Microsoft's Cortana Expands Into Enterprise Business Analytics
After serving as a virtual assistant on Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 10 OS, Cortana is gearing up to provide enterprises with big data-derived business insights.During the Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Fla., today, Microsoft announced Cortana Analytics Suite, a set of Azure-backed services for businesses seeking to drive smarter decision-making by capitalizing on their big data. As an accessible and user-friendly technology, Cortana is the perfect embodiment of Microsoft's goal of placing advanced, contextually aware data analytics and machine learning technologies and tools in the hands of developers and, ultimately, everyday users, according to Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning. "Until now, analytics and machine learning [were the province] of extremely sophisticated data scientists and Ph.D.s," Sirosh told eWEEK. Cortana is the "personification of intelligence and the proactivity of it," he added. Cortana Analytics Suite is a fully managed set of cloud services that tie together information management, machine learning, and big data storage and processing, along with vision, face and speech analysis. As its name implies, it also integrates Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant for Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 10 OS. Visualizations and analytics dashboards are provided by the company's Power BI product.
The result is a platform for organizations to build predictive and prescriptive capabilities into their work processes. Despite being based on several pre-existing cloud solutions from Microsoft, Cortana Analytics Suite is not simply a new bundled subscription offering, stressed Sirosh.