Project Cortex: Microsoft Ignite Announcement

5 November 2019 | Faye Waghorn

Over in Florida, at their annual Ignite conference, Microsoft have announced the “first major new application on Microsoft 365 since Teams” in the form of Project Cortex. Project Cortex is firmly aimed at the knowledge and content management market and at the same time positions SharePoint as *the* platform for content services shifting it’s legacy focus from “online file share”.

Cortex introduces new capabilities to breathe new life into organisational data using AI to analyse, auto-tag, discover relationships between content and people and provides a great reason to finally migrate from those old SharePoint on-premises systems.

Rather than being presented as another app this new set of tools and services are built into the fabric of existing applications such as SharePoint, Teams, email and office applications like Word and Excel. Project Cortex applies AI to reason over your organisation’s structured and unstructured content, recognising content types, extracting important information, and automatically organising it into topics.

Topics are introduced as a new concept and organisations will use these to represent a project or policy or other types of content items which have associated sites, content and people. A card based interface is shown when hovering over a topic name (think a project name or acronym) and helps connect viewers to deeper meaning and insight behind the topic.

Cortex also introduces the knowledge center which is an AI created set of wiki pages about the topics. Each page can be edited manually and further curated. Neat visualisations of the topics are provided in the knowledge center.

For organisations running their intranet inside Office 365 (using applications like our very own Fresh) these services will be naturally embedded allowing intranet owners and managers to increase the value of their intranet content by sitting it alongside and automatically embedding business critical knowledge.

The range of new sites, pages, and web parts coupled with enhancements to other services such as search and updates to the UI of managed meta-data continues to reinforce Microsoft betting big on AI.

When Project Cortex is enabled you will have access to a content center which allows you to run reports to see how content is being used across your organisation.

With Cortex being built into Microsoft 365 you can expect it to have the same level of security and compliance as any other Microsoft offering.

To summarise the key points, Project Cortex will use AI to:
• Use the applications you use every day to provide employees with knowledge and expertise
• Securely manage and protect your content
• Organise knowledge into categories based on type, with topics making it easier to find people and relevant knowledge across your organisation.

Project Cortex is expected to be available in the first half of 2020 and will be another major step forwards in making Office 365 the destination for your organisations digital workspace.

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