Earlier this week at Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft announced the first new service in Microsoft 365 since they released Microsoft Teams in 2017. Project Cortex is a solution that will allow business users to gain valuable insights with their data, in ways they previously couldn’t.

Over the years Microsoft has created a number of different ways for businesses to access data. But one of the biggest challenges companies face is figuring out how to make sense of all that data, Doug Hemminger, director of Microsoft Services and SPR, explained to SD Times. 

The solution leverages AI to make sense of content shared across teams and system. It can recognize content types, extract important information, and automatically organize content into shared topics. 

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End users can then access that information from the knowledge center. Included in the knowledge center are topic cards, people cards, and topic pages. 

Topic cards show a description, experts, resources, and other information about a certain topic. Users will be able to hover over a word associated with a topic to see the topic card. These cards will appear automatically in Outlook, Word, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams. They also appear in Microsoft Search results. 

People cards in Microsoft 365 show an employee’s information, such as their photo, contact info, and organizational info. Now people cards will display the topics that person works on. People will be automatically prompted to add topics to their card based on what they’re working on. These people cards will help employees identify who is working on what within the organization, Microsoft explained. 

Both topic cards and people cards can be explored more in depth in topic pages. Project Cortex automatically builds these pages based on an organization’s content, but they will be more detailed and robust as people add to them as well. Users can easily edit existing topics or create new ones. 

By using AI, Project Cortex is able to do most of the heavy lifting. “All you have to do is start working on your document and it’ll surface the appropriate tools,” Hemminger told SD Times. 

In addition, Project Cortex can be connected to third-party repositories and services like Windows File Share, ServiceNow, SQL databases, Intranet websites, MediaWiki, Azure Data Lake Gen2, and Salesforce. Microsoft is currently working on adding more connectors.