SharePoint 2013 ‘Content Recommendations’ – A Game of Hoops Anyone?

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SharePoint 2013 ‘Content Recommendations’ – A Game of Hoops Anyone?

One of the new features in SharePoint 2013 is ‘Content Recommendations’. For our business, even the title sounds tantalizing. But is it?

First of all, how it works. There is a new analytics processing component in SharePoint 2013 that runs different analytics jobs to analyze content in the search index and user actions that were performed on a site to identify items that users perceive as more relevant than others. Please note the words ‘users perceive’ which is defined as: “To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing” as we will be coming back to this.

The new functionality for displaying content recommendations based on usage patterns uses the information from the analysis. By including recommendations on a page, you can guide users to other content that may be relevant for them. For example, you can guide users to popular items in a category or let them know that users who viewed this item also viewed another item.

The search recommendations framework works in the following way:

  • User actions produce usage events. When users interact with a SharePoint Server 2013 website — for example, when they click a link, press a button, or view a document — their actions are stored as usage events.
  • Usage events are counted and analyzed. The recommendations algorithm in the Analytics Processing Component counts and analyzes the usage events.
  • After processing in the Analytics Processing Component, the information is added to the search index and the Reporting database.

In one position I held they were crazy about US college basketball, despite the fact that the local colleges consistently lost and were ranked last. I can verify that ‘March Madness’ was the most highly ‘user perceived’ relevant content throughout the organization during the entire season. I haven’t yet figured out the business use. So the words ‘users perceive’ is actually in the eyes of the beholder, not necessarily the most accurate or relevant information. Or for that matter, in the case of hoops business related. But probably more fun.

In part two we’ll talk more about this subject. Stay tuned!

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