7 min read

Building your own copilot with Copilot Studio


Learn how you can use Copilot Studio to build your own copilot, available on multiple channels, designed for your audiences, and tailored specifically to your business processes and workflows.

In November, we introduced Microsoft Copilot Studio, a conversational AI platform that allows you to customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 and build your own copilot.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 offers AI assistance to create, find, and ask for information across Microsoft 365 apps and provides a Copilot chat available across several employee experiences like Microsoft Teams, Windows, and Bing. However, sometimes you may want generative AI assistants that can reach users on multiple channels outside of those, like embedding on your internal websites, mobile apps, and social channels. You may want to design individual AI assistants that can serve employees, customers, and partners. Or you might want a custom copilot that you can tailor to specific roles and functions, where you can control the orchestration of your large language model using the dialog manager for managed topics with specific workflows.

When you create your own copilot with Copilot Studio, you are building intelligent chat experiences using ready-made large language models, a dialog manager, 1200+ data connectors, and more within a low code SaaS. These custom copilots are AI assistants that help humans with complex cognitive tasks using your organization’s knowledge, connectors to LOB applications, and your own custom topics. For example, a copilot for IT support, a copilot to help your customers choose the right product, or even help your suppliers track the status of orders.

How Copilot Studio works

Let’s talk through the steps to building your own copilot. You can start by logging in to Copilot Studio which will spin up all of the required services for you so it’s ready for building in a matter of minutes.

Imagine you wanted to create a custom copilot to serve customers on your website, for example assisting with product knowledge questions and order management.

First, start by grounding your copilot in your data. Using generative answers, you can enable multi-turn chat over your organizations real-time data—from local files to SharePoint sites, from public websites to data in your own custom backends creating the ability to chat over a wide set of topics within minutes. For this scenario, you would use your public website including your product information.

For critical topics such as account management, which involves handling customer details, you can design the specific conversational flow that you want Copilot to follow. You have the option to use visual authoring or natural language to design these prioritized topics before proceeding to generative AI. For instance, consider a topic that collects user details, authenticates the user, and interacts with your order management systems following a specific sequence of steps. Another example of a managed topic is discounting, where responses may involve legal and compliance matters, and therefore, you provide the managed response.

With generative actions, you can now provide a list of plugins to the copilot, selecting from 1200+ data connectors like SAP, Workday, Salesforce etc, and these will be dynamically executed to help the copilot take action. This allows copilot to effortlessly handle complex queries that were unforeseen or not previously constructed.

For developers that want more custom development, you can use Azure models and services with Copilot Studio. This hybrid approach of low code with custom pro code integration allows you to bring custom language models, Azure OpenAI on your data, knowledge bases, image generation with DALL-E, telemetry, and more into your Copilot Studio copilot.

When you’re ready, you can publish your copilot to multiple channels which can be internal or external facing to interact with users across different platforms, such as websites, Microsoft Teams, social apps, mobile apps, Azure Bot Service channels and more. You can also escalate the conversation to 1st party Dynamics 365 and 3rd party tools like Genesys, LivePerson, Salesforce and ServiceNow when the copilot requires human assistance.

Once the copilot is live, be sure to review the copilot performance with the built-in analytics dashboard that helps makers monitor key metrics, evaluate performance, and find new copilot topics. Secure and manage your copilot with governance and control features with the central admin center to protect copilot data with data loss prevention policies, role-based access control, environment management and more.

These are just some of the foundational steps to getting started, but there are many other features you can include in your copilot.

How Copilot Studio will evolve in the future

When you build custom copilots using Copilot Studio today, you are designing chat-based experiences to support users with knowledge discovery, such as finding answers to their queries, and task/business process completion, such as calling APIs and following workflows.

We are continuously enhancing the capabilities of Copilot Studio in the upcoming months through several key areas of focus:

  • Generative AI knowledge sources– Generative Answers currently supports several data sources to ground your Copilot. Today, you can chat over unstructured data by providing your URLs and data sources. We are expanding both the number of sources and sizes over time. Learn about the existing capabilities today.
  • Multi-modality – You can design powerful text-based Copilots today, and even create copilots optimized for speech, which can be used with Dynamics 365 or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) ISVs. Over time, we will provide even more ways to interact with your chat-based experiences.
  • Generative AI availability – Copilot Studio is available across several regions, languages, and data centers which we are expanding here.

