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What is Microsoft’s Search Strategy? Are they as confused as I am?

Microsoft’s search strategy is somewhat unclear, at least to me. Office Graph uses artificial intelligence and borrows from the FAST search technology. This is the basis for the Clutter feature in Outlook that lets users remove low priority emails. It is also the basis for Delve, which is a business social tool. From within Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Bing is used to provide a tool called Insights with a ‘Tell Me’ search feature from within the basic Microsoft applications. Many organizations would find this confusing, and one wonders if improvements and management of the results would require additional support personnel to address each search option. I would have to believe organizations would prefer not to put together pieces of the search puzzle. Adding on-premises to the mix, becomes more complicated.

These factors can present challenges to Microsoft, although organizations want accurate and relevant search, they don’t want to spend money or time on it, would like a plug and play environment, and take the burden off the end user to find what they are seeking. Unfortunately, Office Graph, even though combined with FAST needs to learn the interests of each individual, which will delay the effectiveness of search across the organization, and ultimately Office 365 adoption. The primary stumbling block is going to be the issue of end user tagging, as Office Graph uses the metadata added automatically or by the individual. Delve is going to be very confused considering how poorly users tag content.

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Bye Bye SharePoint – You can’t say you weren’t warned!

I read an excellent Gartner document entitled, ‘Redefine Microsoft’s Role in Your Web Strategy as SharePoint Moves to the Cloud’. Access to the document requires you to be a Gartner client. But, I’ll share the scoop. The summary: “Thousands of organizations counting on SharePoint as the basis for their websites and portals will have to revise their plans. Microsoft is pushing SharePoint users toward a cloud-based offering that doesn’t support the customization, integration and innovation their initiatives require.” Wow.

I think most SharePoint clients and professionals already knew that. If not, they should. What are the impacts that Gartner was able to identify?

  • Many organizations using SharePoint for portal and website initiatives will find a collaboration-focused, cloud-based SharePoint unsuitable to their unique needs.
  • Due to Microsoft pushing SharePoint into the cloud, Web leaders can no longer expect SharePoint to provide suitable content management for most customer-facing websites and digital marketing efforts.
  • Organizations that have invested in custom development or third-party add-ons will be forced to revise their existing codebases and change future custom development.

I’ve grown rather fond of SharePoint over the years. I guess, there comes a time when all things come to an end. But, back to the real world, reading the hand-writing on the wall, is your organization making any plans for doomsday when SharePoint is no more? Although still in the distant (or not so distant) future, is your organization aware of and facing any of the obstacles of replicating your on-premise SharePoint to Office 365?

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