Microsoft Cortex paves the way for AI-enabled knowledge management

If ever there was a reason to swap legacy legal document management systems for mainstream Microsoft 365-based matter management, this is it.

The potential for artificial intelligence, and machine learning in particular, to transform enterprise content management has been clearly identified. And no sector stands to gain more from this capability than the professional services world, which is so closely bound with hefty and complex documentation. So it was amid great anticipation that we welcomed the recent unveiling of Microsoft Cortex.

Project Cortex is a suite of new Microsoft AI tools, designed to analyse content created across the Microsoft 365 platform, and shared across teams and systems – to form an on-demand ‘knowledge network’ across the enterprise which is organised and updated automatically in connection with common topics. (It also offers the facility to automate processes based on content discovered and extracted from incoming documents, with the potential to save busy knowledge workers a great deal of time scouring files for the critical information they contain – something I’ll cover in my next blog.)

AI for all

For the professional services world, and for legal teams in particular, the arrival of Cortex is potentially transformational. Up to now, AI-based tools for legal teams have tended to be expensive, niche products designed for specific tasks such as automated contract assembly or document content analysis. But now that Microsoft is championing AI-based content services, richer and more diverse capabilities will come with reach of entire enterprises, potentially spanning multiple use cases -including all kinds of legal applications. And it’s these legal uses cases that Repstor will be homing in on and making easy and intuitive for busy professionals.

So what can we expect in the way of improved knowledge management?

With Cortex, any client or matter-related content or information created or passing across the Microsoft 365 platform will be able to have AI techniques applied to it – so that it can be identified, categorised and discovered more readily, via smart automation.

This isn’t just about content itself, but about the wider picture – for example identifying the relevant people working on a particular client matter, the experts in a particular field, and/or the key documents linked to a given topic.

Powered by the Cortex AI tools suite, Microsoft 365 will be able to distil themes and key attributes from email, documents and teams activity to determine distinct topics and important materials and information linked to them, drawing all of this together so that it can be found instantly. Better still, teams will be able to guide Cortex in its learning so that it becomes more accurate at determining what’s important, or the topics to which materials and experts are linked.

Exponential efficiency gains

For legal teams under pressure to be more productive and contribute more directly to the business, Microsoft’s new smart knowledge management capabilities will save substantial time spent looking up related email threads; previous matters or contracts; or legal experts involved in similar or adjacent cases.

Although Microsoft may not have specific credentials in legal content management, this is where Repstor comes in – bringing the best of proven, mainstream, Microsoft IT to the intricacies of legal matter management. Put another way, we enable legal teams to benefit from the billions upon billions of dollars that Microsoft has invested in the latest, smartest and most secure content management, collaboration and business productivity software.

Content technology analysts such as Gartner are hailing Microsoft as a visionary leader in the field. It is no coincidence that Microsoft has invested billions and achieved industry leading set of patents on AI.   Repstor has fairly exclusive access to ongoing plans for the platform too, as an official Microsoft content services partner. This, coupled with our deep legal sector expertise, positions us perfectly to bring AI to bear where it really matters. So watch this space.