Copilot for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations: Bringing AI Tools to Your ERP

OpenAI made waves across all levels of society in November 2022 with the release of ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of writing code, answering questions, or generating text based on natural language prompts. ChatGPT’s release has fueled nonstop discussions about AI – including its ethical implications and business applications.

Given Microsoft’s heavy investment in OpenAI and the fact that ChatGPT was trained on an Azure AI supercomputing infrastructure, it’s not surprising that Microsoft is actively incorporating OpenAI technology into its business services and software, including:

  • Azure OpenAI, which allows Azure customers to use large-scale generative AI models with their own data.
  • Dynamics 365 Copilot, which introduces AI tools to streamline Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tasks.
  • Microsoft 365 Copilot, which incorporates AI tools in familiar productivity applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot

No matter how skilled the position is, many jobs require boring, repetitive work. The systems that keep all your teams in sync demand consistent data collection, which means someone (or everyone) is responsible for data entry. You don’t hire salespeople for their typing skills – you want them freed up to engage with as many potential customers as possible. The new Dynamics 365 AI does just that.

Dynamics 365 Copilot provides AI assistance to boost the productivity and efficiency of sales, support, supply chain management, finance, marketing, and other teams involved with your business operations. It provides a chat interface for quick summaries of sales opportunities and leads, updates, meeting preparations, account-related news, and more. Users can seamlessly integrate Copilot with Outlook and Teams for better data management and utilize its generative AI capabilities for record summarization and email content generation.

Suppose one of your salespeople spends half an hour in a Microsoft Teams meeting with a potential client. Afterward, they must follow up with an email that includes information discussed in the meeting.

Using a few natural language prompts, the salesperson uses Copilot to draft the email in seconds. Copilot automatically extracts highlights from the Teams meeting and customer information from the CRM system. After reading through the email and tweaking a few things, the salesperson sends it off and is ready to connect with another potential client.

It’s important to mention that no matter the system, Copilot only uses the data the end-user has access to. User roles must be configured only to see the data relevant to their role and within the governance framework of organizational operations.

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance enhances productivity for collections managers and improves collaboration with their customers.

The AI-generated summary of the customers’ account, overdue invoices and payment history helps prioritize which customers need attention. Personalized customer communication using AI-generated email saves time and increases overall efficiency by not having to navigate to multiple screens. This helps increase successful collection rates and proactively keeps customers in good standing.

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance displays this AI-generated summary on the new Collections coordinator workspace. Powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI’s large language model, this will reduce the time reviewing collection details for customers. Collections coordinators can help their organizations to better cash flows by increasing more timely payments.

Copilot gives users access to AI capabilities that augment Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations apps’ application experiences and functionality. It can appear in many different user experiences. Here are some examples:

  • Sidecar – Copilot sits alongside the application as a sidecar and provides conversational support to the user. The sidecar is the primary Copilot interface in Dynamics 365 Finance apps. It provides a natural language chat experience that helps users work with application functionality and data. For example, the generative help and guidance with Copilot (preview) feature is provided as a sidecar.
  • Embedded – These Copilot features add intelligent capabilities to the application itself. In this way, they bring AI to the center of the application experience. For example, in the Confirmed purchase orders with changes workspace, AI capabilities built into the page help users understand and react to changes in confirmed purchase orders.
  • Outside – External agents help orchestrate across different apps and tasks. For example, users can use Copilot to ask questions about Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations data. For more information, see FAQ for finance and operations data on Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management will proactively flag external issues such as weather, financials, and geography that may impact key supply chain processes. Predictive insights then surface impacted orders across materials, inventory, carriers, distribution networks, etc. Supply chain planners can then automatically draft an email generated by Dynamics 365 Copilot to alert impacted partners and mitigate potential disruptions before they happen.

On-hand inventory insights to help user make informed inventory decision, such as for order promising:

  • Query on-hand inventory: Users can use natural language to ask about inventory stock levels and availability just as easily as when chatting with a colleague. For example, you can simply type “Find all the 18-inch tires in my store” without remembering any exact specifications, IDs, or navigation paths.
  • Inquire Inventory: Use guided conversational experience to quickly identify the best available products for order inquiries without leaving the Microsoft 365 work context. Sales managers focus on communicating with customers and increasing sales. Having product inventory levels handy from Microsoft 365 helps sales managers please customers and close deals faster.

Copilot helps procurement specialists to make better purchasing decisions in procure-to-pay processes:

  • Manage purchasing decisions with Copilot: The Copilot support for procurement is an advanced tool that empowers users to efficiently manage and assess changes to purchase orders on a large scale. Classifying changes by impact and risk associated with these changes greatly enhances procurement decision-making. With Copilot, users can swiftly identify high-impact or low-impact alterations and analyze downstream impact, enabling prompt actions to mitigate potential risks.

What’s next?

The possibilities of AI in ERP systems are endless, and Dynamics 365 Copilot is just the start of an exciting journey.

Copilot isn’t here to replace the expertise of service agents or app developers but to augment it. By caring for mundane activities, Copilot allows everyone to be more productive by focusing on critical tasks.