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Magic May Not Come From Pre-Made Taxonomies

June 17, 2015

There are hundreds of companies that advertise they can increase information access, retrieval and accuracy for enterprise search by selling prefabricated taxonomies.  These taxonomies are industry specific and are generated by using an all-or-nothing approach, rather than individualizing them for each enterprise search client.  It turns out that the prefabricated taxonomies are not guaranteed to help enterprise search; in fact, they might be a waste of money.  The APQC Blog posted “Make Enterprise Search Magical Without Money” that uses an infographic to explain how organizations can improve their enterprise search without spending a cent.

APQC found that “best-practice organizations don’t have significantly better search technology.  Instead, they meet employees’ search needs with superior processes and approaches the content management.”

How can it be done?

The three steps are quite simple:

  1. Build taxonomies that reflect how people actually think and work-this can be done with focus groups and periodically reviewing taxonomies and metadata. This contributes to better and more effective content management.
  2. Use scope, metadata, and manual curation to ensure search returns the most relevant results-constantly the taxonomies for ways to improve and how users are actually users search.
  3. Clear out outdated, irrelevant, and duplicate content that’s cluttering up your search results-keep taxonomies updated so they continue to deliver accurate results.

These are really simple editing steps, but the main problem organizations might have is actually implementing the steps.  Will they assign the taxonomy creation task to the IT department or information professionals?  Who will be responsible for setting up focus groups and monitoring usage?  Yes, it is easy to do, but it takes a lot of time.

Whitney Grace, June 17, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Differing Focuses for OneDrive and SharePoint Online

June 9, 2015

Microsoft is unveiling a new OneDrive for Business, and hopes that it offers a secure and sanctioned alternative to other lightweight solutions increasingly preferred by users like: Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Search Content Management covers the story in their article, “OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Fill Different Niches.”

The article says:

“Microsoft has recognized users’ preference for lightweight systems, and that preference may explain the recent success of OneDrive for Business (ODB), a cloud file-sharing service that is part of the Office 365 suite. But Microsoft also has SharePoint, its heavier, more traditional content/collaboration platform, which also supports integration with a version of ODB.”

It seems that Microsoft is putting OneDrive up in the battle against others in the cloud file-sharing arena, while leaving SharePoint to handle more structured collaboration. It will be interesting to see how customers and enterprise managers market the two to their users. Stephen E. Arnold also has good coverage on both solutions for those who are looking for more information. His Web service,, offers a good go-to SharePoint feed to keep users updated on the latest SharePoint tips, tricks, and news.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 9, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

SharePoint Grasps for Relevancy in the Realm of Social

June 2, 2015

Ever since the rise of social platforms, SharePoint has attempted to keep up. While many users would say that these attempts were struggled behind the majority of social technology, Microsoft was making an effort to keep their enterprise heading in the social direction. The battle has been long and hard and Redmond Magazine gives the latest update in its article, “Microsoft Looks To Bring Social Back to SharePoint with Office Graph.”

The article describes how Microsoft is more or less stuck between a rock and a hard place in their game of social “keep-up”:

“Not that an enterprise-class team and document collaboration vendor should try to match the capabilities of what are, more often than not, a collection of unsecure, noncompliant, sometimes untested tools . . . But here’s the rub: if you don’t offer end users the tools they want, and make key features available on the mobile devices (and operating systems) they want to use, all of those security, auditing, compliance, and reporting standards will become irrelevant because people won’t use your platform.”

So Microsoft continues to battle for relevancy. Its latest move is Office Graph, and analysts are optimistic that this social layer may finally be a way for Microsoft to deliver on its promise of personalized and intelligent social solutions. To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the social world of SharePoint, keep an eye on, in particular his SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and follower of SharePoint. His reporting offers a succinct insight into the developments that affect productivity and user experience.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 2, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Prepare To Update Your Cassandra

June 2, 2015

It is time for an update to Apache’s headlining, open source, enterprise search software!  The San Diego Times let us know that “DataStax Enterprise 4.7 Released” and it has a slew of updates set to make open source search enthusiasts drool.   DataStax is a company that built itself around the open source Apache Cassandra software.  The company specializes in enterprise applications for search and analytics.

