Microsoft Corp.’s Cortana is officially coming to the enterprise with the launch of a new suite that leverages the artificial intelligence as a natural-language interface for accessing insights generated using its cloud-based data processing services. It’s an arrangement that could potentially prove tremendously attractive for organizations hoping to step up their analytics efforts.
That appeal is due in small part to the fact that Redmond claims many of its enterprise customers have already been combining its key services to extract and share insights from theirdata. Cortana Analytics Suite, as the new bundle is called, provides the convenience of unifying those individual components under a single monthly subscription fee.
That’s a big deal in the kind of large organizations that Microsoft is catering to, where simply keeping track of which department is using what specific combination of services and at what cost can require a dedicated team. But that’s only one of the ways that the company hopes to set the suite apart. The more notable part of the pitch is the inclusion of pre-built analytic features.
The functionality addresses the use cases that Microsoft expects will emerge as the most popular among users of Cortana Analytics Suite, most notably product recommendation, automated fraud detecting and isolating various customer metrics such as abandonment rate. Customers with more advanced needs than what those pre-packaged capabilities can address are able to build their own analytics functionality using the cloud-based machine learning services that round out the bundle.
The list includes the recently added Azure Data Catalog for indexing information sources, a selection of storage and data processing options including Microsoft’s hosted implementation of Hadoop as well as management functions for handling the flow of metrics among the different services. Organizations will be able to propagate the results that come out at the other end directly to their users through the various incarnations of Cortana, including the native Windows Phone edition as well the forthcoming Windows 10, iOS and Android ports.