In a world where the number of new applications is predicted to grow into the hundreds of millions, the news that Microsoft is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) within its Dynamics 365 solution range will be a game-changer for DXC customers over the next five years.
Dynamics 365 Copilot, the name of Microsoft’s embedded Chat GPT capability, will be switched on within all of its Dynamics 365 applications within the next month or two. It was the highlight announcement of Release Wave 1—a list of enhancements that will be gradually incorporated into its core products over the next six months. Release Wave 2 is set to be released on October 1, 2023.
Copilot is a new tool developed by Microsoft and OpenAI that uses AI to assist developers in writing code. It is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model, which is trained to understand natural language and generate text based on prompts. Copilot is designed to provide developers with code suggestions and auto-completion for their programming tasks, which can help speed up the development process and improve code quality.
A recent research paper by IDG predicts that nearly 500 million apps will exist within the next five years—more than has been created in the last 40. However, it also points out a chronic lack of skilled developers to create the apps businesses need to help them innovate. For Dynamics 365 customers, Copilot has several advantages and will play an essential part in helping organisations cope with developer skill shortages, reducing application development times, and enabling end-users to test innovative ideas for new apps.
For example, Copilot can help reduce the time and effort required to develop customisations and extensions. Using Copilot to assist with coding, developers can focus more on higher-level architecture and design while the tool takes care of the details. This can help speed up the development process and reduce the time-to-market for new features and applications.
Secondly, by using AI to analyse and suggest code, Copilot can help identify errors and improve code quality. It can also help enforce coding standards and best practices, which can help reduce the risk of errors and improve maintainability over time. This can be especially important for Dynamics 365 customers, who often need to maintain large and complex codebases.
Thirdly, Copilot can help reduce development costs by automating repetitive tasks and reducing the time required for coding. By using AI to generate code suggestions and automate tasks, developers can focus more on value-added tasks and spend less time on repetitive tasks. This can help reduce costs and improve the overall efficiency of the development process.
Added to Microsoft’s existing ‘low code no code’ functionality, which allows users to create enterprise-grade business apps using drag-and-drop functionality, Copilot reduces the barriers for customers to become citizen developers. For example, business users who need to uncover insights into customer behaviour can point Copilot to information sources they need to draw upon—be it data from a legacy CRM, ERP system or an external database—to create a very powerful app that can be customised as business requirements change.
In addition, with all the Dynamics 365 applications forming part of the ‘dataverse’, the new AI natural language capability streamlines the creation of prototype apps, which can then be refined or extended with expert developers’ assistance.
Copilot can also help improve collaboration between developers. By suggesting code and auto-completion, Copilot helps developers work more efficiently together, reducing the need for manual code review and improving code consistency. This can be especially important for larger development teams, where collaboration can be challenging.
Release Wave 1 also announced enhancements for Dynamics 365 Finance, Operations and Human Resources, the Digital Contact Center Platform, and Supply Chain Management applications. Please contact DXC for further information about any of Microsoft’s planned feature releases.