How to add AI power into your Microsoft 365 tech stack 

Last week's Microsoft Ignite was filled with AI news. Eagerly anticipated, Copilot was the hottest topic in town. Finally generally available on November 1, 2023, the AI functionality is set to transform the productivity levels in every workplace. So, let's take a look at how it can help you in your role and your wider organization, starting with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 has landed in your tenant so let’s take a look at what it is and what you can do with it.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is a sophisticated processing and orchestration engine that injects AI-powered productivity capabilities into your Microsoft 365 tenant by coordinating the following components:

  • Large language models (LLMs)

  • Content in Microsoft Graph, such as emails, chats, and documents.

  • The Microsoft 365 apps such as Word and PowerPoint.

Your Microsoft 365 apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, Loop, etc.) operate with Copilot to support your end users in the context of their work. For example, Copilot in Word is designed to assist end users with creating, understanding, and editing documents.

How Microsoft 365 Copilot works

  • Copilot receives an prompt/question from an end user in an app, such as Word or PowerPoint.

  • Copilot then pre-processes the prompt through an approach called ‘grounding’, which improves the specificity of the prompt, which helps to get contextual answers that are based on your organizational data. The prompt can include text from input files or other content discovered by Copilot, and Copilot sends this prompt to the LLM for processing. Copilot only accesses data that an individual user has existing access to, based on, for example, their existing Microsoft 365 role-based access controls.

  • Copilot takes the response from the LLM and post-processes it. This post-processing includes other grounding calls to Microsoft Graph, responsible AI checks, security, compliance and privacy reviews, and command generation.

  • Copilot returns the response to the app, where the end user can review and assess the response.

Copilot AI functionality for developers

Copilot for Power Apps

AI companion that guides you through the app creation process, from creating and importing data tables, to designing your app screens, to publishing and sharing your app.  

Copilot uses generative AI and best practices to create suggestions based on your data and preferences. Copilot will also provide tips and feedback along the way, so you can learn how to build better apps, faster. 

And as of this month, using Power Virtual agents, you’ll be able to chat with your data – asking it pertinent questions related to your business. For example, haulage companies can use the tool to ask how many vehicles are on the road this month. And the clever thing is, if the question you ask it isn’t solved with your internal data, you can add your website’s URL, and the answer will be returned from that source, with a footnote reference. 

Copilot for Power Pages 

The AI tool that you can ‘describe to design’ helping you to rapidly build and launch data-driven business apps.  

Copilot for Power Pages simplifies creating forms, incorporating text, embedding chat bots, and other tasks with a user-friendly, conversational interface that doesn’t require years of coding experience.  

It also offers site users and visitors an enhanced experience, shifting away from traditional click-based navigation and allowing them to uncover information and insights through engaging conversational interactions with your site. 

Copilot for Power Automate 

Again a ‘describe it to build’ AI tool – all you need to do is describe the cloud flow that you want to build in natural language and it will build it out for you.  Describing what you need through multiple steps of conversation, the cloud flows Copilot can perform the following actions: 

  • Understand your intent, and create a flow based on the scenario prompt you provide 
  • Auto-set up connections on your behalf to get you to a working automation as soon as possible 
  • Apply the necessary parameters in the flow based on your prompt 
  • Respond to your requests to make changes to your flow, such as update actions and replace actions 
  • Answer questions about your flow and product 

This is particularly helpful for improving productivity – especially around notifications and automation in your day-to-day work.  

Find out more about how your end users can realize the benefits of Copilot in Word, Excel, Loop, and OneNote.

Copilot Studio

Deserving a section in its own right, is the soon to be released Copilot Studio in Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. Its functionality will blow your mind. But first, let’s give it some context.

You’ll be familiar with ChatGPT, the generative AI tool that took the world by storm earlier this year, clocking up one million users in its first week of launch. Available on any browser, it’s now being used by billions each month.  While GPT-3.5, and the paid version GPT-4, are amazing tools to use – both systems have their downsides, especially when used in business scenarios. 

Take the recent Samsung data breach as an example. Despite ChatGPT warning users not to share sensitive information as it uses inputted data to train its models, the Economist Korea reported three separate instances of Samsung employees unintentionally leaking sensitive information to the tool, which is now “out in the wild” for ChatGPT to feed on.  

Yet announced at Ignite last week, there’s now a new way to take advantage of this technology with Copilot Studio. The low-code tool allows you to create plug-ins and customized GPTs as well as to build standalone copilots using connectors in Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. 

What does this mean for you?

Bringing together a set of powerful conversational capabilities—from custom GPTs, to generative AI plugins, to manual topics Copilot Studio will allow you to:

  • Create your own customized enterprise Copilot scenarios.
  • Quickly build, test, and publish standalone copilots and custom GPTs.
  • Manage and secure your customizations and standalone copilots with the right access, data, user controls, and analytics.

How Cloudwell can help

Working with our specialist team here at Cloudwell and using Microsoft’s Azure Open AI with integrations into your line of business data, we can help you builds customized Copilots.  

For example, we can create a conversational AI assistant that would enable your employees to use natural language queries to ‘converse’ with content such as documents, news, people, policies, and sites. All they’d need to do is ask or ‘prompt’ the GPT with a question and it will return a response based on your CRM/ERP/HR data (see explanation in the above video).

Get in touch to find out what else we can do with this clever technology. 

Bing Chat & Bing Chat Enterprise become Copilot

If you’re not quite ready to dip your toe into the more advanced capabilities of Copilot, there are other tools available to you. Take for example, the two largely free generative AI tools Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise, both of which are now to be known as Copilot.

Bing Chat now Copilot, is Microsoft’s equivalent of ChatGPT. Free but only available to Microsoft Edge browsers, it uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like responses to search requests, providing contextual suggestions, further reading and sources, making it easy to navigate. Most importantly, your personal and company data are protected in this chat.

Bing Chat Enterprise, which now comes as standard with many Microsoft licenses, has also been rebranded as ‘Copilot’. The difference between this offering and the one above is this comes with commercial data protection. Once you’ve signed into Copilot with your Entra ID, you get commercial data protection for free—i.e. your chat data isn’t saved, and Microsoft has no eyes-on access, nor is your data used to train the underlying LLM models. 


Want to know more about how to incorporate AI into your tech stack in Microsoft 365? 

Get in touch with our experienced team and we’ll be happy to show you how.