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Artificial Intelligence Part One of a Three-Part Series
It seems that no matter where you look, AI is the subject that is being talked about most. At BA Insight, it’s a daily topic both internally, as we design new capabilities, and externally as our customers and prospects want to learn about how AI can benefit them. This is for good reason, as my belief is that AI is poised to usher in a period of dramatic change in the way software interacts with users and data. 

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let's get personalI 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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Welcome Search Gurus 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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Facebook Bots Facebook is Getting Serious About Business
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Facebook is starting to turn towards a business platform, competing with the likes of Google and Microsoft. The core of this strategy is their “Workplace by Facebook” offering, which was introduced in 2016. They’ve designed Workplace to go toe to toe with Microsoft teams and Google’s G-suite collaboration. In that short year and a half, they’ve seen growth to over 30,000 organizations, with some big names like Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic. At BA Insight, we have noticed this too. Customers are abandoning Yammer and Jive and moving to Workplace by Facebook.

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Automating Text AnalyticsWe’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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The art of listeningThe most important part of my job is listening, not selling.  Several months back, I was sitting in the CIO’s office of a publicly traded company.  After we exchanged pleasantries, I asked very few questions. Instead, I sat there quietly and listened to the CIO. I listened to his problems and his vision. When you listen, you learn.

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Welcome Search GurusIn 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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Welcome Search GurusI’m delighted that Matthew McDermott and Kevin Watters have joined BA Insight’s Advisory Board.  Both are top-notch search gurus, new colleagues, and old friends.  I know them from different worlds- Matthew from SharePoint search and Kevin from open source search.

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calendarsWay 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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hackers are patientAfter having a great ride in cyber security for over four years, I was excited to get back into collaboration with BA Insight just over eight months ago and also join a former colleague of mine, Mark Aschemeyer. People often ask what I do for a living now that I have joined BA Insight. Initially I said, “I help corporations and organizations improve productivity through more efficient collaboration,” (or some similar marketing sounding phrase).  Usually this leaves the questioner with a glazed, disinterested look, with no follow up questions.  With some reflection, I now describe what I do as, “I help people find information at big companies.” A much better answer.

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ElasticonElastic{ON} 2018 just concluded, and what a great week it was. We at BA Insight started down our Elastic journey over three years ago and seeing this strategy and investment in action is very exciting. It was my first time at the conference, BA Insight’s first time as a sponsor with a booth, and because my wife was able to sneak away for a few days, our first quick getaway of the year. I’ve coined it the “Week of Firsts”, as it seemed that one thing after another brought another “first” my way.

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image search and content recognitionDon’t you just hate it when you cannot find the content you are looking for? You know that you have relevant content, but either you can’t remember where it is, or you know where it is, but there is so much content that it will take ages to look at every file to find what you are looking for. 

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Predictions about Intranets and SearchNew Year’s predictions are a longstanding tradition, dating at least back to the 16th century French seer Nostradamus.  Personally, I started only four years ago, and my predictions focus around search, digital workplaces, and market dynamics involving Microsoft.  I intend for these predictions to be much more useful, informative, and accurate than Nostradamus’ (a low bar, I know). 

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search-driven-taxonomiesThe goal of the KISS Taxonomy is to improve the search user experience, as well as provide a faster approach to developing and getting the KISS Taxonomy into users’ hands for refinement and usability feedback versus traditional plodding methods.

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Crawling O365As organizations move toward the cloud, there has been some confusion around management and optimization of search. I’ve had more than one conversation with customers about the continued need for a search strategy, and then someone asks, “But doesn’t the Microsoft Graph pick up everything? Why do I need to still worry about search?”

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best of breedYou hear about AI, machine learning, and cognitive services from every direction these days. Personally, I’ve been getting deep into the cognitive services provided by Microsoft and Google. Over the last year these have expanded enormously, and the pace of development is only increasing.

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best of breedWhen I’m asked what makes BA Insight special, I talk about our talented and dedicated employees, our customer-centric culture, our products’ capabilities and quality, our broad customer base…and, of course, our unique approach to the market.

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KISS Taxonomy In this blog I will be introducing the KISS Taxonomy Implementation (KTI). Be sure not to confuse it with the rock band KISS, because KTI rocks too!

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cognitive searchCognitive Search Starts with Understanding Search

Cognitive search, and indeed, the entire new wave of cognitive applications, are the next leap forward in information access.  These apps rest on a search backbone that integrates information, making it findable and usable.
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SmartHub and BA InsightWe recently announced a new product called SmartHub (you can read the announcement here).  This is a big milestone for BA Insight, a key step in our strategy of delivering a new generation of smarter search solutions.

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Intelligent SearchHow much time do you spend searching for the right content? According to one study, knowledge workers spend 20% or more of their day looking for timely and relevant content. Personally, I think that is a conservative estimate – but thankfully, Microsoft and many of its partners are trying to reduce that number.

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importance of search analyticsAdoption and engagement are quickly becoming the most discussed topics in the SharePoint community. Why? Because organizations are realizing that the concept of “build it and they will come” was never true, and that they need to do a better job of tracking and measuring collaboration – and demonstrating business value. They’ve learned that no matter how solid the solution you deploy, adoption takes work.

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It's about meIn my last blog, I discussed why search connectors are the backbone in delivering an “Intelligent Intranet”. Today, I am going to open Pandora’s box.  Search relevancy and personalization! 

What does search relevancy and personalization mean?
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search integrationTwo of my colleagues recently published blog articles that I would like to piggy back on.  Don Miller recently discussed the importance of metadata when it comes to finding information in his blog post, The Magical Answer to Making Intranet Search as Awesome as Internet SearchMark Aschemeyer then posted an article about the importance of connecting to all of the significant information inside a company in his post, Putting the Cart Before the HorseBoth posts are very valuable first steps in building a solid search foundation, and in this post, I will share ideas on things customers can build once they have appropriate metadata and connectivity established.

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evolution of legal techI recently participated in my first podcast on the BA Insight Shared Insights show.  I discussed the ‘Evolution of Legal Technology’, where I shared my firsthand observations of how law firms have managed to keep up with the explosion of technology solutions over the past 20 years - all aimed at helping today’s lawyers become more efficient, profitable and ultimately help their clients succeed. 

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