Microsoft Search became generally available last year. Whereas Microsoft’s Bing focuses on providing an internet search engine for the consumer, Microsoft Search is aimed at the Enterprise. It uses Machine Learning (ML) from Bing and adds the power of the Microsoft Graph. For those of you not familiar with Microsoft Graph I would suggest you read the link mentioned above; however, in brief, it allows access to data within Microsoft 365 services including most Office 365 services.
Over the last year and a half, Microsoft Search has been rolling out and I have seen it being slowly adopted. Now the adoption and extension of the product is advancing quickly. The Microsoft Search API will allow developers to implement queries to provide complete recall results, suggestions and recommendations in the search box control, in addition to an event API to send relevance signals.
The advantage of Microsoft Search is the ability for it to search over multiple platforms. Having separate web-based systems is common; however, few organisations go to the trouble of implementing a search solution across the platforms. This means users then have a separate search experience and may have to perform two or more separate searches to find the information they want. With Microsoft Search, you can carry out one search and return results from the internet (via Bing) and key Microsoft 365 services, including SharePoint Online (likely where your intranet is hosted and your files are stored), OneDrive, etc.
As Microsoft Search is based on privacy and security controls within Microsoft 365, it adheres to the security settings of your information as it changes over time. The indexing of content happens continually as does the near-instant updates to permissions, so you only see content you have access to.
Why Information Architecture Matters
Despite search engines like Microsoft Search and Bing making it extremely easy to find information, it is in fact largely down to the content (visible and not) on a web page that enables the search engines to find and categorise pages. Websites are generally built on top of Content Management Systems (CMS) that are very flexible as they must meet simple needs such as presenting content to more complex ecommerce and community features. However, when it comes to the organisation of enterprise information, the needs are slightly different and tend to focus on security, information classification and the ability to get access to content quickly. It is why there is a need to create digital workplaces in a consistent way.
To create a consistent information architecture, rules need to be established and once those rules are in place, a mechanism to implement them needs to be provided. In the context of a well-defined structure in SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams, a provisioning solution can provide this, contact us to learn more.