August 23, 2023

What’s coming from Microsoft this year – our top three takeaways from Inspire.

In the latest in Microsoft news, the Inspire session for 2023 recently took place. As Microsoft’s largest partner in Australia, we’re always excited for Inspire. It’s an annual conference Microsoft holds as a chance to tell their partners about the latest updates, innovations, and strategies for the upcoming year. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the mutual successes of Microsoft and its partners and to reflect on the past year’s achievements. 

To perhaps no one’s surprise, there was an overarching theme throughout the Microsoft Inspire 2023 session – Generative AI. Microsoft has led the way throughout a number of exciting advancements in AI within the past year, with highlights such as the announcement of Microsoft 365 Copilot and the new Bing search functions. 

There was a big shift in tone at Inspire from previous Microsoft keynotes, which discussed the impeding approach of AI as if it were looming on the horizon. This time, they talked about it like it’s already arrived. The general message was that AI is here, it’s actively disrupting pretty much every single industry, and it’s time for all of us to get on board – or get left behind. 

This year’s event came with some exciting announcements, and a load of information on what Microsoft’s currently working on. We’ve put this blog together to discuss our top three takeaways from Inspire and talk about where we see the most value-generating opportunities for our customers in the new AI tools that will soon be available. 

Takeaway 1 : Microsoft 365 Copilot pricing

This was a significant announcement, and one a lot of us have been waiting for. Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available at a rate of $30 USD per month, per user, on top of existing Microsoft 365 subscriptions. This is available for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium customers upon general availability. 

Copilot is set to reshape the workday with its innovative integration into desktop applications. By placing AI directly into the interface of applications you and your team use every day, it’s a productivity industry leader. 

Its ability to harness business-critical data stored in Microsoft 365 such as emails, documents, calenders, and meetings means Copilot users will be able to save significant amounts of time on everyday tasks. Think having detailed notes at the end of a meeting without anyone having to manually take notes or converting a Word document into a summarised PowerPoint deck with images in seconds. 

There’s a lot to unpack here, especially around the cost per user versus potential productivity benefits. Weighing up the additional cost on top of your current Microsoft 365 licensing costs against the amount of time your employees will potentially save if they’re able to utilise Copilot will be a balancing act – not to mention other associated costs that come along with new software implementation, such as training.  

However, we’ve done the numbers and saving just one hour a month for each Copilot user provides a great return on investment. Based on what we’ve seen so far, Copilot should save information workers substantially more time than this. Data#3 is currently working on a service to help you tailor your adoption of Copilot to your organisation’s needs. Watch this space for more information. 

Takeaway 2 : The introduction of Bing Chat Enterprise

Earlier in the year, Microsoft announced the new AI-powered Bing, which overhauled the traditional search function with features such as more comprehensive answers, a chat function, and creativity aids. 

Since this development, Microsoft’s taken on board feedback from corporate customers who want to make the most of AI tools without risking the security of their data. Security is the biggest issue that the announcement of Bing Chat Enterprise addresses. It enables organisations to utilise AI-powered chat in their day-to-day operations for enhanced productivity and efficiency, while ensuring commercial data is protected. 

Another standout feature of Bing Chat Enterprise we’re excited about is the Visual Search capability, leveraging OpenAI’s GPT-4 model. It enables Bing to accept uploaded images and analyse them, providing comprehensive and insightful information about whatever the image is of. It’s one of the many ways in which Microsoft is making use of AI to make finding the information you need to get your job done more efficient than ever before. 

Bing Chat Enterprise will be available for organisations licensed for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium at no additional cost. It will also be available for purchase as a stand-alone subscription at $5 USD per month, per user. 

Takeaway 3 : AI-powered solutions for sales teams

One of the most valuable new Microsoft advancements we see our customers wanting to take advantage of is the added functionality that’s coming from Microsoft’s Sales Copilot. It builds upon the capabilities that came along with the launch of Dynamics 365 Copilot earlier in the year, the world’s first productivity tool that helped with customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). 

Sales Copilot has two main goals for your sales team – increasing their productivity and helping them personalise customer interactions, with the result of closing more deals.  

It offers solutions such as AI-driven opportunity summaries, customised email drafts, and AI-guided meeting preparations that helps your team save time and stay on track. It seamlessly automates CRM tasks through integration with popular platforms like Salesforce, and offers actionable, real-time insights. 

Sales Copilot will help you team feel fully prepared to put their best foot forward, even if they’re spending all day jumping between meetings and juggling multiple customers. They’ll benefit from AI-powered insights such as prioritised opportunities and customer opportunity summaries to make sure they’re across every detail. 

It’s available today inclusive with existing Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and Premium licenses, and available outside of these licenses as a standalone subscription. 

Wondering how you can get a head start on the vast productivity benefits coming from AI advancements? 

There’s a myriad of opportunities out there in the world of AI for organisations like yours – and they’re improving every day. Now’s the perfect time to start developing your AI strategy. 

At Data#3, we’re excited to continue working with our customers to stay ahead of the game and make the most of the latest industry developments. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you harness the power of AI for a more productive workforce. 

Scott Gosling, Data#3 National Practice Manager – Microsoft Services and Nicole Dezen, Chief Partner Officer and Corporate Vice President Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft