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What Are AI Copilots & How Do They Work?

This article was published on April 10, 2024

AI copilots can connect disparate software, helping your team navigate increasingly complex tech ecosystems and make sense of all the data they generate and store.
 

Not so long ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was little more than sci-fi movie fodder; now, it's at the heart of most cutting-edge enterprise technology. Although this trend has left many workers feeling nervous about their future job stability, leading AI solutions on the market today are often friends, not foes, to human workforces. An AI copilot, for example, isn't meant to replace people but rather to support them — to help your team find answers quickly, avoid redundant tasks, streamline communications workflows, and make data-driven decisions.
 

Learn more about how this technology works, how it can deliver value, and how to use an AI copilot across your organization to increase productivity, improve communications, and boost your bottom line.

 

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What is an AI copilot?

An AI copilot is a conversational interface that leverages large language models (LLMs) to analyze vast data sets from all the software and databases within your IT ecosystem. Then, it uses these insights to guide users through tasks and decision-making processes, and it can even complete tasks on their behalf. As the name suggests, they act as your copilot, like system-wide virtual assistants; it's like having Siri or Alexa available for your enterprise IT environment.

These solutions can work seamlessly across your organization's existing software applications, databases, and collaboration tools, transforming the way your teams work. They can assist with everything from writing emails and answering specific questions to identifying problems before they happen and walking users through complex workflows or processes. And they deliver this support in a natural, human-sounding, conversational way.

How do AI copilots work?

An AI copilot can harness the power of various artificial intelligence models — such as an LLM, machine learning, natural language processing, generative AI, and context awareness technology — to understand work context and data, anticipate user needs, and either guide users through a task or complete it on their behalf. Copilots also require seamless software integrations to connect disparate systems and their data.

What is copilot AI? Like AI virtual agents, copilots can communicate with your team via any text or voice-based channel, including mobile apps or web portals, or live chat via messaging apps or collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams or Slack. But copilots can do far more than convey information. They can quickly learn and adapt to different users' preferred channels and languages, identify what types of support each user typically wants or needs (based on their role in the organization and copilot usage history), and then provide that support in the most helpful and convenient way.

With the right integrations, a good AI copilot can provide:

  • Context-aware support: Copilots can respond not only to commands but also provide context, proactively identifying user needs and offering assistance with various workflows.
  • Task automation: Copilots can automate mundane or repetitive tasks, such as updating CRM systems, summarizing meeting notes, or running regular reports.
  • Data unification: Copilots can break down data silos by connecting disparate platforms and applications, thus ensuring data integrity across the IT ecosystem.
  • Data analysis: Copilots continuously monitor data, looking for trends and patterns to provide actionable insights about the best next steps humans should take. They can also leverage customer data from a CRM to help deliver a more personalized customer experience.
  • Seamless communications: An AI copilot can alert users to possible communication mishaps and fill communication gaps, ensuring important information doesn't get lost in translation and relevant stakeholders are always kept in the loop.
  • Continuous service improvements: Like any good AI solution, copilots are always learning and improving, using new data to better understand context and adapt to user preferences, organizational needs, and industry standards.

Benefits of AI copilots

Deploying an AI copilot is like hiring an assistant for everyone in your workforce. These virtual assistants can understand what information or support each user needs and scour all available data to find ways to help. In doing so, they can provide several competitive advantages for users and the organization as a whole, including:

  • Increased employee productivity and creativity: Copilots can reduce the amount of time your employees spend looking for information, navigating complex processes, and performing repetitive, mundane tasks. By streamlining some workflows and automating others, copilots can help humans work smarter and faster, giving them more time to focus on complex and/or creative tasks.
  • Enhanced user creativity: An AI copilot doesn't just give your people more time to be creative — it can also assist them with creative tasks. For example, it can usher them through writer's block with generative AI providing prompts or suggesting ways to make presentations and other creative content more engaging with better visuals, tighter copy, or more compelling headlines.
  • Higher quality, more accurate data: Outdated, irrelevant, or redundant information is a problem. At best, it wastes time; at worst, it can damage your brand's credibility with customers. Copilots can consolidate and verify data across business systems, ensuring your team has easy access to the most up-to-date, relevant information.
  • Improved collaboration: By integrating your IT infrastructure into a single conversational interface, copilots can ensure everyone is on the same page with access to the same high-quality data across departments and teams.
  • Greater IT ROI: An AI copilot can help your organization get more bang for your IT buck by leveraging the full potential of existing systems. If you're paying for bells and whistles that are too complex for your team to bother learning how to use, your copilot can help figure it out for them and guide them through the process.
  • Cost savings: Time is money, and copilots can help your team accomplish more in less time, thus reducing the need for additional support staff. Meanwhile, copilots can help managers better understand operational costs so they can make data-driven decisions about how to reduce them.
  • Better customer experience: With copilots acting as AI assistants, your team can deliver faster, more context-aware customer support. Copilots can also act as advanced AI agents and provide customers with personalized interactions, automated updates, and guided self-service.
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Use cases for AI copilots

