Improving SharePoint Search Efficiency

March 17, 2014

For many users, search is pretty much the main point of SharePoint, yet many complain of the inefficiency and inaccuracy of the search function. Search Windows Server addresses the issue in a great article that highlights search features from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013. Read the details in “Five Ways to Make SharePoint Search More Efficient.”

The article begins:

“Admins and end users alike find that using the search feature in SharePoint is helpful, but it can be frustrating . . . We compiled the five best tips to help SharePoint users work through common questions and situations with SharePoint search. Covering multiple versions of SharePoint, these tips highlight how to make searching in SharePoint more efficient, how to improve search functionality and more.”

Stephen E. Arnold has an interest in search; in fact he has made a career of it. His Web site, ArnoldIT.com, highlights the latest in search – the good and the bad. SharePoint gets a lot of coverage.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 17, 2014

Bing: A Quote to Note and a Search

March 16, 2014

First, navigate to Bing and run the query “Bing Market Share.” The first hit is to “The Bing Dilemma: What To Do With The Little Search Engine That Can.” The write up contains a chart showing Bing market share. Bing is the orange line. The line way at the top is Google.

 

The Bing Dilemma: What To Do With The Little Search Engine That Can image SEmarket share

In “Bing’s Harry Shum Bags The 2014 Outstanding Technical Leadership Award At Microsoft,” in my opinion there is a quote to note:

“I am proud that we have built a very high-quality search engine comparable to Google and with differentiating features. We have provided to society, even to humanity, a different voice than Google.”

On a philosophical note: If a search engine retrieves in the forest, are its results relevant? Your essay response is 20 percent of your grade.

Stephen E Arnold, March 16, 2014

Layers A Search Engine for Social Media

March 14, 2014

The article on wlfi.com titled Frankfort Teen Creates Idea for New Search Engine discusses the work of fifteen-year-old Spencer Jordan. His new idea for a search engine was to focus the search among ones social media networks. He got the idea when he was switching from one social media app and another, and noticed that it might be possible to streamline that process. Layers, Spencer’s search engine, is still in the “dream” phase,

“For now, “Layers” is just an dream, but to make it reality, Jordan has to pay a programmer to create the site. In order to raise the $10,000 needed, he began fundraising through an online donation website. “I’ve been trying to get my friends, and family and the public to support me, and to back me and to help me accomplish this,” said Jordan. As of Sunday, Jordan hasn’t raised any of his $10,000 goal, but he said failure is not an option.”

In spite of the lack of funding, Spencer is not ready to quit. (As of Thursday, February 27 he has raised $80.) Should Google be nervous or just open its checkbook to buy this idea? The ability to search through Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is appealing; in Spencer’s words it “declutters” social media.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 14, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

The Facts About Endeca Guided Search

March 13, 2014

The article (and videos) titled Oracle Endeca Guided Search: Superior Search System For Your Website on the Four Cornerstone Blog will most likely convince any doubters that Endeca is right for your search needs. Endeca’s “guided navigation context” allows users refine their search. Search results are narrowed by categories, and organized within those categories (such as price range, ratings etc.) This prevents users from getting too many results or too few. Other perks included in the article,

 

“You can also use Oracle Endeca Guided Search with Oracle Endeca Experience Manager.  This way, you can get control over the littlest details that are related to customer experience.  This also allows you to get better content targeting and search personalization when using dynamic pages. Lastly, you can use Oracle Endeca for Mobile and Oracle Endeca for Social so that your customers have the same search experience no matter where they are.”

If this does not convince you, watch the Endeca Extensions for E-Business Suite “The moving parts” which showcases and the “simplicity of the integration” and Leveraging Your Existing OBI Investment with OEID v3.1, which explains how “IT organizations can quickly tap into their existing OBI repositories to jump start the provisioning of their own Endeca discovery applications.” Once you have read the article and seen the above Youtube videos you will most likely lose interest in open source options.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 13, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

HP: Deconstructing IDOL

March 12, 2014

Michael Lynch did what no other founder of a search-and-retrieval company was able to achieve. He operated a company that grew from a couple of government contracts into an $800 million plus giant in 15 years.

My analyses of the pre-Hewlett Packard Autonomy emphasize several facets of Mr. Lynch’s achievement. Competitors were not able to match Autonomy’s marketing. Whether it was the “Portal in a Box” or the augmented reality system Aurasma, competitors had to catch up with Mr. Lynch’s products, features, and benefits. As other search vendors played musical CEOs, Autonomy built a stable senior management team. With each change in leadership, competitors lost time with reorganizations and relearning. Autonomy’s management capabilities have been ignored. Mr. Lynch figured out that growth from search required acquisitions. Once the financing was in place, Autonomy gobbled up companies and its revenues soared.

