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This blog focuses on the Cortana Intelligence Services Management Module that Microsoft has introduced with the Cumulative Update 12 of Dynamics AX 2012 R3, by the end of this blog we’ll be able to setup and integrate AX with Azure Cognitive Services. To start, let’s first start with a few definitions of what the Module is about.

Cortana Intelligence Suite

Microsoft Cortana Intelligence suite (CIS) is a collection of technologies for information management, big data storage, machine learning and analytics, and data visualizations. Cortana assistant on Windows 10, Chabot that is made by using Bot framework, Microsoft Cognitive Services, and many other applications use one or many technologies that are marketed under the Cortana Intelligence brand.

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Microsoft Cognitive Services

The Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs are a suite of several general-purpose machine learning APIs that are made available in Microsoft Azure and can be used for any number of applications. These APIs simplify the whole process by abstracting away the complex machine learning models and the operationalization aspects, so that users can focus on real business problems. There are several categories of Azure Machine Learning APIs and the Knowledge category includes the Recommendations API.

Recommendations API

The Recommendations API exposes a general-purpose recommender system capability that is wrapped in an easy-to-use representational state transfer (REST) API. Our goal is to enable several business processes that involve customer recommendations to use this functionality.

Let’s move towards the setup and configuration to use Recommendations with AX, as said earlier, to use the Cortana Module we must either have AX 2012 R3 CU 12 or hotfix that is available for this particular module. Once you have CU 12, a module named Cortana Intelligence Services Management will be added to your modules.

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To setup and use Recommendations API, we must have an active Azure account that will be used to create Cognitive services account in the Azure portal.

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Once the account is created, copy the API key and move back to AX.

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Click on the Global parameters link in Setup menu of Cortana module

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Enter the services account name and the API key that we got in the previous phase.

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Just to go through, click on the model build parameters option again in the Setup menu.

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It will open up a dialog with all the default settings for FBT, Recommendation and Rank Build Parameter, we do not intend to change it for the sake of this blog.

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On the Cortana Module, the Main Menu consists of Azure Recommendations setup and configure material, the most important item in all are the Recommendation models that are created by us.

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Once you click the link, a form will open up with all your recommendation models, you can view the status of the existing ones as well as create new models.

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To create a new model, click on the New button, it will open a dialog, enter appropriate model name, description and Entity name to start.

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Once you have created the model, you can simply upload your catalog and usage files which can also be created through DIXF and are simple CSV files, once both the files are uploaded successfully, you are ready to use the model and play with predictive analytics.

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That’s all for today, our main focus in this blog was to define what actually Cortana Intelligence Suite is and how it can be setup and configured within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Thanks.

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