It is physically impossible to manually manage the sheer volume of data being created by the average enterprise on a daily basis. And now that Big Data is a mainstream concept, CTOs are struggling on two fronts – to store vast datasets, and to make sense of the information they are collecting.
The issue of expanding capacity can be managed using Cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, and SaaS systems that offer unlimited storage capacity. Data analysis, insights and management can be automated to some degree using Artificial Intelligence (AI); for Microsoft ecosystems this is provided through Cognitive Services, a suite of AI-driven tools that make sense of data and provide advanced processing capabilities.
Front-line data intelligence
All too often, data intelligence is considered in relation to strategic decision making, using analytics to “see” the big picture. Although incredibly useful, this approach does not unlock the full value of analytics.
Similarly, digital assistants like Alexa, Google Now, Siri and Cortana are regarded as something of a gimmick for consumers. But with Cortana integration for Dynamics 365, Microsoft has created a genuinely useful business tool.
Cortana on Dynamics 365 is much more than just a voice-driven interface however. Cortana Intelligence helps to analyse historical data to better focus future sales campaigns, stock management and the way you respond to customers. Nothing ground-breaking until you consider the fact that Cortana can do all these things without your intervention. It can even place replenishment requests with your suppliers directly so you don’t have to.
Improving AI accuracy
The importance of accurate data has always been understood. But as we move to an automated future, the quality of algorithms used by your AI is equally important.
Microsoft has designed Cortana Intelligence to use several machine learning algorithms simultaneously. The results from these algorithms are then compared to only return the predictions with the highest quality. Which means that strategic decisions made using those predictions will be more accurate.
Taking BI to the next level
Much of the new Cortana Intelligence functionality is targeted towards financial matters, helping users better plan their cashflow for instance. Similarly, seasonal peaks in demand will be identified – and planned for – automatically, helping to maintain stock levels at the lowest cost possible without compromising your ability to fulfil customer orders.
Where Power BI allowed users to create their own embedded reports and dashboards, Cortana Intelligence adds a whole new layer of functionality. C-suite decision makers will be able to access auto-generated predictions, helping them to better predict cashflow, procurement and product-level planning.
When used in tandem, Cortana Intelligence and Power BI help to solve one of the biggest challenges your business faces in the Big Data age – analytics. Where other organisations may struggle to hire the data scientists and analysts they need to make sense of their information, Microsoft’s AI/machine learning toolkits can help anyone begin to unlock the valuable insights buried in your NAV data.