What and Why Would You Want To Build a Custom Copilot?


This is a cross-post from Simon Doy’s blog.

We have realised that we have not talked about Custom Copilots and why you might want to build one.

So, in this blog post, we will start with Why. Why would you want to build a Custom Copilot? We should also explain what they are.

Recently Simon talked about these aspects in a recent session that he did for Chirag at M365 UK, called Custom Copilot The Options so you are welcome to watch that to get further insight.

Session 2 (54:45) : Custom Copilots in Microsoft 365 – The Options – Simon Doy MVP

Anyway, lets get started.

Why would you want to build a Custom Copilot?

So, why would you want to build a Custom Copilot and what are they?

So, a Custom Copilot is a Generative AI Chatbot that is specific in what it provides, it might cover a particular role or task and is not generic. For example, you might have a Copilot for HR which provides information for employees on HR matters.

It is power is that it is specific. However, that can also be its downfall because it is specific and only knows information about a topic.

A Custom Copilot need not only be an information gatherer, it may also be a way to perform actions for example, that a Copilot for HR might allow someone to submit a form for changing personal details.

So, now we have explained what a Custom Copilot is, then let’s explain why you might want to build one. As we mentioned they are great when you need to build something that provides a specific purpose or role. One of the challenges with broader Copilots. For example, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is that they can access a lot of data and information and that makes it hard for the LLM behind the Copilot to know what is important. By having a more specific dataset and providing a particular need the Copilot can be built with that in mind.

All these capabilities make the Copilot easier to use and it will provide better and more relevant results. Additionally, for organisations looking to have these built, the risk is reduced of them failing. This is because their scope is smaller, so testing and getting feedback on how they perform is quicker and more targeted.

Custom Copilots can be made available in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint, actually, they can be delivered through a huge number of different channels via the Microsoft Bot Service and Microsoft Copilot Studio.

We want to build one, where should we start looking?

Well of course you can come and chat with us at iThink 365.

What do you need to think about?

To be honest this area is moving quickly and changing all the time. The technology behind the Custom Copilots is very new and uses GPT models such as GPT 3.5 and GPT 4.

The patterns that are used for knowledge management-based Custom Copilots need a lot of testing and development as whether they are fit for your purpose depends on how the data is structured, chunked up, and put into the search index. There are a lot of variables that need to be managed here and tried out to give the users the results that they expect and help them get their jobs done.

However, it should not be underestimated the amount of time this will take and the tweaking that is required.


Thanks for reading this post and we look forward to hearing how you get on with your Custom Copilot journey.

Please feel free to get in touch if you need support on your Generative AI and Copilot journey.