Copilots are transforming the way business users interact with enterprise technology, enabling teams to leverage various solutions — and all their features and functionality — from a single conversational interface. How to use an AI copilot depends on each user's industry, department, and role. There are many different use cases for:

Sales

Copilots can help sales teams identify, qualify, and prioritize sales leads. They can conduct discovery research and share insights to help sales reps understand the needs of prospective customers and predict future needs for current customers. Then, they can use that information to generate personalized sales pitches, alert sales reps to upsell opportunities, or sound the alarm about unsatisfied customers so reps can proactively intervene and prevent customer churn.

Copilots can also save reps time by summarizing meeting notes, updating CRM systems, and scheduling meetings with various decision-makers.

Marketing

Copilots can analyze customer data to help marketing teams better understand customer behavior, needs, and interests, allowing them to deliver hyper-relevant campaigns to segmented audiences across channels. Marketing copilots can also generate creative content and personalize marketing messages based on where prospects are in the buying cycle, what types of content they've engaged with in the past, or what topics are trending among similar buyers.

The technology can also analyze the effectiveness of different campaigns and help marketers understand what is and isn't resonating with their audiences. This can go a long way toward improving messaging and targeting strategies in future campaigns.

IT

IT departments can leverage copilots to monitor their tech stacks, alert them to pending incidents or problems, and provide predictive maintenance on systems before there's an outage. Copilots can also assist with or automate a variety of IT tasks, including automating ticketing, completing code, generating knowledge-base articles, maintaining self-service portals, and more.

Customer Service

A good customer service copilot can support agents every step of the way — from triaging customer inquiries and dispatching them to the most qualified or least busy agent to resolving simple issues without human intervention and even suggesting next steps for agents handling more complex customer requests.

It can also automate documentation, update or pull from CRM systems with notes from each customer interaction, and send status updates or follow-up emails to ensure customers have a good experience every time they interact with your service department.

Finance and operations

Accounting and operations professionals tend to be good at crunching numbers, but an AI copilot can be better because it can process vast amounts of data at once. In addition to analyzing financial data and automating financial calculations, copilots can generate reports filled with insights that can help leadership teams make the best decisions based on all currently available information.

They can also generate proactive financial forecasts, alerting managers to future financial hurdles or operational bottlenecks that need to be addressed before they become problems.

The future of AI copilots

Artificial intelligence has come a long way, and if history has taught us anything about technology, it's that innovation happens exponentially. That means the pace of AI advances will continue to speed up, putting LLMs, NLP, machine learning, and context awareness at the center of most emerging enterprise technology for years to come. Who will help your teams take advantage of these solutions, learn how to use them, and navigate the workflow improvements they have to offer? An AI copilot.

As this technology continues to evolve, AI copilots will become increasingly autonomous and better at communicating and collaborating with humans, serving as powerful smart assistants that can help humans work smarter and faster.

Work smarter with Vonage AI 

Ready to unlock the full potential of an AI copilot, with a platform that can adapt to your organizational needs, prioritizes security and scalability, and continues to grow in analytical prowess? Unlock a new level of AI features with Vonage AI Studio.

Vonage AI Studio is offered as a fully managed virtual assistant or a low-code/no-code conversational interface designer that can empower your enterprise to create and deploy engaging natural language experiences for your customers and employees. It offers everything you need to deliver intelligent omnichannel communications and large-scale AI-driven solutions from a single destination — whether you're building virtual agents to usher your customers through your website and mobile apps or ushering your teams into a new era of work.

Discover the future of AI-powered conversations by harnessing the power of Large Language Models with Vonage Generative AI, now available in beta.

Learn more about all Vonage AI solutions now.

headshot photo of Steven Giuffre, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Vonage Voice API
By Steven Giuffre Senior Manager, Vonage APIs

Steven Giuffre is a Senior Manager for Vonage APIs. He leverages his Conversational AI and Voice expertise to promote personalized communications across channels for brands to deliver richer conversations and context to their customers. Steven lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys beach life, films of most genres, Rams football, and his dog, Roxy.

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