Generative AI is often hyped for how it can potentially help desk workers, software developers, copy writers, and customer service workers. But the effects of automation will be felt more widely, says Microsoft, which is bringing its Copilot AI assistant to applications used by those in frontline roles, whether that’s retail workers or technicians out in the field.
Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it plans to integrate Copilot — the generative AI tool built on OpenAI’s ChatGPT language model — into its Dynamics 365 Field Service application. The goal is to reduce some of the administrative burden involved in coordinating frontline work.
During the past few months, Microsoft has been integrating Copilot widely across its various products, with versions of the AI assistant tailored to Dynamics, Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Security products, and others currently under development.
Currently in preview, the Copilot for Dynamics 365 Field Service should save frontline managers time when creating work orders, Microsoft’s Lili Cheng, corporate vice president for business applications and platform, said in a blog post. This means automating aspects of work order creation from within Outlook.
“Copilot pre-populates relevant data, including summaries of customer escalations, into draft work orders for managers to review in their flow of work. Once saved, these work orders automatically sync to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service,” said Cheng.
Other upcoming features — available later this year, Microsoft said — include the ability for Copilot to provide scheduling recommendations based on “travel time, availability, skillset,” and more, Cheng said. Users will also be able to interact with the Field Service Copilot in Microsoft’s Teams collaboration application.
“Integrating more frontline workers with the rest of the organisation can only be beneficial to the workers, the customers and, ultimately, the business,” said Carolina Milanesi, president and principal analyst at Creative Strategies.
The Copilot AI features should benefit productivity by “cutting down response time,” and boost engagement by “eliminating friction” while also making employees feel that their work is valued, said Milanesi.
Microsoft also announced that its Shifts schedule management app will be integrated with the Microsoft 365 Copilot as a plugin.
It’s designed to enable frontline managers to interact with the Copilot chatbot in natural language. With access to data from the Shifts app, as well as Teams chat history, SharePoint, emails and other user and company data, the Copilot can provide insights on employee shift availability, for instance, or draft an email to request a staff member cover a shift.
Specifics on pricing and availability were not immediately available.