Project Cortex Changes Everything and Why You Should Care…

Project Cortex

Microsoft just announced Project Cortex this week at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando.  While there were literally hundreds of announcement… The biggest announcements you may not have even noticed was Project Cortex. What is it and why should you care?  Project Cortex will create and update new topic pages and knowledge centers that are meant to act like wikis. Topic cards will be available to users in Outlook, Teams and Office. Cortex builds on top of Microsoft Cognitive services for image and text recognition, forms processing and machine teaching with LUIS, language understanding.

At the heart of Project Cortex is a much improved and largely AI driven managed metadata service which enables tagging and more across much of Microsoft 365. Cortex will leverage the Microsoft Search service in connecting to third-party repositories through connectors which already are available for Windows File Share, ServiceNow, SQL Database, Intranet Websites, MediaWiki, Azure Data Lake Gen2, Salesforce and is extensible.

Those paying attention to Microsoft technologies about 15 years ago may remember a pilot of a tool called Knowledge Network.  This tool would analyze your email for keywords and people with a plan to help you organize your content around a network.  It was clever, and it gave you insights about who you were working with and could make recommendations, but ultimately the project was abandoned likely due to process intense desktop app with an already process heavy outlook app.  While it was improving search and retrieval in Outlook and may have provided insights, Microsoft no longer supported the app in favor of other backend improvements and efforts, they pursued  enterprise metadata stores which had promise, but many would say have yet to deliver on the promise of rich enterprise metadata taxonomies for a  dozen reasons.  For the last dozen years, the pressure has been on building content types, and asking users to populate metadata columns, keywords, and tags and this has largely gone unused in most organizations.

The main difference between managed metadata and this new knowledge network provided by Project Cortex is the promise of a AI driven backed by crowd sourced folksonomy, largely driven not by a small group of people, but through the content creators.  Artificial Intelligence does the heavy lifting and is then validated by those creating the content or tasked to manage the approvals.  This UI and experience hasn’t been shared yet beyond the demos and in the expo hall at Microsoft Ignite and is only available to those in the currently very limited private preview.  The program is expanding with more coming in 2020.

The promise now is the ability to have a large corpus of knowledge that is captured and built upon in a true enterprise wiki not much unlike Wikipedia, but largely driven based on the content created by the organization and categorized, extracted, cataloged and automatically connected to the enterprise corpus through highlighted topics.  Imagine all of the automatic and intelligence that is driven not by the arduous effort of end users through manual keywords, columns, and metadata tagging, but through automatic extraction, machine teaching, machine learning, and the best of Microsoft Research built on the back of Office 365 which is populated not just by SharePoint alone but Outlook, Teams, Planner, Stream, Project, Tasks and so on.  It doesn’t end there.  The promise is just as your data in external SAAS storage such as Box and Dropbox can also be cataloged, extracted, enriched and linked by this same enterprise wiki of topic cards retrieved by enterprise search, and exposed in the documents themselves, in interactions across Microsoft’s productivity suite in Office, Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, Teams and so on.

Imagine you’re adding scanning your invoices and storing them in SharePoint.  Prior to Project Cortex, this largely would have provided you with some PDFs stored in a SharePoint library and thanks to the efforts of the cloud, you would already have a much better experience than in the past due to indexing of the PDFs even if they only images, but also extraction of keywords.  Project Cortex with Machine teaching could extract customer names, addresses, invoice numbers, amounts, validation of the scans and this content not only would populate in relevant columns, but also know what a customer is, and highlight in the document where when you click on it could take you to an information card which then when clicked take you to a rich page with relationships spidering out to show locations, offices, people, industries, topics and so on based on both validated and extracted relationships in the data.  The possibilities are exciting as today you often don’t know what you have.  You definitely don’t know what questions to ask of your data, but imagine and AI that wants to make sense of both your structured and unstructured data and to build relationships around it.  There is industry knowledge and taxonomies that could have vastly important impact on this.

