TechQuarters are a cloud computing consultancy, helping businesses to adopt and use Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.

In order to support their customers in getting the most out of Office 365, they’ve developed an e-learning platform called 365 Cloud Academy. Comprised of training sessions, classroom learning and an online e-learning portal, it provides a more diverse approach to training.

With increasing customer expectations and the demand for speed and convenience, businesses must continually improve their offering to meet these demands. TechQuarters’ customers expected help and support to be quick and easy to access, while still being effective and easy to use.

As a cutting-edge technical company, TechQuarters wanted to ensure that they could provide an enhanced learning experience for customers. The Microsoft Bot Framework was identified as a technology with the potential to help TechQuarters to satisfy customer expectations and continue to drive learning and give value back to their customers.

Although the bot framework offers a number of solutions to get off the ground quickly, such as the QnA maker, this bot required a much deeper level of integration and intelligence. To deliver these deep integrations and a complex bot of this nature, with a solid grade of security, software specialists were required.

We were introduced to TechQuarters by Microsoft, to help them to develop an intelligent and fully integrated bot which could provide help and support to 365 Cloud Academy users.

As with all projects we undertake, we started with our in-depth discovery process, enabling us to fully understand TechQuarters’ objectives and drivers and why a bot was required.

We ran a workshop to help us gain a clearer view of the direction that TechQuarters wanted the 365 Cloud Academy to move in, to align all decisions to that vision. We then defined personas for each of the known users of the bot, as well as creating a persona for the bot itself. We designed conversations and role-played different scenarios so that we could understand how the bot would respond, sound and work. This and the language used, helped us to craft its personality and we even gave it a name, Cosmo.

Once we had a clear vision of what the bot was going to be like, we explored the current technology landscape and documented what we could use to create Cosmo. We outlined a solution to bring it to life. This included a web version of Cosmo, which could be deployed to any website, Microsoft Teams support and a Chrome and Edge browser plugin. The plugins provide a new way for users to discover 365 Cloud Academy, making it discoverable in the Chrome Extension and Windows stores, establishing a totally new avenue for customer generation.

There have been numerous benefits to making the 365 Cloud Academy available through extension stores. It makes it easier for IT administrators to provision, to access the learning content and provide an environment for two-way communication, enabling TechQuarters to push new and relevant content to the learner easily. By delivering Cosmo through a browser plugin, the bot can also tell which Microsoft programmes the user is using online, enabling the bot to be smarter, more relevant and context-aware.

Bringing Cosmo to life involved a lot of smart technology, including the Microsoft Bot Framework, Bot connectors, Azure AD for authentication, Azure Table Storage, SQL Azure, Azure Search, Azure Functions, Azure Media Streaming Services, Rich Adaptive Cards for video content delivered directly into the chat, Luis for Natural Language Parsing (NLP) and Azure Web Apps. In order to enable Cosmo to engage in “small-talk”, the Project Personality Chat was used and configured in humorous mode, very befitting for the fun but highly professional personality of TechQuarters.

Our Discovery process at work elsewhere…

All of this technology was wrapped up into an easy to use interface, masking the intricacy and complexity of what’s behind it and providing a user-friendly bot.

We’ve been able to perfectly capture the personality of TechQuarters and the 365 Cloud Academy within Cosmo, making it a true automated extension of their service.

Cosmo is being rolled out to customers and will also be used by the TechQuarters’ front-line support team, to amplify and reinforce their day to day work. Luis, which provides the machine learning function of Cosmo, is learning and improving each time Cosmo has an interaction.

Chris Dunning

“We selected Razor because they have the same entrepreneurial spirit, great ideas and perfect set of skills for our development work. Working with them has been easy, it certainly feels like a long term partnership is evolving nicely.”

Chris Dunning – Founder of TechQuarters and the 365 Cloud Academy

The next steps have already been taken to give the user and company insight into usage identifying the cost benefits that the learning is having. Future releases will integrate with the Microsoft Graph API and Azure Machine Learning to provide tangible evidence of the improvement, increase Office 365 adoption and consumption and also to bring relevant and timely training to each individual all achieving a great return on investment for the client.