Microsoft has announced Cortana Analytics Suite, a mix of services that combine machine learning, big data storage and processing with vision, face and speech analysis for data crunching.
Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, explained on Microsoft's Azure blog that the cloud-powered software suite has been designed to ease the process of getting useful information for big data.
"While data is pervasive, actionable intelligence from data is elusive. Our customers want to transform data into intelligent action and reinvent their business processes," he said.
"To do this they need to more easily analyse massive amounts of data so they can move from seeing 'what happened' and understanding 'why it happened' to predicting 'what will happen' and ultimately, knowing 'what I should do'. Only then can they create the intelligent enterprise.
"The Cortana Analytics Suite brings about this vision by delivering big data and advanced analytics capabilities to help enterprises transform their data into intelligent action."
In effect, the Cortana Analytics Suite sits between data coming from a variety of sources in an enterprise, such as business apps, sensors and devices, and the automated systems and people who are in a position to act on the information gleaned from data analysis.
Microsoft is touting its use in numerous industries to help with data-driven operations such as fraud detection, churn analysis and business recommendations.
Cortana Analytics Suite also features machine learning and analytics courtesy of Azure Machine Learning and Azure HDInsight, which has received Apache Spark capabilities to better crunch big data.
Other features include perceptual intelligence to apply analytics to voice, face, vision and text-based data, and the ability to store big data in Azure cloud services.
Cortana Analytics Suite will be made available in the autumn, and will be offered on a subscription model which allows companies to configure the service to suit their needs, as well as offering pre-configured methods to deploy the suite.
Microsoft appears to be putting into effect its cloud and data based empowerment ethos with Cortana Analytics Suite.
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