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Just a week after announcing it would “extend” its OpenAI partnership, Microsoft is already giving business productivity a big GPT-powered boost in both Teams and the business app Viva Sales — and, presumably, showing how its estimated $10 billion investment in OpenAI can start adding value, pronto.
More intelligent and personalized meetings
Yesterday afternoon Pacific Time, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted an announcement about the general availability of Microsoft Teams Premium.
According to a blog post, Teams Premium “brings the latest technologies, including Large Language Models powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5, to make meetings more intelligent, personalized, and protected — whether it’s one-on-one, large meetings, virtual appointments, or webinars.”
The offering includes automatically-generated meeting notes, recommended tasks and personalized highlights, as well as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered real-time translations from 40 spoken languages.
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Eric Horvitz, Microsoft’s chief science officer, tweeted that the Teams move to harness GPT was an “exciting direction,” and added, “We’ve dreamed about these capabilities for years.”
Microsoft looks to make sellers more productive
Today, Microsoft also offered a preview of a new generative AI experience in Viva Sales, the seller experience application introduced last summer (and made generally available in October) that blends productivity tools and business processes.
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The company says Viva Sales (which is an extension of Microsoft’s Viva employee experience platform) “brings together any customer relationship management technology (CRM), Microsoft 365 and Teams to provide a more streamlined and AI-powered selling experience.” The Viva Sales app’s conversational intelligence capabilities include automatically generating a call summary, detecting questions, calculating conversational KPIs and extracting action items.
The new Viva Sales capabilities, powered by Azure OpenAI Service and GPT-3.5, add auto-suggested email content to the mix. For example, Viva Sales can remind sellers when it’s time to follow up with a prospect or customer, based on insights in the seller’s CRM and Microsoft 365 graph. Now, Viva Sales can also autogenerate a preformatted email response with personalized text and next best actions, as well as with details about pricing, promotions or deadlines.
The responses are generated based on CRM data, the intent of the communication, and Microsoft Graph — which “provides access to rich, people-centric data and insights in the Microsoft cloud, including Microsoft 365, Windows, and Enterprise Mobility and Security.”
Sellers can choose from a set of predefined response categories or enter a custom text prompt to generate the email content.
Writing context-specific emails efficiently in Microsoft Outlook
“Viva Sales is focused on how do you make sellers more productive using the tools they already know and love,” Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president of business applications and platform at Microsoft, told VentureBeat.
Now, he explained, “we help sellers write emails more efficiently and more quickly, right inside of Outlook,” adding that the app injects context-specific elements that are key to seller success.
“It pulls from your CRM, whether it’s Salesforce or Dynamics, it pulls from past meeting notes and information, it pulls from the email itself, to build an incredibly amazing email for you — which you can approve and inject and edit and tweak to make you super-productive,” he explained.
The app uses the OpenAI API inside of Azure Cognitive Services, which Lamanna pointed out has “very strong privacy guarantees — your data is your data. We don’t train or retrain or tune models based on your data, which is essential for these enterprise customers.”
New features coming later this year
Lamanna said the Viva Sales app is continually adding generative AI to various scenarios that help sellers “get out of the drudgery” and do less data entry and repetitive tasks.
“There will be many, many, many more features in this vein over the course of 2023 with that focus on what’s the best way to get people back in conversations with customers,” he said.
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