Be sure to read the Copilot Studio in Copilot for Microsoft 365 blog for information on plugins.

We appreciate your ongoing feedback and suggestions as we continue to improve the experience. Stay tuned for more updates at Microsoft Build.

What else can you do with Copilot Studio

Copilot Studio offers features that can be consumed both within your custom copilots and Copilot for Microsoft 365 via plugins, such as 1200+ data connectors, workflow design, and generative answers all through the low code authoring canvas. The difference is in the channel and audience in which the copilot/plugin is consumed.

If you have invested in Copilot for Microsoft 365 today, you may look to use Copilot Studio to bring in your data outside of Copilot for Microsoft 365 into the Copilot chat, design custom workflows or help control the conversation for specific topics. You would achieve this by designing plugins in Copilot Studio which is included in the Copilot for Microsoft 365 user license for customization of Copilot for Microsoft 365 only. Custom copilot development requires a standalone license. There is no dependency to purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 to make your own custom copilot.

With Copilot Studio in Copilot for Microsoft 365, you can create plugins for various transactional scenarios. For example, if you want to know how much travel budget is left for the rest of the quarter, you can design a plugin to query a SAP connector to retrieve the information. For sales data, you could ask “What are the sales targets for the fiscal?” querying a data source like Salesforce or Dynamics 365, or even query HR data in Workday and ask questions like “How many vacation days do I have left?”.

And the best part is, you only need to build your plugin once, and it can be reused across your organization after being approved by IT in the admin center.

Get inspired with use cases

Copilot Studio provides you with the platform to build a copilot for your specific needs, for your industry, department, with your data. These custom copilots can cover Business to Employee (B2E) Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C).

Copilot Studio usecases
Business to employee examples:
  • Copilot for IT Service Management: “Check the progress of my current IT ticket” or “Initiate a request for device upgrades” connected to ServiceNow.
  • Copilot for Human Resources: “Start the onboarding sequence for our new team member” or “Show me the remaining training budget for this quarter.” Using your HRM systems like Workday.
  • Copilot for Frontline workers: “How do I find the manual for Contoso Blender” or “How do I fix the printing machine model XB100”
  • Copilot for Legal and Compliance: “Summarize the latest updates to our brand usage guidelines” or “Explain the company’s stance on intellectual property rights.”

Business to business examples:

  • Copilot for Project Management: “Give me a summary of completed tasks for Project X’s second phase” or “List the pending deliverables for phase two.”
  • Copilot for Supplier Management: “Show the fulfillment status of purchase order #452” or “Track the shipment of our recent bulk order.”
  • Copilot for Sales Enablement: “Generate a quote for a large-scale supply of office essentials” helping your business assess the lead potential for a prospective client.

Business to consumer examples:

  • Copilot for Customer Support: Guide a customer through the product return process or requests like “Help me with account recovery.”
  • Copilot for Product Consultation: “Recommend the best laptop for travel-intensive users” or “Compare the latest smartphone models for photography enthusiasts.”
  • Copilot for Service Booking: Navigate a customer through scheduling a service appointment with queries like “Check availability for in-store consultations next Thursday.”
  • Copilot for Travel Assistance: “Help me book a trip for a family of four with top-rated family resorts for this summer” connected to your travel booking system.

Check out some of the use cases from customers such as Paypal, AnPost, HP and more.

Get started with Copilot Studio today

We are eager to keep delivering the newest advances to Copilot Studio and we can’t wait to see the amazing solutions you create. Be sure to take advantage of the training content like Copilot Studio in a day and the learning paths to begin your skilling journey.

To learn more about Copilot Studio, visit aka.ms/copilotstudio. To try it for yourself, go to aka.ms/trycopilotstudio. And don’t miss out Microsoft Build, where we’ll share more announcements and demos.

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