, sheds light on what of AI integration looks like for today’s modern business, and how to jumpstart your AI journey with Microsoft 365’s Copilot.

Community Summit: AI Integration in Business

The Community Summit tradeshow is in full swing, and as we gather amidst the buzz and excitement, I can’t help but be cautiously captivated by all AI chatter.

Industry experts from far and wide have gathered here, converging to discuss the latest advancements in Microsoft Dynamics Solutions, and its many applications in the ever-evolving business landscape. A hot topic so far has been AI. While the buzz around this topic is undeniable, a touch of caution is warranted. We must tread carefully as we navigate the intricate landscape of artificial intelligence, separating fact from fiction, and realizing it’s true potential.

With that said, I have distilled below a few valuable insights from the sessions held today. Here are a few key takeaways that caught my attention:

AI as an Assistant, not a Replacement:

During today’s sessions, it was emphasized that AI should be seen as an assistant rather than a replacement for human intelligence. The phrase “People + AI” encapsulates this notion perfectly. AI is a tool within your business, meant to augment and enhance human capabilities, not to replace them. It is not meant to replace critical thinking or human expertise, instead, businesses should focus on leveraging AI to enhance their capabilities and improve efficiency.

AI Integration in Specific Processes:

To successfully integrate AI into business operations, it is essential to start with a single process rather than trying to “boil the ocean.” By identifying a specific area where AI can bring value, businesses can more effectively implement and benefit from AI technology. This approach allows for a focused and targeted implementation, leading to tangible results.

Evaluating AI Opportunities: 

It is important to evaluate where opportunities lie and where AI can truly make a difference. Here are some examples where AI has proven beneficial:

  • General-Purpose Model: Businesses benefit from a general-purpose AI model capable of handling multiple tasks. This can include such as translation, entity recognition, and sentiment analysis. This versatility allows for a wide range of applications.
  • Human-Like Content Generation: AI models that support tasks like abstractive summarization, content writing, paraphrasing, and code generation can help businesses generate high-quality content while preserving data privacy and security.
  • Rapid Prototyping and Quick Time-to-Market: AI models enable rapid prototyping, reducing development time for various use cases. This agility allows businesses to experiment, iterate, and bring AI-powered solutions to market faster.
  • Little or No Training Required: The ability to utilize an AI model with little or no training can significantly streamline the implementation process. This means that businesses can leverage the power of AI without the need for extensive training efforts, enabling faster deployment and adoption.
  • Exploring Existing Solutions and Use Cases: Previous explorations and documented solutions provide a wealth of knowledge to draw upon. By leveraging these resources, businesses can learn from others’ experiences and benefit from the collective wisdom built around AI models.

Microsoft’s use of Open AI: 

One of the easiest ways to jumpstart your AI journey is by leveraging Microsoft 365’s Copilot. This is a powerful generative AI tool embedded within the Microsoft suite. With Copilot seamlessly integrated into Microsoft applications, businesses can unlock a range of capabilities to enhance productivity and streamline workflows.

One compelling application of Copilot is its integration with CRM systems, particularly within Outlook. For example, Copilot can automate the process of creating contracts by extracting relevant information from emails. This will help your organization save time and reduce manual effort. Here are some other examples of how Copilot is transforming the user experience:

  • Screen Scraping & Email Integration: Automating contact creation by extracting data from emails.
  • Customer insights: Providing valuable information on customers, tracking payments, orders, and relevant metrics.
  • Sales call evaluation: Analyzing recorded sales calls to improve effectiveness by evaluating key questions asked.

The advantage of using Copilot within Office 365 is that it adds context to the AI model. This results in more informed and accurate responses. Rather than accessing chatbots separately, Copilot can read through entire conversation threads, understanding user needs and providing relevant and contextualized answers.

It’s important to note that when utilizing AI tools, it is essential to consider the boundaries of your organizational data.

Using a free AI tool may unknowingly contribute data to a model that other companies can leverage. This can potentially compromise the security of your information. To prioritize the security of your infrastructure and application, it is crucial to utilize secure solutions.

Microsoft 365 Copilot ensures that the data sent to the model stays within your organizational boundaries. This means that the information you provide is not shared with other organizations or used to enhance models used by unrelated parties. (In addition to security concerns, using AI tools outside of your organization may also result in less specific and applicable data.)

By confining the data to your organization, Microsoft 365 Copilot tailors the insights and recommendations generated by the AI model to your specific needs, adhering to your security and privacy requirements.

Protecting your data should be a top priority, and utilizing Copilot within the confines of your organization’s data helps you achieve this goal effectively.

Stay tuned….

It’s been just over 24 hours since the start of the Microsoft Dynamics Summit tradeshow in Charlotte, and already we have gained valuable insights into the world of AI and its integration into software. As we delve further into this exciting topic (and many others), be sure to stay tuned for more updates and insights to come.

To learn more about Summit Community event, visit our event page here.

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