Companies like Fast Search & Transfer and Endeca labored to close the revenue and marketing gap with Autonomy. Both failed. Fast Search resorted to accounting tricks, and Microsoft has been “investing” in Fast Search technology to make it fit with today’s enterprise. Endeca hit a glass ceiling at about $140 million in annual revenue despite evangelists, fancy MBAs, and a clever partnering method. Oracle is marketing Endeca as a business intelligence system and eCommerce system, not a search system. Other companies with promise just failed. These include Convera, Delphes, and Entopia. TeraText retreated to the government sector. IBM abandoned its in house search technology and just adopted Lucene, an open source toolkit. Other vendors remained essentially invisible like Albert, dtSearch, Lextek, and EPI Thunderstone, among others. Exalead disappeared into an engineering firm that is struggling with its core business.

Autonomy, like it or not, emerged after 15 years as the major brand in search, content processing, and a number of closely related fields.

Despite the changes in the search sector and in Autonomy’s technology line up, Autonomy delivered one product—IDOL, the integrated data operating layer, and its DRE, the digital reasoning engine. One product name persisted for 15 years. One technology, the DRE, powered the famous “black box” at the heart of every autonomy product or service when developed in house or acquired. Once Autonomy bought a company, it IDOLized the product or service.

I read “HP Breaks Autonomy IDOL into Discrete Services.” The write up smacks of the “real journalism” from the azure chip outfit IDC. The story reported in cheerleader fashion:

The service will expose most of the IDOL features as discrete services, accessible through APIs (application programming interfaces). HP is hoping that enterprise developers use the service to embed IDOL functionality into their own applications.

At first glance, this is no big deal. Exalead was moving in this direction before it was purchased by Dassault. Elasticsearch offers a compelling open source and lower cost alternative as well.

In my view, HP has a big job ahead of it. The company has to generate enough revenue from Autonomy licenses to pay back its purchase price, now deeply discounted to several billion dollars. Considering that it took Autonomy 15 years to nose toward $900 million, the HP sales professionals have to get in gear. After all, HP needs to turn Autonomy into a net producer of revenue and profit.

In addition, HP has to make certain that its deconstruction of IDOL does not lose the famous Autonomy magic. Without magic, I am not confident that 1996 technology can cope with the challenges of today’s information processing needs. (Google is also a late 1990s company faced with similar problems of ageing technology and concepts.) Good enough search is available from open source repositories. Lower cost options are available from upstarts like Elasticsearch and Searchdaimon. Once the magic is gone, magic is tough to recapture.

HP has to find a way to make Autonomy’s services usable to those customers who want to download and app and have it work. Autonomy reaches back to the 1990s. Today’s information technology professionals are into a different type of computing experience. Of course, there are organizations that have the money, time, and appetite to tackle Bayesian methods infused with Monte Carlo and Markov Chain methods, seasoned with Laplacian techniques. My hunch is that complexity has the potential to add friction to the chopped up mini-IDOLs and DREs.

Net net: HP has to find a way to make big money flow in a market which is coveted by IBM Watson, Microsoft, and numerous other vendors.

Would Michael Lynch have chopped up IDOL? I don’t think he will be available to answer this question. The squabble about HP’s purchase price generate considerable noise at a time when HP needs focus, clarity, and numerous sales.

Worth watching.

Stephen E Arnold, March 12, 2014

Google Is Yesterday: Apps, Not Search, the Future

March 10, 2014

I read “Google Searches for role in App Age.” This is a for fee item, so you will need to pony up money or buy a copy of the dead tree edition of the March 10, 2014, Wall Street Journal. If you have a WSJ account, here’s your link, gentle reader, www.wsj.com and click on the “Top Stories in Tech” by Rolfe Winkler. You may want to try this link too. Great name, Rolfe.

The point of the write up for those who have not been watching Google with Murdochesque eye wear is that mobile users use apps. Mobile users are not too hip to the Web search thing.

According the the write up:

On a phone, links to apps often are more useful than Web links. The apps may be tuned for the smaller screen, and tap features of the phone, like knowing a user’s location, to provide more relevant information: the Open Table app can automatically show restaurants nearby.

Be still my heart. The write up points out:

Speaking at a conference last week, Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer, said that while mobile ads are less lucrative than desktop ones today, he believes in the long-term mobile ad revenue “will be a multiple” of desktop ads due to all the extra information smartphones can capture about their users.

Was the WSJ expecting Google to watch as Facebook wormed into the global social app opportunity?

Several observations:

  1. Google is based on doing a better job of Web search than Fast Search & Transfer did
  2. Google is based on an idea developed by GoTo, implemented by Overture, and a once opportunity rich play by Yahoo
  3. The Google train has been chugging down the Web search path for more than a decade. Trains age.

Just as the automobile put the nose lock on trains, Google is working overtime to make sure its momentum does not abate. But an airplane-like breakthrough may be looming.

Will Google be able to generate revenue from its many side ventures so that top line revenue does not suffer erosion? Will Google be able to deal with a business model built on the missteps of Alta Vista, Fast Search’s vision that enterprise search was its future, and Yahoo’s stumbles?

These are interesting questions. Just as Amazon struggles to put lipstick on the pig of its soaring costs, Google seems to be frantically rummaging through its cosmetics drawer and “searching” for a plastic surgeon to make sure it is one compelling creature.

