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“Hey Cortana, what were our biggest deals that closed last month?”

Windows 10 will be rolling out later this week and with it comes the delightful Cortana. For those of you not familiar with Cortana, “she” is Microsoft’s Personal Digital Assistant. Most of us have in one way or another become familiar with these virtual assistants in recent times as we’ve all tested out the ability of our savvy new mobiles with a “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google” or “Hey Cortana”, with mixed results I might say.

Now with Windows 10, Cortana is coming to your desktop and going into the pros and cons of having your own Personal Assistant is a discussion on its own and that will not be the focus of my post today. I’m going to talk about how Cortana can assist us in the Big Data space. Introducing Microsoft’s Cortana Analytics Suite.Earlier this month at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando, Microsoft announced the new Cortana Analytics Suite.

We know that data can be a massive differentiator for any business. The key to unlocking this advantage lies in the insights we are able to gain from our data and what action we take. The new Cortana Analytics Suite (let’s just call it CAS from now on) will help enterprises accomplish this by delivering on the promise of big data and advanced analytics.

Cortana for Everyone

“With Cortana Analytics, Microsoft is once again taking many years of research and product innovation – not just in machine learning, but also in areas such as big data storage and processing in the cloud, new capabilities such as vision, face and speech recognition, and more – to help customers make better, faster decisions that are data-driven” - Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella

CAS will bring together Microsoft’s cloud-based capabilities like Machine learning and analytics (Azure HDInsight, Azure Stream Analytics and Azure Machine Learning) with Power BI and Perceptual Intelligence like face, vision and speech analytics, etc.

What makes up the Cortana Analytics Suite?

Information Management 

Manage all your on-premise and cloud data – Connect, prepare, orchestrate and monitor information at scale with data from websites, apps, data stores and devices.

Big Data Stores

Scale to petabytes on demand – Centralised repository of structured and unstructured data with elastic scale for enterprise-wide analytics

Machine Learning & Analytics

Predict outcomes and prescribe decisions – Powerful machine learning and Hadoop based analytics for driving action in real time.

Dashboards & Visualisations

Bring your data to life – Transform data into rich visuals for you to organise and share so you can focus on what matters to you

Preconfigured Solutions

Pre-built solutions and APIs for natural interaction – Get started quickly with solutions for your industry and engage your customers through natural interactions.

Cortana Analytics Suite

What can CAS do for your business?

  • Enable predictive and preventive maintenance by connecting and monitoring your capital assets to eliminate downtime
  • Attract new customers and keep them coming back by offering personalised service across hundreds of thousands of customers and locations.
  • Increase customer satisfaction and scale online – Connect more effectively to your data and your customer.

CAS will be available later this year as an integrated offering with a monthly subscription in line with Microsoft’s cloud based model. The offering will be customisable to fit specific needs of organisations and will also provide preconfigured solutions to speed up and streamline deployment of common industry specific scenarios such as fraud detection, churn analysis and recommendations.

That’s it, Cortana Analysis Suite in a nutshell. Now I need a coffee. “Cortana, can you get me a latté, no sugar please” … no? Ok, maybe she’s not ready for that yet, but with the massive strides being made in machine learning at the moment, I bet that when she is ready I probably won’t even need to ask for a coffee.

For more information and to stay up to date on the Cortana Analytics Suite, please visit www.microsoft.com/cortanaanalytics 

Posted by: Jaco Van der Watt, Senior Data Specialist  | 29 July 2015


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