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Introducing Copilot Studio - Microsoft Ignite 2023 Highlights

November 16, 2023
6 min read
Introducing Copilot Studio - Microsoft Ignite 2023 Highlights
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  • Microsoft Copilot Studio extends the capabilities of Copilot by allowing the creation of plugins to connect to enterprise systems and data. This can streamline workflows and provide more informative responses.
  • Copilot pilots showed the importance of establishing communities and championing programs to support adoption. Insights and feedback help adjust the trajectory. Β 
  • Plugins are important from day one to connect Copilot to processes, legacy systems, and enterprise data beyond Office apps.
  • Copilot Studio allows quick creation of conversational plugins using 1100+ built-in connectors to popular systems. Plugins improve access to data for informed decisions.
  • Copilot Studio is included at no extra cost with Copilot licenses. Partners can help build and map plugins to accelerate the usage of AI like Copilot in organizations.

Read Transcript

I am so excited to talk about Microsoft Copilot Studio and how it can help you not just extend and enhance your Copilot experience, but also why it's such an important part of your strategy and your approach to using AI in your workplace and being successful with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

There are two big things we've learned from our preview work and our work with customers. In Pilots for Copilot, the first thing we've learned is it's really important to tackle this as a business transformation project, meaning that we need to involve communities, we need to involve champion programs, and establish those.

We need to support this over time with insights from the Copilot dashboard and feedback from the organization so we can adjust our trajectory the way we proactively support users during this transformation and more in this way.

That's the most important thing we've learned from the Copilots. But in our Copilot pilots, we've also learned the importance of plugins, of extending and enhancing the experience, which is actually something we highly encourage you to do from day one when you look at your Copilot distribution and your plan to roll it out in your organization.

The reason that's really important is that many patterns that add a lot of value in the organization aren't limited just to outlook and teams and the office applications themselves, but they're actually where the richness of the experience can connect to processes, legacy systems, and enterprise data in say, an ERP system or a customer system or some other system that you use in your industry.

In this way, what Copilot can do is not just transform how we work, but it can simplify and streamline a lot of the experiences working with these same systems, making it so that something that is not mobile-enabled or even AI enriched can now all of a sudden have both of those things at a really, really low level of effort by adding it as a plugin, extending it comfortably.

What's more, the connector frameworks that exist already already have pre-established many of the connections. In fact, in Copilot Studio, because you're using the capabilities of the power platform and more, you have 1100 connectors built in for you to connect to really popular third-party systems or enterprise systems themselves.

Let's talk about what this looks like and how it works within the Copilot Studio. The first thing to understand is there are scenarios within our business where someone will make a prompt or question, and they're not going to get a satisfactory answer. This is because the information they're looking for, in this case the travel numbers, as well as maybe some policy information, isn't available at a glance.

To Copilot, we can improve this experience by using plugins. In fact, Copilot will encourage the use of plugins, which, again, you can enable in your organization to popular third-party systems that you use within yours. But let's take the example of creating our own plugin, which is one of the biggest value propositions that Copilot Studio provides.

In Copilot Studio, we can essentially enable an experience that will answer this question. To do that, we would essentially navigate to Copilot Studio and we would create a new conversational plugin. This conversational plugin will be used in Microsoft Copilot and will help employees answer questions around expense, budget, and availability.

In this, we're going to create some actions pulling data from a specific system, in this case, SAP, grabbing data from a table based on the user that's accessing this conversation. The second thing we're going to do is generate answers from that that grab information from a SharePoint location, in this case, the policies around those exact financial policies around travel and more.

We're then going to put that into our plan and provide a response in the generative response that will actually summarize that information to the user and provide them the answer to that question. This can all be done really quickly and then published with multiple tests. Again, the many capabilities of lifecycle and more are provided on the back end to make this a governed and managed solution.

Once we've done this and established this plugin, we can then use it within the experience to improve how people work. In this example, because this plugin has been enabled, when someone asks about a budget, we get a specific answer. In fact, this data is coming from SAP, and of course the information around the policy is coming from SharePoint. In this way, we can close a lot of the gaps that might exist in your organization as you roll out things like Copilot.

The reality is this is not a new pattern in many organizations. When you use things like Microsoft Search, it's really important to optimize and handle things like best bets or provide a suggestive answer.

Think of this in a similar way. Copilot is going to provide a lot of value out of the box, but its real power is in how it can transform how people work, making things that would have taken many steps and a lot of effort before fast and easy to do in an aggregated way. In this way, it simplifies, streamlines, and improves access to those legacy systems.

Those same systems that weren't mobile-enabled were not responsive, were not ready and accessible in AI engines, let alone natural queries, are now made possible where we can open them up and we can do it in a responsible and secure way to give people access to the right data to make informed decisions and to improve how they work.

I hope this has been inspiring for you and helped you understand a little bit more about not just why it's exciting that Microsoft Copilot Studio is available but why it's so important in your early planning to think about how are we going to do plugins and what plugins are the right ones to start with to improve how our organization is going to adopt and accelerate our usage of AI and Copilot.

Especially because the entire experience of Copilot Studio is included at no cost in the core experience of Copilot for Microsoft 365. If you buy the license, you get it anyway so, it makes absolute sense from day one to begin using this incredible capability.

If you need help, look it to your partners and friends like 2toLead, where we're all happy to help you establish, build and map these things. I really hope this has been helpful.

Until next time, thank you for your time.

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