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I remember becoming interested in joining BA Insight a couple of years ago. At that, time the market was called “Enterprise Search”. In the past few years, both Gartner and Forrester have renamed the category. Gartner calls it Insight Engines and emphasizes the use of relevancy methods and proactive or interactive information delivery in context. Forrester refers to it as Cognitive Search and Knowledge Discovery, highlighting the use of AI technologies such as Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning.


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Beyond SharePoint

In part one of this post, I looked at the state of Search as a Business problem. There are many research articles that show that organizations struggle to find the content that their users are creating. The challenge for Microsoft is how to solve this problem. In part one, I detailed the two most obvious solutions- SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online. Here in part two I want to discuss how organizations can get past the limitations of a SharePoint only approach and look at additional solutions from Microsoft.


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We’ve all read the stats about how much of the content currently being generated and managed within organizations is unstructured, and we’ve worried about the opportunities that might be missed if we are not able to leverage the knowledge this content contains. Indexing the content with your favorite search engine is a start, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.


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In this two-part post I’ll try to explain, compare, and contrast the different search solutions available from Microsoft including SharePoint Server, SharePoint Online, Hybrid SharePoint, Delve, Azure, and Bing. I try to take a business first approach, one I use with my clients, to use search to solve business problems. In part one I’ll start with SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online. In part two I’ll focus on other offerings including Hybrid SharePoint, Delve, Azure Search, and Bing. I hope this helps you to understand what is being offered and the problems the tools offer to solve.


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Way back in the middle of 2017, my colleague Jeff Fried participated in an exclusive member webinar with the Cognitive Computing Consortium on Leaders in Cognitive. (You can listen to it here). He discussed the topic of, “The Race is On: Comparing Google and Microsoft’s Cognitive Services.”  I know… how is the middle of 2017 “way back”?  Well, in the terms of cognitive computing, AI, and machine learning, it seems that just last week can seem like “way back”. 


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