The Horizon: May 2024

Earlier this month, developers, software engineers, IT professionals, and businesses gathered together, face-to-face and online, to learn all about Microsoft’s latest additions to its services and platforms.

Of course, Microsoft Build is one of the highlights of the calendar for anyone involved in the Microsoft technosphere and this year’s event included lots of big hitters to blow our minds.

So, in this edition of The Horizon, we’ll be looking at some of the key announcements that will be transforming your work life in the near future.

As you’d imagine, the word copilot featured heavily. In fact, if we had a dollar for every time the word copilot (with a lower case or capital C) was mentioned at this year’s annual Build conference, we’d be rich right now.

So, let’s take look at one of the big Copilot announcements…

Copilot for SharePoint

Microsoft made some exciting announcements about Copilot for SharePoint with big implications for productivity and content management.

Admins or business users can now create custom copilots from SharePoint content in a matter of clicks, drawing from curated content chosen by the user.

But that’s not all. Every SharePoint site can have a built-in copilot scoped to the content of that site. The feature can be enabled by site owners, allowing users to interact with the content through the copilot, safe in the knowledge that the content is accurate and up to date.

Built-in copilots can be customized and shared to other Microsoft 365 apps.

New Copilot Studio capabilities

This is where AI assistants progress from working with you, to working for you.

At Build, Microsoft announced new Copilot Studio capabilities around copilots that act as independent agents, triggered by events, not just conversations.

These copilots can perform specific roles or functions, in areas such as IT, marketing, sales and finance. Here’s some examples of the kinds of roles copilots can perform:

IT support copilot

Your IT support copilot will manage the complex process of handling tickets, approvals, and stock levels, interacting with IT service management apps, resolving tickets, creating purchase orders for device updates, and obtaining manager approvals autonomously.

Employee onboarding copilot

Your employee onboarding copilot can streamline the process for onboarding new hires by welcoming them, answering questions using HR data, guiding them through training, helping with forms and organizing meetings.

Personal concierge for sales and service

Your personal concierge copilot can remember guest preferences from past conversations, make reservations, handle complaints, and answer product and service questions. It learns from interactions and suggests new customer handling methods, which has the potential to boost upsell rates and revenue, while improving guest experience, satisfaction, and repeat business.

Microsoft Fabric Real-Time Intelligence

If you’re a Microsoft Fabric user, you’ll love this new Microsoft Fabric Real-Time Intelligence feature.

It’s a complete software as a service (SaaS) solution allowing users to act on large amounts of time-sensitive and detailed data, helping them to make fast and informed business decisions.

Currently in preview, Real-Time Intelligence provides both simple, low-code/no-code and rich coding interfaces.

Azure Open AI with GPT-4o

We’ve all seen the impressive demos of GPT-4o’s multimodal capabilities over the past few weeks and now GPT-4o is available in Azure OpenAI Service API and Azure AI Studio with support for text and images.

Microsoft also announced the public preview of GPT-4 fine tuning, allowing users to customize the tool with their own training data.

You can find out more Azure Open AI-related updates announced at Microsoft Build 2024 here…


And if you want to know more about Microsoft Build’s big announcements, including GitHub Copilot extensibility and the evolution of Copilot, look no further…

For more Microsoft-related news and updates, follow our CEO Pat McGown’s M365 Horizons blog.

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