Introduction: Microsoft Inspire: Accelerating AI transformation through partnership

Collaboration is a key component of Microsoft’s success. Our partner ecosystem consists of more than 400,000 partners worldwide, and they play a key role in making new technology available to customers, especially in today’s AI-focused world. Microsoft Inspire is a chance to acknowledge the role our partners play in customer success and to share new opportunities and ways to engage with Microsoft products.

To recognize the impressive achievements of our collaborators, we kicked off Microsoft Inspire by celebrating the finalists and winners in the 2023 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards, which were announced in late June. The awards highlight partner success and innovation in an array of categories, across solution areas, industries, business transformation and social impact.

This year’s Microsoft Inspire continues our push to make AI a transformative tool for our customers and partners. We’re excited to share even more AI-powered solutions and show how Microsoft partners can apply these AI innovations across their organizations in a variety of ways, from expansion of AI skilling to new products and services that drive customer success. Read on for some of the top announcements at this year’s event.

Introducing Bing Chat Enterprise
Since launching the new Bing in February, we’ve heard from many corporate customers who are excited to empower their organizations with powerful new AI tools but are concerned that their companies’ data will not be protected. That’s why today we’re announcing Bing Chat Enterprise, which gives organizations AI-powered chat for work with commercial data protection. What goes in – and comes out – remains protected, giving commercial customers managed access to better answers, greater efficiency and new ways to be creative.

Bing Chat Enterprise will start rolling out today in preview to organizations licensed for Microsoft 365 E5, E3, Business Premium and Business Standard at no additional cost. We will also make Bing Chat Enterprise available as a stand-alone subscription in the future for $5 per user, per month. Learn more and find out how to get started with Bing Chat Enterprise.

Announcing Microsoft 365 Copilot Pricing
Today, we’re also pleased to announce pricing for Microsoft 365 Copilot. It will be available for $30 per user per month for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium customers when generally available.

While some generative AI apps focus on a single capability, like real-time transcription or copywriting, Microsoft 365 Copilot puts thousands of skills at your command. By grounding answers in business data like your documents, emails, calendar, chats, meetings and contacts, and combining them with your working context – the meeting you’re in now, the emails you’ve exchanged on a topic, the chats you had last week – Copilot delivers richer, more relevant and more actionable responses to your questions.

And, Microsoft 365 Copilot is integrated into the apps millions of people use every day. Copilot jump-starts your creativity in Word, analyzes data in Excel, designs presentations in PowerPoint, triages your Outlook inbox, summarizes meetings in Teams – whether you attended or not – and so much more.

Empowering sellers and customer service agents with AI
Sellers need to have as many options in their toolboxes as possible. So, we’re adding more functionality to Microsoft Sales Copilot directly within Dynamics 365 Sales, such as AI-generated opportunity summary, contextualized email drafts and meeting preparations. This empowers sellers to improve productivity and close more deals with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) task automation (including Salesforce), actionable real-time insights and AI-assisted content and recommendations to personalize customer interactions at scale. These add to AI capabilities already available in Microsoft Sales Copilot such as Teams calls summaries and email thread summaries. Viva Sales, announced in June 2022, kickstarted our work of transforming seller experiences, and these capabilities are now part of Sales Copilot. Read more about Microsoft Sales Copilot.

At Microsoft Inspire, we’re also highlighting how customers like Virgin Money are empowering their customer service departments with tailored chatbots built with Power Virtual Agents. With Copilot in Power Virtual Agents, within minutes, businesses can train a chatbot using natural language to reference internal and external knowledge sources, customer service applications and web data via Bing Search. Virgin Money developed their chatbot in two weeks, and it addresses more than 195,000 customer interactions a month, helping their service agents focus on more complex customer inquiries.

Process Mining in Power Automate
Organizations often have a difficult time identifying blockages in their workflows and how to clear them. To help, Microsoft is announcing the general availability of next-generation AI features within Power Automate Process Mining, providing customers with AI-powered insights to optimize existing processes and drive efficiencies through low-code automation. With Process Mining, users can understand what is happening across their business, use AI that generates insights, app and automation suggestions, and use Power Platform to quickly build the solutions they need. Learn more about Process Mining in Power Automate.