Why do these knowledge networks, taxonomies, and structured managed metadata and tagging projects always fail?  Time, effort, consensus, enterprise skills, budgets, staying power and abilities to sustain such a vast project…  Dozens of reasons that come down to the need for someone that has the backing and skillset to sustain such a vastly important and critical project.  It also relies on the individuals to fill in the metadata and even if you had already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars today to use cloud extraction programs your ability to do it cross platform would be limited.  Project Cortex has such an incredible handle on the key elements to not only automate, but to support it long term as users see the immense value immediately.  The difference is in the power of the cloud, power of artificial intelligence and the fact that Microsoft 365 is so well connected now than ever before.  This can be successful and it will change the way we look at our content. You’re not just uploading a document that sits in a library.  Your adding to an enterprise corpus.  Remember that insightful quote from the CIO of HP?  “Imagine if HP only knew what HP knows it could be twice as successful.”  I truly see Project Cortex in that light.  Microsoft with cloud and AI improvements delivered in Project Cortex hopes to deliver on the promise of helping unlock organizational knowledge in just that way.  What could John Hopkins know if it knew what it knows.  What would that do for medicine.  What could Kroger do with access to it’s knowledge.  On the surface this means quicker ramp up for employees who don’t know the projects, products, customers and services, but it also allows long time employees to more easily provide knowledge, insights, and incrementally help connect things by validating what the AI is seeing as relationships in the data, content, and business data.  Unlocking the enterprise knowledge to a level of helping and providing insights at a level of expansiveness never thought possible.  This is big and yes it changes everything. Let’s talk.  I’m anxious to get started and I want to work with you.

Looking for more information from Microsoft on Project Cortex or where to sign up for the preview?

http://aka.ms/projectcortex

-Joel Oleson

Post Microsoft Ignite MVP Panel

Microsoft MVP Panel: What You Missed from Microsoft Ignite 2019

November 12 from 1 – 2 PM EST

>>Register  for the Panel

Microsoft Ignite Conference 2019 is currently being held at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida from November 4th – 8th. Microsoft Ignite is Microsoft’s biggest conference of the year with over 30,000 attendees.  It was filled with announcements from the product teams including new releases and updates.  It also shares an​ opportunity to learn innovative ways to build solutions as well as migrate and manage your infrastructure to the cloud​.

ignite mvp panel.PNG

Some of the Microsoft MVP’s who participated in the conference​ will be hosting a post Ignite live MVP panel session to go over key announcements, new releases from Microsoft, and many other important highlights that were announced/discussed during Ignite .

Microsoft MVP Panelists

MVP Panelists
For a sneak preview of what to expect from the webinar, catch the discussion between Peter Carson and Christian Buckley around key highlights and announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2019
Highlights from Microsoft Ignite 2019

Join us for this webinar and get caught up on the latest from Microsoft on Office 365, Sharepoint, external sharing and much more!

 

Sponsored by Extranet User Manager

Teams & SharePoint Just Married including “Full Drama Script and Recording” #MSIgnite #BetterTogether

With Bagpipe music and to much fanfare with hundreds of guests including witnesses from both product teams Teams and SharePoint were officially (unofficially) married. The better together story included united SharePoint and Baby OneDrive with Teams with acceptable connections with Flow, PowerApps. The InfoPath Zombie made an appearance and even bit Skype who realized he was next! We sent off the Infopath zombie with an a capella rendition of InfoPath the Pipes the Pipes are calling set to the traditional Danny Boy song.

Just Married!

Current best version of the live stream. Better versions coming:

We tried to do a full live stream which was captured by hundreds of devices, but was quite challenging to get the audio just right. So far the stream on my facebook live might be the best since the audio on our Teams broadcast didn’t work out so well. Maarten Visser is working on posting a quality stream from his cannon.

Here’s the full script. Thanks to those who participated and made this a reality. Thanks to the over 400 people who showed up and raised for a pint at #SharePint for the community and SharePoint and Teams.

