Dispelling the mystery around generative AI: 3 practical ways to use it in a SharePoint intranet

Generative AI has exploded during the last 15 months. Two months after its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT, the AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, had clocked up 100 million monthly active users.

For context, it took Instagram two and a half years to get to 100 million. TikTok got there in nine months.

The astonishing rise of ChatGPT has propelled generative AI into the public consciousness. But how can you actually use it at work?

Microsoft has invested heavily in the tech, launching its generative AI tool Copilot for Microsoft 365 for individual licences at the beginning of this year, so there are now several ways you can play around with it.


Formerly Bing Chat and free to use, available to everyone with an Edge browser, you won’t have to ask your IT team to install it.

Simply click on the blue Copilot symbol in the top right-hand corner of your screen to activate it.

Use the ‘chat’ function to ask it questions or press ‘compose’ for help with writing paragraphs, emails, bullet points or news posts.

Once in ‘compose’ ask it for help with tone of voice, format ideas or help defining the length of content. Use the ‘Add to site’ button in the ‘compose’ panel to inject generated text by Copilot into a selected place in an active web page, like you can with the Text web part in a SharePoint news post.

Copilot Pro

Microsoft’s equivalent to the paid version of ChatGPT Plus, you’ll need a personal Microsoft licence, at $20 per user, per month, to access it. You won’t be able to sign into this service with a work account.

Think of it as a personal productivity tool – helping you to analyse data and derive insights in Excel, compose emails in Outlook, create content with or without source materials in PowerPoint, summarise Teams video calls and identify actions etc.

This will NOT connect to data stored in your work tenant.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Aimed specifically for organisations with no minimum seat limit (which means it can be licenced for a handful of people), it will set you back $30 per user, per month.

You can do all of the above with Copilot for Microsoft 365 but its value comes from using information and data from both your Microsoft 365 tenant and the web.

Yet, we strongly recommend you get your data in order and governance in place before activating it.

Generative AI is not a silver bullet.

It will not solve badly structured or chaotic data stores. Worse still, unleashed without governance, it could potentially open you up to data leaks or oversharing of company sensitive information. A good place to start is by using SharePoint Premium.

Private ChatGPT

For more advanced and customised use cases, you can work with a Microsoft partner to create your own secure generative AI tool, such as Private ChatGPT.

Integrate your data into an AI chatbot, use AI to automate processes or create specific complex workflows, improve auditing and analytics or open up AI capabilities to other apps and services, including the Microsoft Power Platform.

Ways to use generative AI in a SharePoint intranet

Whilst this technology is evolving at a rapid pace, there are several easy ways you can use generative AI in your SharePoint intranet today.

So, if you’re an intranet manager, employee comms specialist or are responsible for the digital employee experience, take a look at the following ways generative AI can help.

1. AI-driven Search

Everyone wants a solution to SharePoint search. Whether it’s for improving how people connect or how they find information, this is the number one reason our customers are installing generative AI in their SharePoint tenants today.

Here’s two ways generative AI can improve the search experience in SharePoint:

People Search: Using natural language queries based on skills, projects, location or other attributes, your colleagues will be able to search and find each other much faster.  All they’ll need to do is ask the ‘People Search’, “Who can I talk to about SharePoint?” or “Who works in marketing in London?” and the AI tool will instantly bring up the results, helping to connect the right people so they can start a Teams chat or book a meeting with a coworker directly.

Document Chat: As many as 1.8 hours a day are lost to looking for information. Yet, with generative AI that’s about to change. Your colleagues will be able to access information they need from your intranet quickly and efficiently using natural language queries. By having interactive conversations with curated documents, they can ask questions such as, “What is the latest policy on working from home?” or “How many days holiday am I entitled to?” they’ll be shown relevant results based on content, metadata or context. Referenced documents appear as sources in answers.

2. Bulk update of metadata and description

Managing and updating metadata, tags and categories to organise and classify content is currently an arduous, manual and lengthy process. Yet for content managers, this will soon be a thing of the past.

Using generative AI you’ll be able to update metadata and description for documents and pages based on AI suggestions in your intranet.

This will not only help improve the quality and consistency of your metadata it will enhance the search and navigation experience for the end users too. Win, win.

