How Microsoft Partners Can Harness the Future of Dynamics 365 with Generative AI and Copilot

Stratos can help Partners leverage Copilot and the latest generative AI capabilities for Dynamics 365.

Table of Content

    Generative AI & Copilot are game changers when it comes to Dynamics 365.

    Generative AI (GAI) has sparked worldwide interest, from the general public to policymakers and business leaders. There is a lot to learn about how it will change the world and how it will impact how we do business. Microsoft partners, of course, have sat up and taken notice too.

    GAI has almost endless potential, but few details about what the business landscape might look like post-GAI are known. That is, until now.

    Microsoft’s iteration of GAI is Copilot, now available in various business and consumer services. We are still in the early days of Copilot’s rollout, but its potential is becoming clearer. Some features are already released. Others are still in private and public preview.

    This article explores what we know about Copilot, what it can do in the wider Microsoft ecosystem for partners and their customers, and what it will bring to Dynamics 365.

    Why Choose Microsoft as a Cloud Provider if You Want to Leverage AI?

    Microsoft as a Cloud Provider to Leverage AI

    Microsoft has a huge advantage over its competitors regarding AI—generative AI specifically. Not only does Microsoft have a particularly good relationship with OpenAI—the developers of the Large Language Model (LLM) behind ChatGPT—they also invested billions of dollars into it. They also have sizable direct research and development operations into AI technologies in Azure.

    AI Across the Microsoft Portfolio

    When you think of who you want to partner with in business, who better than the organization that handles your document creation, your spreadsheets, analysis, CRM, ERP backend, and SharePoint? Copilot will span all those services your customers are using already. Microsoft’s competitors must find a way to integrate with those services. Meanwhile, Copilot provides AI services natively.

    Compliance and Data Boundaries

    Everything discussed here, Microsoft Copilot and Azure OpenAI—which you can think of as an add-on to Copilot—run on an LLM that lives within your tenant. All your AI data and analyses stay within your Microsoft subscription. Your data is not used to train any other LLMs. That data integrity and responsible AI usage are important to Microsoft.

    Azure as the Backbone for LLMs

    Microsoft has decided to leverage Azure as the backbone for its AI and LLM frameworks to ensure those boundaries stay intact and create new capabilities. There will be tight integration with everything to do with Microsoft Graph and Fabric. They are looking to enable rapid development that will scale to support flagship applications.

    What will Copilot Bring to Microsoft Applications?

    Microsoft is looking to weave Copilot throughout its business and productivity applications ecosystem. Partners will be well-served to understand what it can do now and what is on the roadmap for Copilot soon.

    Copilot on Microsoft 365

    Within the Microsoft 365 productivity suite, Copilot is integrated into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, and the newly announced Business Chat. Business Chat is essentially Teams chat that will work across different applications whose data is stored in your tenant and accessible to Microsoft Graph.

    So, for example, Copilot in Word can interact with other applications and data fields. You can use content from OneNote to quickly create a template document that is already completed for you. You can then go back and edit, personalize it, and change content around before sending it off.

    Copilot on Power Platform

    Copilot will also be available in Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and PowerBI. For example, in Power Apps, you could use Copilot to create an app to track PTO requests.

    Copilot can create a basic table schema for you with some default fields it thinks you will want to use, like employee name, start date, and end date. And again, everything is fully customizable, so instead of one employee name field, you can easily split that into first and last name fields.

    You can also use Copilot to run natural language queries on data collected in these apps. So, once you have built a PTO request form for your customer, they can go in independently and ask questions like, “What is the average number of days requested off in the last calendar year?” And Copilot can quickly pull an answer for them.

    Copilot in Dynamics 365

    And then, of course, there is Dynamics 365, which might be the greatest beneficiary of Copilot’s unique capabilities of all the Microsoft applications out there. It will be available in a range of different Dynamics modules, including:

    • Sales
    • Customer Insights
    • Marketing
    • Customer Service
    • Supply Chain
    • Operations
    • Finance
    • Project Operations

    In Dynamics, GAI’s greatest capability is how it works with unstructured data.

    How Can AI help Manage Unstructured Data?

    Copilot is built from Azure OpenAI, which builds a language model from data in your or your customers’ tenants. You can run:

    • Text to speech
    • Speech to text
    • Facial recognition based on stored user profile pictures
    • Image recognition
    • Document recognition
    • Document translation

    Copilot for dataThat sounds impressive, but what makes it most impressive is that you do not need highly structured data to get those results. The latest estimates from Microsoft are that 80 percent of the average Azure tenant’s data is unstructured. Generative AI is especially well-suited to mining that data for value.

    Structured data is data from your CRM, sales, Excel sheets in your customer’s cloud, and financials. Outside of that, you have chat, email, customer surveys, all these different pieces of information stored but not easily findable by existing, well-structured services. That is where Copilot and generative AI comes into play.

    Intelligent Searches

    In traditional search, the engine ingests files, and you can search for everything indexed. Traditional search does an excellent job if what you want is in the filename or the metadata, but that is about it. With GAI, when that data is ingested into the AI engine, the model goes through the data, parses through the document, looks for images, who authored it, and the usual metadata. Then it makes all that content semantically searchable.

    Knowledge Mining

    This is an area where traditional search really needs to catch up. Copilot and Azure OpenAI can parse documents for language usage, facial detection in images, originating organizations, location created, chat threads linked in, and other information unavailable to traditional search. You can search by those criteria, even if they are not traditionally recognized metadata types.

    Document Intelligence

    Generative AI uses vision, language, speech, and all these other data types when searching through every document or file to help you find your data efficiently. You could have hundreds or thousands of flat files with useful information. But because they are not structured according to any metadata profile that search engines know how to work with, the information is not findable.

    GAI can recognize unstructured data as useful information and make it more findable. This is called document intelligence. It takes all the scraps of information floating in your documents, notes, images, search histories, chats, meetings, recordings, and other information and makes it accessible through natural language search.

    Stratos Cloud Alliance Can Help You Harness the Power of Microsoft Copilot

    Stratos Cloud Alliance can guide partners on selling, implementing, and supporting all Microsoft offerings that integrate with Copilot. We provide partners with all the sales support, enablement, and services you need to build a profitable cloud solutions business.​ So whether you are a new partner just starting or a seasoned managed service provider with a big lift and shift Azure project to tackle with comprehensive AI integration, Stratos Cloud Alliance provides all the resources you need.

    Join us today to help your customers leverage Copilot and the latest generative AI capabilities in the Microsoft ecosystem.