If you’ve skimmed over a tech blog or website in recent months, you’ve probably noticed Microsoft in the spotlight a little more than usual.

It started with the release of Windows 10 back in July. Unlike the lukewarm reaction to Microsoft’s 2012 Windows 8 release, Windows 10 feedback has been largely positive.

UK technology review website TechAdvisor even went so far as to describe Windows 10 as the best Windows operating system yet. It’s easy to see why. There is a range of new features, as well as the return of old favourites like the Windows Start Menu.

But there’s one Windows 10 feature that we’re particularly excited about, and that’s Office 365 integration with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital personal assistant.

Whether you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 or are considering making the change, here’s what you should know about Cortana and Office 365.

 

Voice-activated technology is coming to a workplace near you

We’ve told customers for a while now that voice-activated technologies will soon become standard workplace productivity tools. Windows 10’s Office 365 and Cortana integration is a step in the right direction.

Cortana has been available on Windows Phone since mid-2014, but her value as a personal business assistant was limited by an inability to tap into organisational data.

In Windows 10, Cortana not only comes to desktops and tablets for the first time. She also shows that when integrated with the right platforms, voice-activated technologies can add value in corporate environments as well as personal ones.

And while you might feel silly saying “Hey, Cortana” to your PC right now, Microsoft hopes that doing so will soon feel as natural as making a phone call.

 

How Office 365 and Cortana work together

In Windows 10, Cortana performs many functions that you might expect. She manages your calendar, tracks packages, chats with you, tells jokes and even sings. Many of these features were also part of Cortana for Windows Phone, so none of this is new or innovative.

What is new is that you can ask Cortana to search for documents or business information using natural language query. For example, “Find me photos taken in September” or “Show me which country has the highest sales revenue”.

Whether you’re looking for PowerPoint decks from last month’s fundraising morning tea or a list of projects due in the next two weeks, Cortana can find the answer. Where possible, her responses are based on Office 365 data rather than web searches.

Microsoft says that Cortana and Office 365 join forces to keep employees productive and working effectively. Here’s what it wrote in a recent blog post :

“By integrating with Office 365, Cortana can proactively help you prepare for an upcoming meeting. Cortana brings you helpful information about the people you’re meeting with, recent documents they’ve worked on, and reminders about when and where you need to be next so you won’t be late.”

Microsoft also says Cortana can improve focus. In this Windows video, a Microsoft representative explains that Cortana enables multitasking in a way that won’t distract you from the task at hand.

If you’re in the middle of a sales proposal, for example, and remember that you need to send an email, you can ask Cortana to do it without taking your hands off the keyboard.

 

What’s next for Office 365 and Cortana?

The integration between Office 365 and Cortana is pretty basic right now, but that’s just the start of it. Both technologies will eventually integrate with Microsoft’s enterprise search and discovery application, Delve, providing an even more intuitive and responsive user experience.

 

Contact us to organise a personalised OFFICE 365 Discovery HUB – where you can learn more about organisations like you already using Office 365 and the ROI you could be getting. Call us on 1800 126 499 or fill in the form below.

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