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  • Sebastian Sieber

First look on: Copilot in Time Entry


It's one of these Friday afternoons. You've worked the whole week on customer projects, calls dined with in between calls, and in general you hear the Teams theme song by heart.

After all that lovely and appreciated work, rescuing productions, and solving even the more complex questions, like what's for lunch break - there is only one task left.

That one repeating task. You should care about that task on a daily base - theoretically.

But you don't. I don't either.


Time Recording

So all over the world, people sit down on a Friday afternoon and track their times. Just remembering who dared to call on a Monday at 9:45 while you were trying to answer the door and keeping up with laundry.

Either in a Timesheet or any Time Recording Application your company decided to buy.


Wouldn't it be nice to receive some AI-based support? Everyone talks about Copilots, and ChatGPTs and still I have to do my Time recording manually. Frustrating. Isn't it?


Copilot in Time Entry

But, this is about to change - with the latest update of D365 Project Operations (4.103.0.172 latest) new Microsoft Copilot functionality was added in a preview state.


 

Note: You can see me trigger the functionality twice before something happens inside the Copilot chat interface. For me, it looks more like a connection / authentication issue. The authentication is restored after the first try, so I can trigger the functionality with the second, identical prompt.

Additionally there is currently no automatic refresh of the Grid.

 

The Time Entry suggestions are based on my active Resource Assignments. So to say, an import of Resource Assignments of the current week.

But is this AI? Is this Copilot? There is an out-of-the-box action that imports my Resource Assignments - did Microsoft only label an existing functionality as AI capability?


Well - what I can say is, there is an already existing Resource Assignments import feature:



The regular import is running in some trouble for the very same scenario. Both options are based on the same data set for the same dates.

The Copilot based Resource Assignment import does not display an error message - which seems incorrect anyway. But the results are identical at the beginning of the week as the mentioned error blocks entries for the Friday ongoing.

As an conclusion, I tend to say that the import feature got improved at least.


Reviewing the functional implementation, won't answer the question either. In Copilot Studio we can find the Project Service Power Virtual Agents Bot.


Project Operations Copilot, Copilot Studio

Among the managed topics of this custom copilot, there is Log my time as one of them.

The topic itself is rather short, it provides the information on which trigger phrases can be used and only point to an action that is not present as a solution component.


Managed topic, Copilot Project Operations, Time Tracking

So is this a case, was an existing feature just labeled ✨Copilot✨?

Maybe - perhaps. I cannot tell for now.

It's for sure an Automation approach that may or may not be infused with AI to enhance the capabilities, improve the accessibility, or in general improve the user experience.

Which is a good approach in my opinion.


Generate external Comments

But is there more to this preview? Yes! It's possible to generate comments for my time entries as well!



In this case I'm pretty sure we leverage generative AI to create those comments. Please be aware, we are adding here to the External Comments column.

Overall I had the impression it behaves like a summary of Project Task, Duration and Project information.

All comments can be edited before applied - also it's still possible to change them afterwards as long as the Time Entry is in Draft stage.


Summary

Time to conclude the two new copilotish features in Project Operations.


There is, first of all, Log my time. A import and time entry creation functionality which may or may not got infused by AI. Anyways it looks more trustworthy than the regular Resource Assignments import.

The trigger phrases are the following:

  • Log my time

  • Book my time

  • Record my time

  • Enter my time

  • Log time entries

  • Create time entries

  • Import from assignments

  • Record my working hours

  • Track my hours

  • Time logging for this week

  • Add time entry

  • Log hours


Adding external comments to existing time entries is the second feature we got - Generate Comment. The technical approach is the same as for the time entry creation.

Also here certain trigger phrases are required:

  • Generate Comments

  • Add Comments

  • View Comments

  • Create External Description

  • Generate external description

  • Add external description

  • View external description

  • Generate descriptions

  • Add descriptions

  • View descriptions

  • Add Time Entry Details

  • Add work details

  • Fill my descriptions

  • Add time description

  • Add time desc

  • Generate time desc


btw - the phrases are not case sensitive.


The user has to call the trigger phrases specifically for each scenario. There is unfortunately no support to understand the user's context yet.

I hope this will be added in the future, as it would help the integration much more.





How to enable

At the moment both feature extensions are in preview and only available in the North American (NAM) Microsoft Azure regions.


 

Please note: As this is a preview feature it is not meant to be enabled or enrolled in productive environments.

 

When these prerequisites are met, the administrator can enable the feature in the Project Parameter settings. More information can be found on Microsoft Learn documentation


Enable Copilot Time entries

Comments


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