Azure OpenAI expanded availability
We’ve been thrilled to see the enthusiasm and business adoption of Azure OpenAI Service, with more than 4,500 customers using the product. Witnessing customers do amazing things, like building chatbots using organizational data, summarizing text and generating content, is exciting to watch develop.

Now, we’re bringing the service to more organizations around the world. Last week, we expanded access to Azure OpenAI Service, increasing its availability in North America and Western Europe, while making it available for Asia for the first time.

New Azure capabilities and investments
We are also going to announce a substantial investment to increase the scale and availability of Azure Migrate & Modernize, and to launch Azure Innovate, an all-new dedicated investment we are making in response to the heightened demands for analytics and AI. These new offerings have expanded scenario coverage and offer richer incentives and support for everything from fast, frictionless migrations to building new AI-powered apps.

Meta and Microsoft partnership
Meta and Microsoft have announced support for the Llama family of large language models on Azure and Windows. As part of this announcement, Microsoft will be Meta’s preferred partner as they release their new version of Llama 2 to commercial customers for the first time. This announcement means that Azure customers will be able to easily fine-tune and deploy the 7B-parameter, 13B-parameter, and 70B-parameter Llama 2 models easily and safely on Azure, In addition, Llama 2 will be optimized to run locally on Windows – enabling Windows developers to take advantage of Llama 2 by targeting the Direct ML execution provider through the ONNX runtime. More on this announcement can be found here.

Expanded strategic collaboration with Epic
We are excited to highlight an expansion of our strategic collaboration with Epic, a leading healthcare software company, where we are using the power of AI to help clinicians spend less time on administrative functions and more time on providing quality care. Epic has integrated Azure OpenAI Service into its electronic health record (EHR) software to provide multiple solutions, from helping clinicians explore clinical data in a conversational and intuitive way to helping them more efficiently reply to patient messages. And with Nuance DAX Express, we are embedding our AI-powered clinical documentation capabilities directly into Epic workflows to help providers further lessen the administrative workloads that lead to burnout, expand access to care for patients and enhance healthcare outcomes.

Additionally, Epic customers are now utilizing Azure Large Instances to achieve the scale needed to run large Epic EHR databases – up to 50 million database accesses per second. This allows Epic customers to scale beyond the previous limits of shared public cloud infrastructure solutions.

The new Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program
In another milestone, Microsoft Inspire marks the launch of the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, the next generation of our partner program, which empowers every partner to deliver customer value while leveraging Microsoft AI and the Microsoft Cloud. Through the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program, we’re providing partners with a comprehensive portfolio of investments for all partner business models, at every stage of maturity.

The Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program utilizes the entire partner lifecycle, including onboarding, skilling, go-to-market, incentives and co-selling. Partners get the value and benefits of the previous program plus access to new offerings and benefits specific to AI. And there is no action for a partner to take to move to the new program – we’ve moved all existing partners into the new program effective immediately and partners maintain their existing benefits and designations. Read more about the Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program.

Additional partner updates
We have several updates with new opportunities for partners to go-to-market and scale their businesses, including:

  • ISV Success updates: Announced in preview at last Microsoft Inspire, ISV Success is the pathway for ISV partners within the AI Cloud Partner Program and is now generally available. ISV Success offers product and cloud benefits, demo and sandbox environments, technical consults to build and publish applications, and once published, sales and marketing benefits to help accelerate deals through Microsoft commercial marketplace. In addition, partners participating in ISV Success will also get access to GitHub Copilot as part of ISV Success benefits at the end of 2023.
  • Multiparty private offers: As part of our continued investments in the Microsoft commercial marketplace, we also announced multiparty private offers, which empower partners to work together to sell customized deals through the Microsoft commercial marketplace.
  • New Solutions Partner designations for more partners: We are introducing new designations as part of the AI Cloud Partner Program to provide opportunities for additional partners to differentiate their technical capabilities and demonstrate customer success. This includes a new training services designation for learning partners, ISV designations for partners building solutions aligned with the Microsoft Cloud and our industry clouds, and a support services designation.

We are excited about today’s announcements and our commitment to accelerating AI transformation, driving customer success, and fueling partner business growth and profitability. This is just a snapshot of the updates being announced at Microsoft Inspire – for a more comprehensive review, please see the additional resources at the end of this post.

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Author: Rank X. Shaw – Chief Communications Officer, Microsoft