3. Content creation assistance

As a content author, you can use AI to generate suggestions for your page title, update page descriptions, suggest page keywords and thumbnails, and even translate the content into another language.

For example, you can ask it to “Suggest a title for this blog post” or “Summarise this news post”. This can help you to improve the clarity and impact of your content and saving you time and effort.

How to introduce generative AI in your SharePoint intranet

You can easily introduce generative AI into your SharePoint intranet with FreshMind, an AI assistant for intranet scenarios in Microsoft 365.

Built exclusively for SharePoint intranets, powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI, FreshMind is an enterprise-ready solution that makes generative AI work for you, while keeping your data safe.

The AI-infused application means you get a ready-to-go AI solution right inside your intranet. And because FreshMind is built on the same underlying tech as Microsoft, you get all the data security and privacy that comes with being a Microsoft license holder.

Included in your annual Fresh Intranet subscription fees, FreshMind is easy to adopt and can be infused into the existing features of Fresh or into your native SharePoint intranet.

Built for intranets

FreshMind is an enterprise-ready AI assistant for intranet scenarios in Microsoft 365 that makes generative AI easy to use.

It interacts with scenario-based applications, enabling end users to chat with the content of curated documents or supports specific scenarios during content creation, for example like generating a catchy title for a news post.

The beauty of it is you won’t need to adopt a new intranet to take advantage of FreshMind in your existing SharePoint intranet.


Powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI, FreshMind runs in your Microsoft environment.

Easy to adopt

Designed for rapid adoption, FreshMind addresses real-world scenarios, making AI practical and accessible for every user.

Aligned with Microsoft

We take a complete rather than compete approach. This means FreshMind augments Microsoft 365 and co-exists with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

No extra licenses needed

FreshMind isn’t a new product, rather a collection of AI features in Fresh Intranet.

How to introduce Copilot for Microsoft 365

If you opt to buy the Copilot for Microsoft 365 licence as a way of adding generative AI into your intranet, we suggest you prepare the groundwork first.

Unlike with FreshMind (above) which only works with a list of curated documents, the employee directory information or only assists with the current page where it is active, Copilot for Microsoft 365 opens up previously hidden data, documents or information.

This means, without the proper guardrails in place, it can expose you to data leaks or the possibility of people oversharing sensitive information.

However, with a little forward planning and with the right policies and governance in place Copilot for Microsoft 365 can really enhance employee productivity. Working with your IT team, let’s look at how to prepare for your Microsoft 365 tenant for Copilot.


Before installing any generative AI tool in your environment, ensure your data is well organised with appropriate permissions in place.

We recommend using SharePoint Premium to help you prepare your environment to prevent oversharing data and sensitive information.

Without taking these steps your people may be able to ask Copilot questions such as ‘Who gets the highest salary in my team?’ or ‘Are any redundancies or cost reductions underway?’ Or ‘Which employees were in a disciplinary process within the last two years?’

Centre of excellence

A must-have for any organisation wanting to experiment with generative AI, we recommend creating a centre of excellence where one person or a team centralises all your initiatives.

Establish some principles such as, ‘employees shouldn’t copy and paste words from the generative AI tool, merely use it as a guide’.

Help lines of business/departments to build a business case for adopting Copilot licenses by establishing the ROI such as: cost vs time savings, quality improvements, better/deeper insights.

Become a conduit for sharing best practice – show and tell examples of where generative AI is working.

User adoption tips

Your end users are likely to feel intimidated by this tech. So, start small and create some pilot experiments.

Do side-by-side comparisons of equivalent work, for example content written by a person vs content written by Copilot.

Identify the top 10-20% tech enthusiasts in your business. Train them up and then empower them to ‘champion’ generative AI within their lines of business.

Enlist one member of your senior leadership team to be a generative AI advocate – and others will soon follow.

Train end users on ‘prompt engineering‘ – people will get the best out of these systems if they understand how to give it the right ‘prompts’.


For more handy tips and tricks of how you can use generative AI in your SharePoint intranet download our eBook.

Or want to see FreshMind for yourself? Book a demo  and one of our friendly team will be happy to show you today!