Wedding Selfie with Bagpiper Pat

The SharePoint & Teams Wedding

The SharePoint & Teams Wedding Script written by Joel Oleson, Stacy Draper, and Joy Apple with inputs from various community friends.

Wedding party to gather Nov 3, 7:00pm at Millers Ale House (International Blvd) Wedding begins at 7:30pm sharp.  [Delayed by Seahawks overtime]

Preacher – Stacy Deere Strole InfoPath – Nick Bratotoli
Teams – Joel Oleson OneDrive – Alivia Love
SharePoint – Joy T Apple Whiteboard – Jonathan Weaver
Flow – Jon Levesque Maarten Visser – Community Reporter (and Stream)
PowerApps – April Dunham Skype –
Exchange – Ryan Love OneNote – Sharon Weaver
Sway – Shari Oswald John White – PowerBI
Other Products as Viewed

Bagpiper Pat – Plays traditional song for full wedding party then switches to “Here comes the bride”

Preacher – Walks up and take her place

Teams Entourage Walks out

OneDrive Flower Girl – Throws Stickers

SharePoint (the bride) Entourage

The bride then marches in a beautiful dress with veil holding flowers and/or stickers is followed by various Office 365 products…

The couple comes together on either side of the preacher facing each other.

PREACHER: Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Products and Servers, Software and Services, SAAS, and PASS.  We are gathered here today at 7:30pm Eastern Standard time, to UNITE at #MSIgnite (say hastag) #SPTeamsWedding , broadcasting wide all across the world using Microsoft Teams Live Events. these two wonderful software products. #BetterTogether Would you now please take each other’s API’s…

Preacher: Wraps beads to unite the two API’s together.

FLOW & Skype: Start Crying & Moaning

Flow talking to Skype: I can’t believe this! WTF!  I’M SORRY I HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING. (In a loud voice)

Flow to Everyone:  I thought we had something!  Seriously HOW MANY TIMES have we hooked up?  What the Hell!  Marriage???!!  I’m happy for you, but I’m worried things will change with this wedding.

SharePoint: Flow, Flow, Flow, calm down…  Please let me tell you we have had a lot of good times and your still in my inner loop.  But you’re in the FRIEND ZONE.  The connections we have are meaningful and I hope we can stay good friends.  You mean a lot to me.  Besides these are modern times we still have a lot of connections to make and actions to trigger.

TEAMS: FLOW, you’re my buddy.  Nothing will change.  Let’s stay connected.

Skype to Teams:  I know we broke up on Valentine’s Day that was 8 months ago!! People love me, they love you, but nobody can resist my voice. (Sing…)

Teams:  Skype you’ve had your time, its’ my time I’ve come along a way defeating Slack and all the haters.  Just remember the good times (interrupted by Zombie sounds).

Infopath in full Zombie: (Moaning and dragging his foot. Walks around the bar staring at people and saying… I know you love me.  Don’t let me go.)  BRAINS!  I’m NOT DEAD YET!  (As InfoPath approaches the wedding party, he approaches Skype and bites his arm. (Wound is pre-prepared that becomes exposed as Infopath bites). 

Skype: Yells and screams AHHHH exposing his wound.  I’m NEXT!  I knew it!  How much time do I have? 2021!?  Don’t Stop Loving me!  Why doesn’t someone do something about the InfoPath Zombie!  WHY IS HE STILL HERE!!

PowerApps: I know what needs to be done… Anyone seen Zombieland ya’ll!??

[Puts her hand in her pocket like she’s getting a gun, pulls out finger in the shape of a gun, and puts it up to the head of InfoPath and says]

BOOM!  Yells, FLOW Help me Out here.   

FLOW: Yep.  This one NEEDS a Double Tap. [PullsFinger Gun.]  Boom!  The two of them drag InfoPath Zombie out of the wedding.

Teams: I love it Flow and PowerApps you are the best.  We need to hang out more!

SharePoint: My hero! Flow and PowerApps you are welcome over anytime!

