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Microsoft Copilot Studio and the role of conversational AI in your organization’s IT strategy

As organizations navigate the ever-evolving digital transformation landscape, conversational AI emerges as a powerful tool that can drive strategic outcomes, enhance customer engagement, and streamline operations.

Conversational AI refers to a computer’s ability to understand human communication. Conversational AI solutions are based on conversational interactions between human users and AI agents. Custom AI assistants or copilots made possible by conversational AI have become essential for automating routine processes, providing valuable insights, and elevating customer and employee experiences.

And because conversational AI can simplify the development of new, custom AI assistants, choosing the right platform can empower organizations to innovate and quickly transform employee and customer interactions. In this blog, we explore what conversational AI can deliver for modern businesses and address the key factors that chief information officers (CIOs) should consider when incorporating conversational AI solutions into their organizations.

Microsoft Copilot Studio

Begin your conversational AI journey today.

Driving digital transformation

Conversational AI lies at the forefront of digital transformation, and its ability to drive innovation and transform customer interactions makes it not just an asset but a necessity for maintaining competitive advantage. According to research cited from Forrester, 71% of business and technology professionals familiar with conversational AI have indicated their organizations were actively investing in it.1

AI-enabled assistants are invaluable for automating routine tasks, freeing humans to take on more complex challenges. By integrating these assistants into digital touchpoints, organizations can enhance their digital presence and stay competitive.

At Microsoft, we’ve seen the impact of copilots, which are Microsoft’s AI assistants, on productivity first-hand with our own employees and early customers. In a study of 1,300 Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 users across different functions and industries, we learned that the impact of copilots on productivity can be profound. After just 11 weeks of usage, the average person reports saving 14 minutes per day for a time savings of almost five hours per month, and the most efficient users are saving up to 30 minutes per day—the equivalent of 10 hours per month.2

For organizations that want to build their custom copilots, there’s Microsoft Copilot Studio, Microsoft’s next-generation conversational AI studio. Copilot Studio combines generative AI, large language models, and a rules-based engine to provide end-to-end low-code development and transform the way copilots are designed, enhanced, and managed. Users of all skill levels can easily create automated, connected copilots and publish them to any channel with a few clicks.

As a graphical low-code tool for creating and maintaining copilots, Copilot Studio makes it possible to design individual AI assistants that can serve employees, customers, and partners using an organization’s knowledge, connectors to line-of-business (LOB) applications, and its own custom topics.

Microsoft has been named as a “Leader” in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide General Purpose Conversational AI Software 2023 Vendor Assessment. The report states, “Good Conversational AI solutions can improve productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and provide 24 x 7 support at a fraction of the cost of human agents.” The report went on to say, “Microsoft’s customers praised its overall engineering expertise and its industry and use case expertise in conversational AI, particularly the accuracy of its speech-to-text offerings.”3

Learn more about Copilot Studio.

Centralizing cloud management

Using conversational AI to create low-code AI assistants is just the first step—to ensure operational objectives across departments, it will be critical to maintain vigilant oversight of their performance throughout your organization.

Copilot Studio’s unified cloud control provides IT with centralized management, integrated analytics, and enterprise-grade security. It simplifies the monitoring and analysis of key performance metrics and uses AI-enhanced insights to track topic trends and usage patterns across every platform—from web interfaces to mobile apps—which helps ensure a consistent end-user experience.

Copilot Studio also simplifies the update process with a few simple clicks. No longer bogged down by complex coding, your team can swiftly implement updates, ensuring your conversational AI maintains peak performance.

One early Copilot Studio customer that has seen the benefit of easy updates is PayPal, which credits Copilot Studio for increasing employee loyalty and engagement by helping reduce workloads and costs for its support team.

Copilot Studio enables us to build and make quick updates to an employee-facing copilot that can reason over multiple knowledge sources and provide consistent and relevant answers. 4

Ramesh Murugan, Director, Employee Technology & Experiences, PayPal

Ensuring customer satisfaction

With its ability to understand and respond to questions and provide personalized, multi-channel interactions, conversational AI truly shines in enhancing customer experiences. In today’s customer service domain, where swift and efficient resolution of inquiries can significantly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty, reliability is essential.  

According to a recent Forrester report on conversational AI for customer service, “Customers reach out to brands for support when they have a question or a problem that needs to be solved. It is very important to customers in a support interaction that they get what they need quickly and efficiently, particularly with mundane tasks such as checking order status or a company’s hours of operation. A good self-service application makes things easy for the customer, which is what they want.” 5

Learn how Copilot Studio can help transform your organization’s customer interactions.

Managing IT governance and risk

One conversational AI challenge that CIOs grapple with is IT governance and risk management. AI assistants can be powerful assistants capable of transforming work processes, but only when users consider them reliable and trustworthy.

According to Gartner®, “Customers expect effortless access to content, quick resolution of issues, and seamless product experiences. Churn rates can be high if the information provided by the company is inconsistent or even contradictory, resolving problems takes a lot of customer time, or the AI assistant experience is not intuitive or doesn’t meet expectations. Smoother encounters with your organization are the prize to pursue—not just cost cutting. Replacing service people with bots that annoy or frustrate those seeking help will not boost retention.” 6

Microsoft takes trust seriously, and we’re proud of our contributions as a leader in AI. Microsoft has been conducting critical research into generative AI (GAI), machine learning (ML), and related areas since 2014, and in 2019 we demonstrated our commitment to responsible AI by creating a dedicated Office of Responsible AI, which developed RAI Standard for translating principles into actionable guidance for our engineering teams. Furthermore, we require our teams to follow the Responsible AI Standard and complete a responsible AI impact assessment as part of our internal compliance review process before shipping any AI product.

Additionally, Copilot Studio’s compliance features ensure responsible AI practices and data security. Microsoft complies with data protection and privacy laws applicable to cloud services around the world. Our compliance with world-class industry standards is verified.

Self-service for employees

Of course, AI assistants can be used in nearly every dimension of a business, not just customer service. Internally, AI assistants offer self-service options for employees. From IT support to HR inquiries, conversational AI can help employees find answers instantly. CIOs should promote self-service adoption to empower employees and optimize resource allocation.

Organizations implementing Copilot Studio have created sophisticated copilots that alleviate the workload of helpdesk agents by automating mundane and repetitive tasks. This innovation has led to shorter wait times and enhanced productivity across the board.

These custom copilots are capable of addressing 25% to 40% of help desk inquiries, providing efficient self-service solutions that either resolve queries directly or navigate employees to specific resources. By automating functions such as system logins and account management, these organizations have realized substantial labor savings, amounting to an annual financial benefit of over $1 million.

To explore the transformative impact of Copilot Studio in streamlining operations and reallocating resources towards higher-value work, consider reading the customer story of Pacific Gas & Electric.

Start using Copilot Studio today

In conclusion, conversational AI is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s a strategic imperative. CIOs who embrace it as part of their technology roadmap will unlock value, enhance customer experiences, and position their organizations for success in the digital age.

Begin your conversational AI journey with a free trial of Copilot Studio today.


Sources:

1 Design Better Chatbots, Forrester

2 AI Data Drop: The 11 by 11 Tipping Point (microsoft.com)

3 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide General Purpose Conversational AI Software 2023 Vendor Assessment (doc #US49988023, November 2023) 

4 How early adopters are transforming their organizations with copilots | Microsoft Copilot Studio

5 The Conversational AI For Customer Service Landscape, Q4 2023

6 Gartner, How Generative AI Can Help Meet Customer Experience Expectations; By Gene Alvarez, Uma Challa, Leah Leachman, 3 August 2023


GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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