Microsoft announced Thursday that it’s incorporating a new set of generative artificial intelligence capabilities into its Dynamics 365 platform for automating business functions in areas such as finance, sales and human resources.
The enhancements include new features aimed at helping managers, including in finance departments, “dramatically reduce the time spent on project status reports, task planning, and risk assessments,” Stephanie Dart, senior director of product marketing for Microsoft Dynamics, said in a blog post.
An upcoming AI-powered financial planning and analysis add-on for CFOs “will build on this powerful foundation to help finance managers and business analysts spend less time slicing and dicing data,” she said.
The roll out is part of a broader effort by the software giant to position itself as a strong leader in AI-powered offerings for businesses and consumers alike. It follows the company’s multi-billion-dollar investment deal in January with OpenAI, which has stunned the world with its generative AI tool known as ChatGPT.
After it was launched in November, ChatGPT quickly surpassed both Instagram and Spotify as the fastest-growing consumer application in history, according to KPMG.
Capitalizing on that momentum, Microsoft in recent months has unveiled AI-related initiatives impacting various products and services, including its Bing search engine; its suite of office software products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook; and its Azure cloud computing platform.
Thursday’s announcement builds on the company’s introduction of a new AI-powered version of Dynamics 365 in March. The new model, Dynamics 365 Copilot, “takes advantage of recent advancements in generative AI to automate tedious tasks and unlock the full creativity of the workforce,” according to Dart’s blog post.
Microsoft is among leading companies competing in the “enterprise resource planning” software market, which is poised to grow in value from $46.86 billion in 2023 to $71.34 billion by 2030, according to Fortune Business Insights. Other major players in the market include SAP, Oracle, IBM, and Workday.
“ERP systems have long been the central nervous system of modern businesses, centralizing data for better business insight from core functions like finance, HR, procurement, resourcing, and supply chains,” Dart said. However, traditional ERP solutions have struggled to keep pace with “the dynamic nature of today’s global markets,” she added.
With Copilot, project managers can “rapidly create new project plans for new engagements in minutes, instead of hours, simply by describing details of the project using natural language,” the post said. The enhanced system will also allow finance teams to further automate customer collections and communications, it said.
Last month, the company announced plans to roll out a “fully developed, customer-ready extended planning and analytics solution” for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance customers.
“Our solution prioritizes critical modern capabilities that are top of mind for today’s CFOs, such as predictive forecasting, zero-based budgeting, what-if analysis, and uncovering hidden drivers with AI-powered insights,” Georg Glantschnig, vice president of Dynamics 365 Finance, said in a blog post at the time.