Enterprise Search, Findability and Discovery at Microsoft Ignite

Agnes Molnar

by Agnes Molnar on 5/21/2015

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Article Details

Date Revised:
5/21/2015

Applies to:
Delve, Enterprise Search, Office Graph


Description: Agnes describes why the features that Microsoft will soon bring to Office Graph and Delve will significantly change how we receive and filter content. The enhancements are noteworthy improvements to Enterprise Search solutions.

Microsoft Ignite was possibly the biggest Microsoft event ever – and it was a very important event, if not the most important event, from the perspective of findability and discovery. Microsoft announced Office Graph and Delve (codename Oslo) at the SharePoint Conference last year and rolled them out to the Office 365 customers in the last few months.

That only marked the beginning. Microsoft will continue to improve and enhance Office Graph and Delve, and they will add new features. What’s is really amazing is Microsoft’s new approach: they have a very open communication with the customers and users. They listen and pay attention to community feedback – this means community feedback has an impact on the products’ future.

But why these new tools are so important? Why are the common Enterprise Search solutions not enough? Microsoft has invested a lot in this area in the last couple of years – which shows the importance of Enterprise Search. But as we have information overload more and more, day by day, we have to be more conscious of our content.

If we analyze the content we have in the enterprise as well as our relationship to this content, we can identify the following quadrants:

Office Graph, Delve, Enterprise Search, value quadrants

Content I know about: documents, emails, database entries, etc., which I am aware of, either because I get notified (by someone or automatically by the system) or because I found it some proactive way. Researches show that the amount of new content we get every day is about the size of a novel.

Content I don’t know about: documents, emails, database entries, etc., which I am not aware of at all.

Useful content: content that helps the user to get his/her job done, which has business value.

Content with no value: content that doesn’t help the user to get his/her job done at all.

The goal is to maximize the ratio of useful content and filter out as much low-value content as possible.

Traditional Enterprise Search solutions help in the “Content I know about” / “Useful Content” segment the most. To be able to proactively find some content needs, the user needs to know something about the content: some property, some characteristics, etc. – these make the query work and tailor the proper content into the result set.

In the “Content I don’t know about” / “Content with no value” segment we don’t need too much to do, except we need to make sure we don’t surface any low-value content that makes the “content noise” bigger.

We can do the most in the “Content I don’t know about” / “Useful Content” segment with discovery tools. These tools help to discover (find) content even if we don’t know anything about. Some real-world examples include:

  • A manager can find content that has been created though not his/her department, but “trending” in the company – even if he/she hasn’t received notification about it. This might be useful to stay updated.
  • Marketing Department can use Delve to discover what’s going on in the company. They could use Delve as a “newspaper” that automatically surfaces the relevant content.
  • Even without opening the libraries or documents, a user can track if there’s any progress in the content. I personally use Delve to do this when traveling – if a document “stays” on the top of my personal page in Delve, my colleagues keep working on it. If not, I have to check and maybe remind them.
  • Documents that a user has to pay attention to will stay on the personal Delve page, too. This might be useful to check what he/she has to work on, review, provide feedback, etc.

And these are only the use cases for the basic functionality of Delve. If we add the new features like Boards, Groups, and the new People experience – it gives us much more. Moreover, we can get even more by creating our custom applications on Office Graph. The sky is the limit…

Ignite had several sessions on these topics. I’ve collected the related session recordings below, as well as some follow-up blog posts. Enjoy!

Search, Office Graph and Delve sessions on Channel 9:

Office Delve and Office Graph Vision and Roadmap by Cem Aykan, Fredrik Holm, Ashok Kuppusamy

Break Down Organizational Silos and Gain New Insights with Office Graph and Office Delve by Gary Danoys, Steve Nguyen

A New People Experience in Delve: Discover People Through Content, and Content Through People by Stefan Debald, Welly Lee

Building Solutions with Office Graph by Jon Meling, Helge Grenager Solheim

Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application by Kathrine Hammervold, Manas Biswas

MVP Panel: Sample Apps and Intelligent Solutions Showcasing Office Graph and Delve Extensibility by Bill Baer, Alexandre Cipriani, Chris Givens, Waldek Mastykarz, Mikael Svenson

Big Bang: The New Universe of Findability and Discoverability by Dan Holme, Agnes Molnar

Information Management Strategy with Microsoft Office 365 in Mind by Jeff Fried

Ernst & Young: Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Search Adoption by Ed Dale

Search Extensibility in SharePoint 2013 by Matthew McDermott, Corey Roth

Event summaries and other useful links:

Search PFE team blog

MS Ignite “Effective Search Deployment” Session References (BRK3176) by Kris Loranger and Brian Pendergrass

Office Graph goes CRUD by Helge Solheim

SharePoint 2016 Hybrid Search: “One Search to Rule Them All” by Search Technologies

Ignite from a Search Perspective by Jeff Fried, BA Insight

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business Management and Control Ignite Session Resource Links

by Chris Bortlik

Info and some thoughts on Office 365 “NextGen” portals – Microsites, Boards and the Knowledge Management portal by Chris O’Brian

Ignite 2015 – My Thoughts and Highlights, or What I Don’t Want to Forget Just Yet by Eric Overfield



Topic: Enterprise Search

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