Improve visibility into workload-related spend using Copilot in Microsoft Cost Management

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.

Reducing spend is more important than ever given today’s dynamic economy. Today’s businesses strive to create efficiencies that safeguard against unpredictable shifts in the economy, beat competitors, and prioritize what matters most.  But accomplishing this is less about cutting costs and more about the ability to continuously optimize your cloud investments. Continuous optimization can help you drive innovation, productivity, and agility and realize an ongoing cycle of growth and innovation in your business.  


Typically, you’d have to go to multiple places to figure out how to optimize your Cloud costs. Over the years we’ve given a lot of thought to how we can help customers simplify that process and make it easier to identify cost optimization opportunities. That’s why we introduced Microsoft Cost Management a few years back. Microsoft Cost Management, available with your Azure Portal subscription, gives you visibility into your workloads and the related resources driving spend. It was designed to help you implement financial governance in your organization by focusing on visibility, accountability, and cost optimization.  


More recently, the rise of generative AI got us thinking: What if we could use AI in Microsoft Cost Management to enable customers to ask natural language questions and get the insights they need faster? Faster time to insights means you can apply the fundamentals of reinvestment to continue innovating and growing your business. To that end, we recently introduced the GPT-powered AI chat capability for Microsoft Cost Management. Now in preview, the new AI chat capability means you don’t have to be an expert in navigating the Microsoft Cost Management UI or analyzing the data it generates. In other words, we’ve made it even easier for you to optimize your Cloud investments.  


Let’s take a closer look at how it works. 


Leverage the power of AI to analyze and optimize Cloud spend 

The new AI-powered functionality within Microsoft Cost Management is an interactive experience that provides you with quick analysis, insights, and recommendations to help you better understand, analyze, manage, and forecast your Cloud costs. For example, use natural language to ask the AI assistant to summarize your cost by categories of spend and their percentage impact on the total invoice. Then, take that analysis even further by comparing month-over-month spend and receive instant responses. Or, use the AI assistant to explore your Cloud cost across multiple subscriptions within your organization. Ask it to compare months and it can provide AI-generated insights into what may have prompted an increase in charges. Analyze operational spend data to get the source of spikes or anomalies in just a fraction of the time it would take to do this yourself. By comparing usage and isolating fluctuations, you can focus on creating efficiencies that support your day-to-day operations. 


In addition to in-depth analyses, as you use the AI assistant you’re also provided with key insights and potential optimizations. You can use prompts such as “How do I reduce cost?” or “Help me optimize my spending” to receive valuable recommendations on how to optimize your Cloud investments. You can also set a budget and create an alert to advise you of possible overage. Or, add anomaly alerts to inform you when costs change so you can investigate further. This empowers you to take action and helps you prioritize savings to parts of the business that support ROI. 


How does all this work behind the scenes? AI and Microsoft Cost Management understand user intent and, based on its training, interpret the right kind and level of data. It looks at the user’s permissions before making specific API calls to securely orchestrate the retrieval of this data from multiple sources and then performs complex analytical tasks at runtime. The retrieved information and the user prompt are then presented to the large language model. Importantly, this retrieved information is not used to train the model; it simply provides the necessary knowledge and context to generate a response.  


Coming soon: what-if modeling  
This is just the beginning for the AI-powered functionality in Microsoft Cost Management. In the future, you’ll also be able to enhance your cost management practices by utilizing AI simulations and what-if modeling to make informed decisions for your specific needs. Ask any question you want and gain valuable insights into potential impacts on your Cloud costs. For instance, ask questions such as, “Can you forecast my cost if I add 100 new customers and my storage consumption increases by 20%?” Not only will you receive an answer, you’ll also be presented with suggestions for how to optimize your spending with specific recommended actions like buying a reservation or adding a savings plan, as well as additional prompts to explore those options further.  


The new GPT-powered AI chat capability for Microsoft Cost Management makes it easy to get even more control over your Cloud spend. It’s an important step to making the experience of managing your Cloud costs even more seamless. Ultimately, it’s about empowering you to take action through insight and creating reinvestment opportunities that support growth through cost optimization.  


To enable access to Microsoft Copilot for Azure (preview) for your organization, complete the registration form. The application process only needs to be completed once per tenant. Check with your administrator if you have questions about joining the preview.


For more information about the preview, see Limited access.

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