Bagpiper:  Teams & SharePoint Sing Danny Boy 1st verse & bagpiper plays 2nd verse

Preacher says: Join me in bowing your heads for a moment of silence for our good friend who we have shared good times and bad.  However, InfoPath we hope you stay dead so we can focus on letting Skype pass more peacefully and Flow & PowerApps can have their moment.  Let us begin… (Moment of Silence). Now back to the reason we are all here to unite Teams & SharePoint.  If there is any reason for these products NOT to be united Today NOW is the time to speak up or forever hold your peace.

Yammer:  SharePoint, you and I were made for each other!  You and I were meant to be together.

SharePoint: You had your chance.  You’re Outer Loop.  Get Outer Here!  It’s TEAMS I love and want to be with. Teams knows how to treat me and make me feel special.

Preacher: ANYONE ELSE?  (Play into the crowd)

Ok.  I see no reason NOT to Unite these SASS-Y products together.  Teams do you Take SharePoint to be your Storage, your Lists, your Files —- Exchange Interrupts! 

Exchange: STOP!!!  (Holds up OneDrive baby) What about OneDrive?

Teams looking at SharePoint:  Is this your child?  Why didn’t you tell me? 

SharePoint: I didn’t think it mattered. 

Teams: Ok.  It doesn’t matter. OneDrive is a beautiful baby we can all be one big happy family.

Preacher (continues with the Vows) Where did I leave off?  Files.  That’s right.  Do you take SharePoint and baby OneDrive for your files…? In bad times… low latency, Bugs, list scalability issues, and in outages?

Teams:  I DO!

Preacher:  And SharePoint, do you take Teams to be your Partner and Front End, as a hub and an Application Platform so long as both of you shall live until EOL (END OF LIFE) through licensing issues, and Health Checks.

SharePoint: I DO!

Preacher: BY the POWER of the Underwater Microsoft Datacenter.  I Announce you Teams and SharePoint.  Better Together… Forever or at least until End of Life and Zombie Life.

You may now officially be Better Together Forever if you both shall live.  (Crowd Cheers)

The Bag Pipes Blast a fun lively song. 

Teams and SharePoint dance the first dance, and the rest of the products follow… Scottish dancing, swinging, or whatever made up dancing happens in a circle.  Products may hold hands with kicking (improvise).

 Preacher:  Everyone raise a glass to SharePoint & Teams 

Preacher Toast:  Asks everyone to raise a glass and toasts SharePoint and Teams…  [community share their thoughts.]

SharePoint and Teams thank everyone for coming. Wedding cake is shared with everyone.

–End of Program–

FAQ:

Why Masks?

It isn’t about the people in the masks. This is about the products and their relationships.

Why isn’t the product group doing this?

They think they already are married. This is an opportunity for the community to help cement that in their minds. The announcements around list integration and UI SharePoint Framework and API work is only getting better. These products absolutely need to be thought of together in all architecture, application, and design sessions. The invite on the part of SharePoint to invite Teams to join them at #SPC really is significant. Joining forces… Personally any see SharePoint person who isn’t ramping up super quick on Teams is going to be left behind. This is a serious wake up call for anyone working on SharePoint. This is not about UC. This is about Collaboration and Application and Platform development for Office 365. It’s BIG! Wake up! Learn Teams!! #BetterTogether

I don’t get it. Why have a wedding for products?

It’s about the community. It’s an important time in history for SharePoint and Teams. This is an opportunity to explore the relationship between Teams, SharePoint, Flow, PowerApps, Skype, and more. Personifying the products in this way provides a narrative for the interactivity of a…

Teams – at the heart of big families of products that is the center of attention with strong relationships with all of the products especially SharePoint, Flow, PowerApps, OneDrive, Whiteboard, Stream, Planner, Project and so on…

SharePoint – a product that has been the darling of Office 365 for a long time, and will be taking a slightly different role, but not going away. It’s playing the role of storage for lists, libraries, and content management.

