Our overarching goal is to make a seamless user experience in Office 365 possible through a rich index, including consistent metadata and content from enterprise and line-of-business systems, accessed with full security.
Whenever possible, this is a single centralized index. Where data residency or content volumes prohibit a single index, a virtual index is created across farms and unified into a single interleaved result set. Our Connectivity Software connects to on-premises and cloud-based systems so it can be crawled alongside SharePoint content. All content is automatically tagged with metadata and processed for easy findability, including the creation of our Smart Previews. Portals driven from this index can provide a remarkable user experience by leveraging pre-built components such as Content Assembly and Visual Refiners.
Our customers have found that installing and using Office 365 OOTB isn’t easy and the resulting user experience is inadequate. They have discovered that integrating content from outside of SharePoint using a unified index is powerful and effective, that automatically created metadata applied consistently across farms drives findability and exploration, and that creating portals with pre-built user experience components makes for responsive IT and happy users. That’s why they work with BA Insight.
O365 Scenarios and Configurations
Working with our customers, we have arrived at seven specific scenarios that are driving our strategy. Three configurations cover all of these scenarios; the configurations differ with respect to the location of the index, where primary and secondary portals are hosted, and where and how content is crawled and processed.
Benefits for IT Organizations:
- Meet compliance, data residency and security requirements while enjoying the benefits of Office 365
- Improve the overall information architecture through automated classification of content from any source
- Choose which systems and content move to the cloud without creating project dependencies
Benefits for Users:
- Access all important information, independent of where it resides
- Experience improved findability without the need to manually tag content
- Increase productivity by leveraging existing knowledge and expertise
The Configurations and Scenarios Are:
Externally-facing portals and extranets: External sharing and collaboration with partners, customers, and suppliers benefits from SharePoint Online and Azure AD for external accounts and authentication; some important content for this is in on-premises or line-of-business systems.
Cloud-only applications with on-prem content: New capabilities that are cloud-only, such as OneDrive, Delve, or Yammer, are compelling to the business but must be integrated with content that is in on-premises or line-of-business systems.
Existing portals, with new content added online: New content, new sites, new groups, and new applications are being added in SharePoint Online, visible through portals hosted by SharePoint Server. In some cases, line-of-business groups may have procured SharePoint in the cloud on their own, then asked IT to integrate it.
Existing portals with content moving online: Existing content and sites are migrating to Office 365. However, customizations that can’t be supported by SharePoint Online are required, preventing the portal from being hosted in Office 365.
Unified Portals across security or compliance boundaries: Data residency requirements or security concerns have made moving some content to SharePoint Online impossible, but users still must be able to easily access all content.
Portals including content outside of SharePoint: Essential information is in on-premises or cloud-based systems, and users need easy unified access to it. However, SharePoint Online does not support indexing of any content outside of SharePoint, so a hybrid solution is required.
Hosted portals, with all content online: The operational advantages of SharePoint Online and other aspects of Office 365 drive all content to the cloud. However, limitations in SharePoint Online lead to a tailored user experience hosted in SharePoint Server.