What is Graph-Grounded Chat in Copilot?

What is Graph-Grounded Chat in Copilot? It's a feature that offers businesses powerful capabilities for automating tedious tasks and boosting productivity across teams.
09.04.24 Charles Griffiths

Organising meeting notes, creating presentations, and getting updates from colleagues have been time-consuming tasks that drain a company’s resources and distract from value-added work.

The graph-grounded chat feature of Microsoft Copilot simplifies these tasks due to its cross-app capabilities. The AI assistant can facilitate an organisation’s internal and external communications and boost the productivity of its employees.

Business Chat, Microsoft 365 Chat, Microsoft Copilot with Graph-Grounded Chat – A Brief Introduction

The arrival of Copilot and Business Chat was arguably the most important news from Microsoft in 2023. The tech giant has rebranded the AI-powered Business Chat since its initial announcement in March 2023, causing confusion about the feature’s name.

The tool was renamed to Microsoft 365 Chat in September 2023 and then to Microsoft Copilot with Graph-Grounded Chat a few months later.

  • Business Chat – The first version of Copilot’s chat that had the ability to access data from Microsoft 365 apps, LLM and the user’s emails, chats, meetings or documents and generate content based on the information it retrieves.
  • Microsoft 365 Chat – A more refined version of Business Chat, labelled Microsoft 365 Chat, became available in the final quarter of 2023. In addition to user data and Microsoft 365 apps, this variant of the Copilot’s AI chat could also pull information from online sources.
  • Microsoft Copilot with Graph-Grounded Chat—The most recent version of Copilot’s chat feature can act as an organisation’s internal browser and help its employees save time searching for information. It provides businesses with information grounded in their organisational data.

Users can access this tool from the Teams app or microsoft365.com and copilot.microsoft.com. Microsoft announced in early March 2024 that the grounded-chat feature will be available in iOS and Android versions of the Microsoft 365 app.

The Copilot’s chat feature acts as a personal assistant, enabling a company’s employees to review chat conversations within the last thirty days or summarise emails from a particular customer. Most importantly, the chat function is compatible with all Microsoft 365 apps, and it gives the Copilot the power to synchronise data from Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook or Word.

What Does the Graph-Grounded Chat in Copilot Do?

The main areas in which Microsoft Copilot with graph-grounded chat can increase an organisation’s efficiency are:

  • Email organisation – The feature uses AI to summarise email threads and suggest appropriate responses to the company’s clients.
  • Creation and management of documents – The tool can generate, summarise and manage all documents created with apps included in the Microsoft365 package.
  • Meeting summaries – The tool helps organisations analyse meeting transcripts and suggest follow-up actions.

Graph-grounded chat provides contextual assistance to its users, enabling them to perform their tasks in different Microsoft 365 apps faster and more efficiently. This Copilot feature also makes creating impactful business presentations in PowerPoint or visualising data in Excel tables easier.

Its information retrieval capabilities are dependent on the presence of references and the scope of the internal knowledge. Graph-grounded chat generates responses based on information included in Microsoft’s training algorithms, so its capabilities are likely to expand as Microsoft refines the algorithms it uses to train AI.

Importantly, the tool cannot generate output with over thirty requests as it prompts the user to start a new chat.

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Exploring the Main Features of Microsoft Copilot Graph-Grounded Chat

The graph-grounded chat brings much-needed innovation to several segments of daily business operations. Companies must manage permissions carefully to stay compliant with Microsoft’s Responsible AI Standards and make the most of its capabilities.

Email Management

The Copilot’s feature effectively summarises email threads and provides suitable suggestions for response based on the information it retrieves from a specific thread. It also reduces the chances of missing an important email that requires the immediate attention of one of the company’s employees.

Streamlining Internal Collaborations

Team members with Copilot access can use the chat feature to obtain status updates on the activities assigned to their colleagues. The AI tool has access to the Outlook Calendar, which enables all members of a team to check their co-worker’s availability without invading their privacy.

Managing External Communications

The graph-grounded chat utilises LLMs to provide knowledgeable and comprehensive responses to customer queries. The chatbot uses information from the company’s system to draft the messages it sends to customers, while employees can use it to keep track of the organisation’s correspondence with each of its clients.

Document Creation

Businesses that want to save time on drafting business proposals, interpreting and visualising information from Excel spreadsheets or preparing presentations in PowerPoint can benefit from integrating this tool into their daily operations. The chat feature synchronises the data from all Microsoft365 apps, allowing users to generate content from their interactions with the AI, extract the most important notes from a meeting’s transcript or prepare documents a business sends to their customers.

Retrieving Information

Cutting down on the time the company’s employees have to spend searching for bits of information is arguably one of the most significant advantages Microsoft Copilot with Graph-grounded Chat offers. It can collect information about a specific person, an email, a meeting in a calendar or a file from an organisation’s archive.

Copilot Chat can draw information from the following sources:

  • User’s One Drive
  • Groups in the Teams app the user has access to
  • Events and emails in Outlook
  • The company’s SharePoint on the internal network
  • All SharePoint sites the user has permission to access
Microsoft 365 CoPilot Image

The Challenges of Microsoft Copilot Graph-Grounded Chat for Large Corporations and SMEs

The efficiency of Copilot’s graph-grounded chat still depends on the quality of prompts, as its output can be vague if the instructions it receives don’t clearly specify the task it should complete. Users should follow the best prompt-writing practices and ensure each prompt contains a clearly defined goal, expectations, context, and sources.

It’s paramount to keep in mind that the content generated by the Microsoft365 Copilot graph-grounded chat requires editing even if the user provides a well-written prompt.

Most importantly, an organisation that wants to make the most of this tool must develop a strict editorial policy to avoid data breaches or GDPR violations. While Microsoft maintains enterprise-level security for its software, there are still cyber security risks that businesses need to be aware of

The Benefits of Microsoft Copilot Graph-Grounded Chat For Businesses of All Sizes

Even in a small sample, it’s abundantly clear that the benefits of Copilot’s graph-grounded chat far outweigh the potential drawbacks. The tool can reduce the time a company’s employees spend on email management daily by approximately two hours. Managers can use it to summarise meeting notes and suggest follow-up actions in just 15 minutes.

The AI assistant can reduce an employee’s weekly workload by up to ten hours, enabling companies to use their human resources more efficiently. As AI technology develops, this relatively new tool should become even more powerful, giving businesses a simple, centralised way of streamlining their communications, managing client relationships and drafting internal and external documents.

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