Microsoft Offers Businesses an AI-Powered Assistant

Microsoft is venturing further into artificial intelligence (AI) with a series of new business tools.

The software giant debuted Monday (March 6) its Dynamics 365 Copilot tool, the latest example of Big Tech putting its AI efforts center stage.

In this case, that means the rollout of an AI assistant for customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tasks for sales, marketing and customer service operations, Microsoft said in a blog post.

“The next era of business applications is being transformed by generative AI,” according to the post. “Users will increasingly expect their CRM and ERP applications to include AI-powered expertise.”

Among the things Copilot can do is streamline the creation of product listings for online commerce in Business Central, letting companies create detailed product descriptions and publish them to their Shopify stores, per the release.

Marketers, meanwhile, can get inspiration for email campaigns and create “highly personalized and targeted customer segments by having a dialogue with their customer data platform using natural language.”

Companies like Microsoft — along with Google, Amazon and Meta — have begun bringing AI tools to the forefront of their businesses after years of using them for a variety of background functions.

“But the rise of ChatGPT was a shot sent across the bow of the tech industry in particular, and many of the sector’s biggest leaders are now rushing to bring their own tools to market in order to hold on to their aura of innovation and continue to attract top talent,” PYMNTS wrote.

Microsoft, however, is pulling back on its own generative AI-powered chatbot after the AI solution attracted some negative publicity and was described by a reporter for The New York Times as “a moody, manic-depressive teenager who has been trapped, against its will, inside a second-rate search engine.”

Meanwhile, AI continues to play important behind-the-scenes roles, such as helping businesses prevent fraud, as PYMNTS noted last week in a conversation with Manish Jaiswal, chief product and technology officer at Corcentric.

He argued that merchants and financial institutions can keep customers safe by embracing AI to streamline operations and beef up anti-fraud efforts. AI, when paired with machine learning, can analyze large data sets in real time, providing firms with the information they need to safely carry out or stop payments.

As Jaiswal told PYMNTS “there are several areas where AI can and will help make real-time processing a reality.”