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Office 365 AI Profile Card Demystifies Organisational Charts

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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An extended profile card aims to help users connect to relevant documents and people across the organisation

Microsoft is introducing new features for its Office 365 cloud productivity suite that draw on machine learning to make it easier for users to find information and people relevant to them within their own organisation.

A new, extended profile card is designed to bring to light useful information that may be hidden away behind physical and organisational barriers, the company said.

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The profile card can identify information relevant to the user based on an individual they’re looking up, helping to quickly locate documents regardless of the way in which they were sent.

The feature makes use of the Office 365 Graph, which analyses users’ work relationships, and machine learning techniques.

The profile card also features a new Organisation view that shows a picture of the user’s position within the company, including who they work with and those who report to them.

In addition to such straightforward data, it also uses machine learning to highlight people who are relevant to the user based on their working habits and communications.

Hidden knowledge

The feature can help users connect to people they might not otherwise have interacted with, Microsoft said.

“When you’re able to tap into the hidden knowledge throughout your organisation and leverage your talent pool, you’re able to achieve more,” Microsoft stated.

The company is aiming to make the new information available without disrupting users’ work habits – hovering over a name will provide basic information, while more details are to be displayed in an extended flex pane.

The features will begin rolling out over the next few weeks in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online for Office 365 for customers who have enrolled in the first-release option, with all Office 365 users to get access within the next few months.

Microsoft has made substantial investments into artificial intelligence, and last month said it is working with Cambridge University researchers to develop an AI that can take instructions from developers and turn them into code in a matter of seconds.

The company last September launched its first UK-based data centres to support British users of its cloud services, which include the Ministry of Defence and the NHS.

The MoD said at the time it planned to shift its entire organisation onto Office 365 within one calendar year.

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