The newest release of DataStax Enterprise 4.7 includes several updates to improve a user’s enterprise experience:

“…includes a production-certified version of Cassandra 2.1, and it adds enhanced enterprise search, analytics, security, in-memory, and database monitoring capabilities. These include a new certified version of Apache Solr and Live Indexing, a new DSE feature that makes data immediately available for search by leveraging Cassandra’s native ability to run across multiple data centers.”

The update also includes DataStax’s OpCenter 5.2 for enhanced security and encryption.  It can be used to store encryption keys on servers and to manage admin security.

The enhanced search capabilities are the real bragging points: fault-tolerant search operations-used to customize failed search responses, intelligent search query routing-queries are routed to the fastest machines in a cluster for the quickest response times, and extended search analytics-using Solr search syntax and Apache Spark research and analytics tasks can run simultaneously.

DataStax Enterprise 4.7 improves enterprise search applications.  It will probably pull in users trying to improve their big data plans.  Has DataStax considered how its enterprise platform could be used for the cloud or on mobile computing?

Whitney Grace, June 2, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

IBM and Hadoop: Closer Than Ever

May 28, 2015

I read “Hadoop and IBM i: Not as Far Apart as One Might Think.” The letter “i” is important if you are in the IBM lingo parade. The letter “i” refers to the EBCDIC based operating system which runs on IBM Power and Pure Systems. If you don’t know EBCDIC, you should go back to your iOS device and wait for an Apple IBM app that runs on this puppy.

If your inner AS/400 itch needs scratching, you can fire up your system and use wrapper software from Mrc Productivity. You can then do the Hadoop thing.

The write up mentions other vendors working in this sector, but if you are an IBM i shop, you have companies like mrc on your iPhone’s speed dialer.

The article does state:

Not every IBM i shop is asking for Hadoop capabilities, but there have been some inquiries, says mrc’s marketing director Steve Hansen. [mrc is leading the Hadoop thing on the i/AS/400 platforms]… We’re not telling people it’s time to replace IBM i. We’re saying the data is getting bigger. There’s unstructured data and social data, and businesses just aren’t doing much with it yet. I think it’s overwhelming. Right now we’re [mrc folks] trying to build awareness to what Hadoop is and how people who are using IBM i can take this data that they’re not taking advantage of and put it into Hadoop. I don’t see it as a replacement for their IBM i. It’s more something that can enhance what they’re currently doing and tracking all this data they’re not tracking.

Yep, overwhelming.

For more information about mrc, navigate to

Stephen E Arnold, May 28, 2015

Hadoop Has Accessories

May 25, 2015

ZDNet’s article, “Why Hadoop Is Hard, And How To Make It Easier” alludes that Hadoop was going to disappear at some point.  We don’t know about you, but the open source big data platform has a huge support community and hundreds have adopted it, if not thousands of companies, have deployed Hadoop.  The article argues otherwise, citing that a recent Gartner survey found that only 26 percent of the corporate world is actively using it.

One of the biggest roadblocks for Hadoop is that it is designed for specialist to tinker with and it is not an enterprise tool.  That might change when Microsoft releases its new SQL Server 2016.  With the new server, Microsoft will add Polybase that bridges Hadoop to the server.  Microsoft is still the most popular OS for enterprise systems and when this upgrade becomes available Hadoop will be a more viable enterprise option.

What is the counterpoint?

“It’s also a counterpoint to the interpretation of Gartner’s survey that says Hadoop is somehow languishing. What’s languishing is the Enterprise’s willingness to invest in a new, premium skill set, and the low productivity involved in working with Hadoop through its motley crew of command-line shells and scripting languages. A good data engine should work behind the scenes and under the covers, not in the spotlight.”

So once more enterprise systems need to be updated, which is comparable to how Hadoop needs to be augmented with add-on features to make it more accessible, such as mature analytics tools, DBMS abstraction layers and Hadoop-as-a-Service cloud offerings.

Whitney Grace, May 25, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Searching Bureaucracy

May 19, 2015

The rise of automatic document conversion could render vast amounts of data collected by government agencies useful. In their article, “Solving the Search Problem for Large-Scale Repositories,” GCN explains why this technology is a game-changer, and offers tips for a smooth conversion. Writer Mike Gross tells us:

“Traditional conversion methods require significant manual effort and are economically unfeasible, especially when agencies are often precluded from using offshore labor. Additionally, government conversion efforts can be restricted by  document security and the number of people that require access.     However, there have been recent advances in the technology that allow for fully automated, secure and scalable document conversion processes that make economically feasible what was considered impractical just a few years ago. In one particular case the cost of the automated process was less than one-tenth of the traditional process. Making content searchable, allowing for content to be reformatted and reorganized as needed, gives agencies tremendous opportunities to automate and improve processes, while at the same time improving workflow and providing previously unavailable metrics.”

