How much time does the average worker spend hunting for a lost document, or seeking out the last bit of data needed to complete a report?
Research suggests that employees spend about 48 minutes in a typical workday merely searching for information. More and more organizations are looking for ways to minimize that lost productivity by providing workers with ways to manage, organize and search a wide variety of content — particularly unstructured information.
Experts say that 85 percent of all data is held in emails, documents and other unstructured formats, and that the volume of unstructured data doubles every three months. Unlike information stored in databases, unstructured data is very difficult to search.
A decade or so ago, a product category called “enterprise search” emerged to address this challenge. According to Gartner, enterprise search solutions were designed to “relate users’ queries to many different kinds of information in order to identify relevant, contextualized information and, in the process, perform light analysis.” In other words, these products attempted to extend search engine-like capabilities to all of the unstructured data in the enterprise.
Enterprise search never really caught on. However, search capabilities have continued to advance, leading Gartner to define a new product category called “insight engines.” These tools “apply relevancy methods to describe, discover, organize and analyze” both structured and unstructured content across the enterprise. According to Gartner:
Insight engines differ from search engines in terms of capabilities that enable richer indexes, more complex queries, elaborated relevancy methods, and multiple touchpoints for the delivery of data (for machines) and information (for people). These capabilities stem from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, specifically natural-language processing, graph-based data structures and machine learning.
Microsoft is a Leader in Gartner’s Insight Engines Magic Quadrant, which replaced its Enterprise Search Magic Quadrant last year. Gartner notes that Microsoft’s insight engine products — Graph and SharePoint Enterprise Search — integrate search and insight delivery seamlessly into Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration tools.
At Ignite 2018 in September, Microsoft announced new organizational search capabilities powered by the Microsoft Graph platform and the AI technology in the Bing search engine. Microsoft Search will provide a consistent experience across SharePoint sites, email and productivity apps, and suggest results before you type a query in the search bar. The search functionality will use context from the documents you work on and the people you interact with to deliver the most relevant information from across your organization.
The search bar will take a prominent position in Microsoft apps, and help you better control the app you’re using. Search results will include various types of file formats, independent of the app you’re working in.
Because search is an essential part of the SharePoint experience, the latest version of the SharePoint mobile app features search as the default function. The Outlook mobile app also incorporates the new “zero-query” search functionality.
In 2019, Microsoft will roll out the Search experience within Windows and across all Office apps, including desktop, mobile and web-based interfaces. Microsoft Graph will be enhanced with AI technology from Bing, making it possible to find information using natural-language queries. Microsoft also plans to extend its search capabilities with native connectors for third-party applications and services.
Microsoft search is available for preview today. We also invite you to contact the AdaptivEdge team to discuss how Microsoft Search can enhance productivity and decision-making in your organization.
Written and composed by Principal, Steve Soper