It was in September last year that Microsoft announced Cortana Analytics, a fully managed big data and advanced analytics suite, which can help businesses transform data into intelligent action. At a basic level, Cortana Analytics is a cloud-based ecosystem hosted in Microsoft Azure for building and deploying elastic, scalable modern data warehousing and advanced analytics solutions.

Microsoft has fused a number of its new data processing technologies into a single package designed to help organizations get more value from their growing piles of data.
 
Here are the three things that we find most exciting about Cortana Analytics
 
Democratization of data analytics:
What is most remarkable about Cortana Analytics is its potential to democratize big data. Since minimal expertise is needed to deploy it, it significantly broadens the scope of where it can be used. Cortana Analytics pulls in Microsoft’s analysis technologies such as Power BI for organizing data into visually understandable formats, and Microsoft ML (Machine Learning) for predicting future events based on current data sets. It also provides a voice interface to access all these capabilities through the company’s Cortana voice-driven personal digital assistant software.
 
Cloud Integration capabilities:
With Cortana Analytics, the entire data workflow — right from data capture, to data storage, to analytical processing and transformation, to modeling, to real-world deployment — is covered by a set of cloud-based services that can be integrated to collect data and turn it into actionable intelligence, enabling human or automated action. It has the ability to pull together structured data of databases, unstructured data found in log files as well as live data streams from Internet of Things devices to deliver truly comprehensive insights.
 
Perceptual intelligence:
Cortana Analytics allows for interaction with customers and stakeholders in new ways that were unimaginable even a couple of years ago.  It can actually help infer intent by measuring parameters such as vision, face, speech, text and sentiment analysis to customize responses and drive appropriate actions.
 
For example, a business could use the software to detect customer churn, by identifying customers who are showing signs of potentially moving to a competitor’s offering.
 
Last month, Cortana Analytics got another shot in the arm as Microsoft announced its decision to acquire Metanautix, big data start-up that specializes in integrating data sets throughout the supply chain.  Metanautix’ technology helps enterprises bring together various sources and siloes of data to “connect the ‘data supply chain’” as Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s Data Group puts it.
 
Definitely an exciting time ahead for analytics!