Microsoft's Project Cortex service is reportedly available to some Office 365 customers, greatly enhancing the suite's AI offerings. Cortex delivers “insights and expertise” to user's apps in an organized way, able to act as a search engine but also a wiki and dynamically forms cards.
To do so, it uses AI to analyze content across an enterprise and its various teams. This lets it determine the type of content, extract relevant information, and link projects, processes, and customers without user input.
As you'd expect, it builds on Microsoft Graph to do this, as well as SharePoint's content sharing and services like AI image and text recognition. The sheer volume of the company's enterprise services lets it naturally deliver a wealth of information. It's in this regard Microsoft can continue to differentiate itself from Slack and Google.
Bringing the Suite Together
Cortex will be particularly useful in Microsoft Teams, a workplace chat app that saw a recent surge in popularity against Slack. Employees discussing a topic in the app may see a link. Hovering presents a short description, relevant people, training resources, and related topics. Similar cards will appear in every Office application, from Word to PowerPoint and SharePoint.
In essence, the automated web will hold all of the suite together, letting users focus more on productivity rather than organization and manual discovery. As well as surfacing in apps, employees can access their ‘Knowledge center' at any time, which will give a personalized view of relevant knowledge across an organization.
The popularity of Cortex will very much depend on how accurately its systems proactively detect relevant content. However, should it work well, it will prove a significant innovation. With increased competition, analysts believe such steps forward will help Microsoft 365 remain the dominant productivity solution.