Microsoft bundles analytics services and adds a Cortana front-end

Microsoft is bringing together a number of its Azure business-intelligence and machine-learning services, along with Cortana into a single suite. Preview is coming this fall.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft plans to introduce later this fall a new subscription service called Cortana Analytics Suite that will bundle together a number of its standalone cloud services with a Cortana front-end.

All of the pieces of the coming suite are either generally available or in preview at the moment. Elements of the coming suite include Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, Azure HDInsight (Hadoop on Azure), Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake, Azure SQL Data Warehouse Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Catalog, Azure Event Hubs, and the face, vision, speech and text analytics pieces of Project Oxford are all part of the Cortana Analytics Suite.

On top of the suite, Microsoft is offering some preconfigured analytics scenarios that build on the underlying components, including recommendations, forecasting, fraud detection, preventive maintenance and churn. Developers and customers will be able to interface with the analytics suite via Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant, enabling them to use voice or to type queries in natural-language form to transform and access data.

Microsoft will continue making all the piece-parts of the coming Cortana Analytics Suite available as standalone services for users who don't want/need the full, bundled suite.

Enterprise developers are the primary target audience for the Cortana Analytics Suite, according to Microsoft officials. The developers will make the integrated experiences enabled by the suite available to users.

Pricing and licensing information will be available at some point in the future, but not today, officials said.

Microsoft took the wraps off the Cortana Analytics Suite on Day 1 of its Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando on July 13.

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