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Since last month’s announcement of Microsoft’s generative AI-powered 365 Copilot — which was described as changing “work as we know it,” the company has been busy integrating the technology into its other applications.
Today, Microsoft announced it has added Copilot to Viva, its employee engagement and experience platform that launched in February 2021 and was part of a bet on the future of remote work. Now the company is betting on the power of generative AI in Viva: According to a blog post, Copilot in Viva “is built on the Microsoft 365 Copilot System, to give leaders an entirely new way to understand and engage their workforce.”
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Microsoft 365 Copilot combines OpenAI’s GPT-4 with Microsoft Graph data (from your calendar, emails, chats, documents, meetings) and Microsoft 365 apps including Teams, Word, Outlook and Excel. The company said Copilot in Microsoft Viva will begin rolling out to customers later this year.
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Microsoft Copilot in Viva streamlines workforce communications
New Microsoft research released today, the Work Trend Index Special Report, found that high employee engagement correlates with stronger financial performance, and that employee engagement is a key part of overall performance. According to the study, companies with highly-engaged employees focus on clarity via intentional employee communications and goal setting, and they use data to build a powerful “feedback flywheel” to continuously improve over time.
That’s where AI comes in: According to a company blog post, the new Copilot features for Viva focus on streamlining workforce communications and creating better organizational alignment.
For example, Copilot in Viva Goals can draft OKR recommendations based on existing Word documents, summarize the status of OKRs, identify blockers and suggest next steps. Viva Engage with Copilot can spur post ideas for company intranet pages, and Copilot in Viva Glint, which analyzes employee feedback and will be added to the platform in July, can help summarize thousands of employee survey comments.
About 20 million people actively use Viva on a monthly basis — the platforms’s suite of tools are used inside of Microsoft Teams and other web-based and mobile experiences.
“We think building Copilot into the flow of work is important,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, CVP and COO of the experiences and devices group at Microsoft. “You want the experience to be right there [in the application].”
Bringing the ‘commercial rigor’ organizations want
Microsoft 365 Copilot runs through the company’s OpenAI implementation that’s built on Azure, which Koenigsbauer said brings the “commercial rigor” that organizations want — the compliance, management and security capabilities.
“That’s a key thing for these organizations, because they’re not going to want their data out on the public internet,” he said. “We make promises that the data that people use as prompts in these Copilot experiences never gets into the large language model and is not used to train the large language model at all. It doesn’t stick around as the customer’s data and doesn’t leak outside of the organization. This is a really, really big deal.”
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