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Office Graph is intended to connect users working on relevant projects, using machine learning algorythms and ingesting vast quantities of data

Office Graph is intended to connect users working on relevant projects, using machine learning algorithms and ingesting vast quantities of data

Redmond-based software giant Microsoft bolstered big data, machine learning and mobile capabilities in its flagship productivity offerings at the annual Sharepoint conference this week. Microsoft’s message is clear: contextual awareness, integration and collaboration, rather than the traditional siloed model of working, is the productivity style of tomorrow’s workplace.

Microsoft announced a slew of new technologies on Monday for its Office 365 offering including new APIs, a much-improved mobile SDK and embedded collaboration features throughout the suite.

But the company also previewed new Office features that it hopes will help keep the company ahead of rivals in the productivity apps space, including Google.

Microsoft said it wants to help professionals spend less time looking for people working on similar projects across an organisation, and to that end it introduced Office Graph, a project previously codenamed ‘Oslo’.

It’s pitching Office Graph as an “intelligent fabric” working away in the background, constantly analysing each user’s activity to deliver insights or updates on what other relevant activity is going on around them, which may resonate with users in predominately large enterprises.

“It uses personal interactions and machine learning to surface a view of the most relevant, timely information for each individual using Office 365 across SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Yammer and Office,” the company said.

In a bid to improve collaboration across organisations the company also introduced Groups, which builds on capabilities already found in its enterprise social networking application Yammer. It essentially embeds new collaborative features in every Office application, rather than in a standalone application.

“Today, the world has become a giant network where connections make information more relevant and people more productive,” said Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of office service and servers group at Microsoft.

“Most companies, however, are not working like a network, which we believe is vital for their ability to improve collaboration and respond to customers, competition and market changes,” he said.

Teper explained that businesses need to flatten the information flow in order to work better together, which means being informed about what others in the organisation are doing, and when possible probing opportunities for collaboration with those who are working on relevant projects or items.

“We believe this is the start of something game-changing—building digital memory across applications to create a highly personalized experience that helps people get more done,” he added.