Microsoft Inspire, Microsoft’s annual flagship partner event, took place last week, sharing the latest innovations and solutions to watch out for. Here’s a round-up of all the key announcements… 

The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Microsoft chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella, who was joined by Judson Althoff, Nicole Dezen, and others. The presenters discussed the new opportunities available across Microsoft’s partner ecosystem in this new era of AI. 

Nadella shared that Inspire 2023 would unbox 40-plus new innovations for the year ahead. He took the opportunity to showcase five of them: 

1. Bing Chat Enterprise

First, Nadella discussed the launch of Bing Chat Enterprise, a free, AI powered copilot for the web designed for businesses to enhance communication and collaboration. Following this he then introduced the Multimodal Visual Search, a revolutionary feature that allows users to perform searches using a combination of text and images, yes you read that right, images!  

Bing chat Enterprise, now in preview, combines the power of GPT-4 with Bing search data. It can also provide you with: 

  • The links to dig deeper
  • Book recommendations for further reading
  • When logged in from your work profile, you can use the capabilities to take your productivity and efficiency to the next level.  

But is it secure? Yes, it was announced that Bing Chat Enterprise now delivers commercial data protection for your AI-powered chat. This means:  

  • Confidential business data won’t leak outside your organisation  
  • Employees’ data are not commingled with web data as the data is neither saved nor the chat conversations in Bing Chat are used to train the underlying AI model.  

First of its kind – Bing Chat Enterprise is available from the 18th of July 2023, at no additional cost for the 160 million people who use Microsoft 365 business offerings and will soon be a standalone offering. Read more here. 

2. Microsoft 365 Copilot

Next to be unveiled was Microsoft 365 Copilot which is powered by large language models (LLMs) in line with data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps to turn our texts to actions and insights. Microsoft 365 Copilot is integrated into the world’s most popular productivity tools such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and Teams. With Microsoft 365 Copilot at your fingertips, a whole new way of working emerges. It introduces exciting capabilities like automated Teams summaries, providing real-time insights on who said what, identifying areas of alignment and disagreement, and offering related suggestions during meetings. This promises to revolutionise collaboration and productivity, empowering users with valuable actions and suggestions while they’re actively engaged in meetings. Truly, exciting times lie ahead! Find out more here.

Today marks the next major step in the evolution of how we interact with computing, which will fundamentally change the way we work and unlock a new wave of productivity growth.” –  Satya Nadella.

3. Sales Copilot  

Nadella next delved into how Microsoft Sales Copilot is a role-based copilot, also known as a seller’s companion, empowering sellers to optimise their time with CRM task automation, auto-generated email or meeting summaries and more. Sales Copilot also helps sellers organise customer follow-ups by generating AI-assisted content and recommendations, such as contextual emails based on Outlook and CRM data. 

Sales Copilot can be accessed across Outlook, Microsoft Teams, or Dynamics 365 Sales, and connects 3rd party CRM systems like Salesforce. 

Nadella wrapped up by voicing, “That’s the dream that we’ve been waiting for, for a long, long time. I think every SaaS application category is going to be fundamentally rewired because of this capability. We are very, very excited to both announce and launch the Microsoft Sales Copilot.”
For me, this sounds like our technology is GenX- ready! Read more here. 

4.Process Mining in Power Automate

The general availability of process mining tools in Power Automate was announced during Nadella’s keynote, how exciting! According to Nadella, it’s the tip of the spear to be able to then drive additional value to every customer interaction, every customer deployment and every customer project that you are engaged in. 

As a supply chain enthusiast, what caught my attention was the process mining analysis demo shown using an out-of-box order to cash template where inefficiencies were discovered in the O2C process with AI. Who doesn’t love an intuitive ERP, huh?  

The aim is to get insights for process improvement by capturing rich visual process maps, analysing end-to-end processes with AI-powered root cause analysis, and unlocking hierarchical views with interactive drilldowns. You can now use KPIs that are recommended and filter options to uncover inefficiencies and opportunities for automation. With the out-of-box templates for finance including order-to-cash and peer-to-peer pay, supply chain etc you can draw value and powerful insights efficiently. Also, watch out for Process Mining desktop app with advanced analytics and Power BI customisation!

I am really looking forward to the upcoming announcements about changes in Power Automate and Apps SKU lineups. There will be a focus on new offerings called Power Automate Premium per user and Power Apps Premium per user plus an add-on for additional capacity. These offerings will take effect on August 1st, 2023.

Dive deeper into Process Mining in Power Platform here: Microsoft launches Power Automate Process Mining and next-generation AI – Microsoft Power Platform Blog 

5. Microsoft’s partnership with Open AI and Azure AI studio 

Nadella’s final highlight focused on Microsoft’s significant advancements with Open AI and Azure AI Studio. One of the things that Nadella was visibly excited about was the optimisation of Llama 2 models to run on Windows and Azure.  

On 18th July 2023, Meta and Microsoft announced support for the Llama 2 family of large language models on Azure. Llama 2 is a LLM designed to enable developers and organizations to build generative AI-powered experiences. With the addition of Llama 2 to Azure AI model catalogue, customers can choose the types of models they build. Now customers can fine-tune and securely deploy Llama 2 models easily on Azure. Read more about Microsoft and AI here.  

How can I close this blog without quoting Satya? Here goes: 

I want to close where I started. We don’t build technology for technology’s sake. We build technology so that we can empower every person and every organization in every community, in every country, across every segment, across every industry sector in the world. That’s what really brings us together. That’s what makes us unique. That’s what gives us and our people a real meaning in the work we do.