InfoPath zombie – a product that just won’t die

Skype for Biz who gets bit – a product that sees the end of life coming

Yammer – a product that’s had it’s moment with SharePoint and will again rise with Teams

OneDrive – a darling baby of a product that has a special relationship to SharePoint and Teams

Did one person do all this?

No we had a dozen different roles and people working behind the scenes to make this work. This was a true community effort!

Wedding Cake & Sponsors: ASPE & Crush Networks #SharePint drink sponsors, Joel 365 for Bagpiper, script writing, directing & Focal Point Solutions for Cake, Stickers, and Wedding Planning Organizers. Special thanks to Suzzie for help on decorations!

SharePoint and Teams are Getting Married at Ignite!

You may have heard about the InfoPath Funeral, but weddings are so much more fun! You may have heard that SharePoint has officially invited Teams to SharePoint Conference. It’s true. SharePoint and Teams are better together in more ways than one.

SharePoint and Teams Better Together
SharePoint and Teams getting hitched!

The relationship between Teams and SharePoint is an important one to the future of Office 365 and to the future of developers. I’ve heard people say things like… “Should we use SharePoint or Teams?” There are soooo many things wrong with that question. Others may say, we are going to use “Teams, we aren’t going to use SharePoint.” That’s even worse! SharePoint and Teams are made for each other. SharePoint may take a more behind the scenes role, but it isn’t any less important. Teams is the rising star of the show, and it should take a more major role this next year as Microsoft encourages people to move off Skype, but it is so much more than Teams. It’s innovation is in building presence and creating the one place. I could go on and on, and I want to make sure you understood why it’s important for the community to celebrate the union of Teams and SharePoint more officially. This isn’t some temporary thing where Teams goes it’s own path.

To celebrate this engagement the SharePoint & Teams Community would like to invite you to celebrate their union at a wedding.

Where: Miller’s Ale House, (International Drive)
8963 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

When: This will be during the #SharePint which is from 6:00pm-9:30pm. The wedding will begin at 7:30pm

Why: Because we want to. No, this is NOT endorsed or sponsored by Microsoft or Perficient. This is a community event hosted by @spcpartypatrol, Joel365, and Sponsored by ASPE and Crush Networks is covering the drinks, you can thank them. We will likely have other sponsors at the event, and it’s a good reason to have fun!

How: Register to get into the party. We need counts for drinks tickets and stickers.

>>Register for the SharePint at Ignite

>> Register for the Wedding at Ignite

>> Register to watch the Wedding LIVE online broadcast

Not making it to Ignite? No problem. We will be sending out a link to anyone who registers to watch the live broadcast!

Microsoft Teams Summit in Irvine California

Microsoft Teams & Adoption Change Management Summit (Irvine, CA)

FRIDAY, 10/23/2019

8:30am Arrival, Registration & Light Breakfast
9:00am Welcome and Kickoff: Microsoft & Perficient
9:30am Microsoft Teams: 7 Key Concepts to Success Joel Oleson, MVP&RD, Director, Perficient Ron Jones, Director Modern Productivity, Perficient
11:00am Microsoft’s Journey to Teams 200,000 Users Emily Kirby, Microsoft Richelle Blanchard, Microsoft
12:00am Catered Lunch
1:00pm Microsoft Teams: Adoption Change Management David Chapman, General Manager, Perficient
2:00pm Measuring Success: PowerBI and TyGraph Ed Senez, CEO, TyGraph, Perficient
2:30pm Microsoft Teams: Governance, Security and Compliance Matt Soseman, Cybersecurity Architect, Microsoft
3:30pm Wrap up. Raffle & Parking Validations
4:00pm SharePint Happy Hour – Irvine Hotel (next door)

This is the first of many Microsoft Teams Summit events by Perficient & Microsoft. Chicago and Atlanta to be announced soon. Join us October 23 at Microsoft, Irvine. Seating is limited.

>>Register Now.

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