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Not even Dynamics 365 ERP is safe from Microsoft's Copilot splurge

The AI tentacles grab supply chain management, projects, and finance

Microsoft plans to spread AI through more of its 365 ERP portfolio, including supply chain management, project operations, and finance.

The introduction of Copilot features comes three months after Microsoft, which is rapidly populating most of its products and services with generative AI from OpenAI, rolled out Dynamics 365 Copilot in areas such as marketing, customer service and insights, Viva Sales, and Supply Chain Center.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are key to back-office functions like HR and finance but, as Reg readers know, include complex processes that don't play as well in already complicated environments. As with Copilot projects in other parts of the Microsoft kingdom, the goal is to keep climbing toward ever-increasing levels of automation.

For example, by combining Copilot with Dynamics 365 Project Operations, project managers can "create new project plans for new engagements in minutes, instead of hours, simply by describing details of the project using natural language," Stephanie Dart, senior director of product marketing for ERP, finance and supply chain at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "Copilot will generate a project plan that can be further refined by the project manager."

Copilot for Finance targets cash flow and payments, while addressing Supply Chain Management issues include order changes and the various challenges and risks that come with them.

"Order responses oftentimes require changes to ordered quantities, delivery dates, or products delivered," Dart wrote. "Today, procurement professionals must review the changes for individual orders one by one to identify the risk to plan and potential downstream impacts."

With Copilot, "users are able to efficiently handle changes to purchase orders at scale and assess the impact and risk to help optimize procurement decisions."

The buzz around generative AI and large language models is fueling a land rush of sorts among vendors that are racing to shoe-horn it into their products. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and is integrating the startup's technologies – such as ChatGPT and GPT-4 – in myriad offerings.

It continues to drop Copilot in everything from Microsoft 365 and security to Edge and Bing.

That said, Microsoft's AI-happy actions have created some conflict with OpenAI, which reportedly warned Microsoft about rushing GPT-4 into Bing without more training. Microsoft did so anyway, leading to some strange answers and behaviors from the AI-powered Bing.

~On the flip side, some within Microsoft are unhappy about Redmond's reliance on OpenAI's technologies, saying their internal AI projects aren't getting enough attention, according to the Wall Street Journal. ®

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