Barges, balloons, bio-engineering—perhaps these are the future of Google or not. Even the WSJ closes its somewhat shallow write up with a nod to Facebook’s “mobile app ads for engagement.” No matter. Search is not dead, but it is increasingly marginalized.

Stephen E Arnold, March 10, 2014

Data.gov: Listing May Be Enough

March 8, 2014

I am all for slipshod work, particularly when delivered by government contractors. Hey, the emphasis is on scope changes and engineering change orders, not on delivering what the wild and crazy statement of work requires.

I was delighted to read the Hacker News thread at http://bit.ly/MW4epC about broken links and missing data sets on Data.gov at www.data.gov. The thread contains a number of interesting comments. These may be evidence that substandard attention to detail suggests digital eczema. Just Bing it.

Examples range from corrected links that fail to odd ball outputs. See, for example, http://1.usa.gov/1qiegkT. There are some gems in the comments; for instance, http://1.usa.gov/1lI1Fqj.

In the early days of www.firstgov.gov, some effort was expended to minimize the number of dead links on US government servers. In the present incarnation as www.usa.gov, there are some interesting changes.

My view is that the dead links are a lesser problem than content that is no longer available and to which the links have been removed. If I were younger, I would suggest that you, gentle reader, look for information about MIC, RAC, and ZPIC contract awards. But I will not.

Stephen E Arnold, March 8, 2014

Infogistics Starts Daxtra

March 7, 2014

Infogistics calls itself a leading company in text analysis, document retrieval, and text extraction for various industries. One would not think that after visiting their Web site that has not been updated since 2005. The company does, however have a new vested interest in DaXtra Technologies, its new endeavor to provide content processing solutions for personnel and human resources applications.

Here is an official description from the Web site:

“For almost a decade we’ve been at the forefront of technology and solutions within our marketplace, giving our customers the competitive edge in their challenge to source the best available jobseekers, and find them quickly. Over 500 organizations, spanning all continents, use our resume analysis, matching and search products – from the world’s largest staffing companies to boutique recruiters, corporate recruitment departments, job boards and software vendors. This global reach is made possible via our multilingual CV technology which can automatically parse in over 25 different languages.”

DaXtra’s products include DaXtra Capture-a recruitment management software, DaXtra Search, DaXtra Parser-turns raw data into structured XML, DaXtra Components-to manage Web services, and DaXtra Analytics to come in 2014. The company appears to make top of the line personnel software that deletes the confusion in HR departments. What is even better is that the Web site is updated.

Whitney Grace, March 07, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

New MaxxCAT Search Appliance Supports the Rackless

March 5, 2014

Small businesses that employ desktop servers may want to check out MaxxCAT’s latest offering. Virtual-Strategy Magazine announces that “MaxxCAT Brings Search Appliance to Convenient Desktop Form Factor.” They say the idea came from a customer with a desktop server and no rack space; it is nice when companies respond to customer feedback. The press release elaborates:

“The new line of desktop search appliances features a case that is suited for customers needing high performance search but lacking rack space. It is particularly suited to businesses employing tower servers. The new desktop series retains the price and performance MaxxCAT is known for, starting at $2,995 for the 250GB SB-250d capable of handling 2,500 executed Queries Per Minute(QPM). For larger collections or greater performance requirements, the SB-350d is available for $3,995 and features a 500GB index storage size and is capable of handling 5,000 executed Queries Per Minute. Both appliances will come with MaxxCAT’s standard one year of email support and software updates as well as one-year hardware warranty.”

The company is wisely integrating that higher-capacity version, the SB-350d, into its existing education and non-profit programs. Based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, MaxxCAT launched in 2007. Though its focus is on specialized, high-performance enterprise search appliances, the company also provides integration services and managed hosting. MaxxCAT also prides itself on providing quick and painless deployments—particularly important for small businesses with limited resources.

Cynthia Murrell, March 05, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Predictive Analysis Forms Its Own Vocal Reality Search

March 4, 2014

Did you ever think that predictive analytics would be used to determine the next singing sensation? I did not think so. “SAPVoice: How To Predict A Future Pop Star” from Forbes details how music labels are using data to find star power. The form of predictive analytics is called predictive business. Despite its immaterial aspects, music does contain many data points:

“Her record label, Universal Music Group taps thousands of data points generated daily for the artists it manages that reveal how particular customer segments are responding to them. Managers search a database of a million interview subjects, containing data on everything from where a consumer shops to the new music she prefers. With such tools at hand, YouTube won’t be the only way to find the next stars; scouts will also dig through the data.”

It is not just the music industry tapping into this new resource. Consumer goods, healthcare, technology, and manufacturing are using it to signal red flags and increase efficiency.

SAP steps in with its own predictive business model that focuses on predicting with accuracy, determining the best actions to take based on the data, and act fast on the data results. This approach has paid off for many companies.

Will the singing capitals of the world embrace SAP’s methodology? Don’t some disaffected recording moguls shoot handguns when disaffected? If the software does not deliver value, will there be gunplay at a Las Vegas intersection or maybe Wall Street if it does not pay off in the finance sector?

Whitney Grace, March 04, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

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