In a world dominated by Alexa and the Google Assistant, Cortana suffers the fate of a perfectly good alternative that nobody uses and everybody forgets about. But Microsoft wouldn’t be Microsoft if it just gave up on its investment in this space, so it’s now launching the Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise to see if that’s a niche where Cortana can succeed.
This new kit is an end-to-end solution for enterprises that want to build their own skills and agents. Of course, they could have done this before using the existing developer tools. This kit isn’t all that different from those, after all. Microsoft notes that it is designed for deployment inside an organization and represents a new platform for them to build these experiences.
The Skills Kit platform is based on the Microsoft Bot Framework and the Azure Cognitive Services Language Understanding feature.
Overall, this is probably not a bad bet on Microsoft’s part. I can see how some enterprises would want to build their own skills for their employees and customers to access internal data, for example, or to complete routine tasks.
For now, this tool is only available in private preview. No word on when we can expect a wider launch.