The write-up describes several factors that could foil an attempt to implement such a system, and I suggest interested parties check out the whole article. Some examples include security and scalability, of course, as well as specialized format and delivery requirements, and non-textual elements. Gross also lists criteria to look for in a vendor; for instance, assess how well their products play with related software, like scanning and optical character recognition tools, and whether they will be able to keep up with the volumes of data at hand. If government agencies approach these automation advances with care and wisdom, instead of reflexively choosing the lowest bidder, our bureaucracies’ data systems may actually become efficient. (Hey, one can dream.)

Cynthia Murrell, May 19, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at


SharePoint Server 2016 Details Released

May 12, 2015

Some details about the rollout of SharePoint Server 2016 were revealed at the much-anticipated Ignite event in Chicago last week. Microsoft now commits to being on track with the project, making a public beta available in fourth quarter of this year, and “release candidate” and “general availability” versions to follow. Read more in the Redmond Magazine article, “SharePoint Server 2016 Roadmap Highlighted at Ignite Event.”

The article addresses the tension between cloud and on-premises versions:

“While Microsoft has been developing the product based on its cloud learnings, namely SharePoint Online as part of its Office 365 services, those cloud-inspired features eventually will make their way back into the server product. The capabilities that don’t make it into the server will be offered as Office 365 services that can be leveraged by premises-based systems.”

It appears that the delayed timeline may be a “worst case scenario” measure, and that the release could happen earlier. After all, it is better for customers to be prepared for the worst and be pleasantly surprised. To stay in touch with the latest news regarding features and timeline, keep an eye on, specifically the SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and serves as a great resource for individuals who need access to the latest SharePoint news at a glance.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 12, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

RichRelevance Promises Complete Omnichannel Personalization

May 7, 2015

The article on MarketWatch titled RichRelevance Extends Its Partner Ecosystem to Support True Omnichannel Personalization predicts the consequences of San Francisco-based company RichRelevance’s recent announcement that they will be amping up partner support in order to improve the continuity of the customer experience across “web, mobile, call center and store.” The article explains what is meant by omnichannel personalization and why it is so important,

“Personalization has emerged as the most important strategic imperative for global businesses,” said Eduardo Sanchez, CEO of RichRelevance. “Our partner ecosystem provides our customers with a unique resource to support the implementation of different components of the Relevance Cloud in their business, as well as customize personalization according to the highly specific demands of their own businesses and consumer base.” Gartner predicts that 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016…”

The Relevance Cloud is available for Richrelevance partners and includes such core capabilities as Pre-built personalization apps for recommendations and search, the Open Innovation Platform for Build, and Relevance in Store for the reported 90% of sales that occur in-store. The announcement ensures that the collaboration Richrelevance emphasizes with its partners will really range all areas of customer engagement.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 7, 2014

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Survival of SharePoint and the Big Bang Theory

May 5, 2015

The ebb and flow of SharePoint expansion and contraction can be described as a “big bang theory” of sorts. This cyclical pattern can be seen in many businesses, but Redmond Magazine helps readers see the cycle in SharePoint. Read more in their article, “The SharePoint Big Bang Theory.”

The article sums up the illustration:

“As Microsoft added capabilities to SharePoint over the years, and provided the flexibility to configure or customize its features to meet just about any business requirement, the success of the platform exploded . . . End users and administrators alike started thinking about their information architecture and information governance policies. Companies . . . began consolidating their efforts, and started to move their businesses toward a more structured content management strategy . . . [then] the rise of the enterprise social networks (ESNs) and cloud-based file sharing solutions have had (are having) a contracting effect on those intranet and structured collaboration plans. Suddenly end users seem to be totally in charge.”

There’s no doubt that SharePoint has learned to weather the turbulent changes of the last twenty years. In some ways, their adaptability is to be applauded. And yet, most users know the platform is not perfect. To stay attuned to what the next twenty years will bring, keep an eye on Stephen E. Arnold has made a career of out reporting on all things search, and his dedicated SharePoint feed distills the information down into an easily digestible platform.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 5, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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