Search365 and Microsoft tackle the big data minefield

Search365 and Microsoft tackle the big data minefield

Search365 recognises that data can only be useful in a managed, searchable system

Richard Humphreys |

Search has made accessing information easy but it still struggles with the ambiguities of natural language; the space between relevancy, precision and recall. Search365 aims to get the right content to the right person based on the intent of what they’re looking for – and to extend this intuitive search to all organisations.

Search365’s alliances director Julian Cruickshank has worked on the cutting edge of search for the past 15 years, and in that time the world has changed.

Cruickshank says: “Organisations have gone from having information in filing cabinets to swimming in structured, unstructured and semi-structured data. We’ve seen companies where just one department is dealing with 30 different application systems and databases. A single view of the customer is the Holy Grail.”

Data has been tipped as a business game-changer with the potential of unlocking consumer insights, but it can only be useful in a managed, searchable system. This is where Search365 comes in: delivering on this promise of ‘big data’, for both businesses and the consumers who engage with them.

“Simplifying data is one thing, the other challenge is security,” suggests Cruickshank.

“Among our clients we count NAB, Qantas, The Fair Work Ombudsman and The Federal Department of Communications and the Arts. Data security is a concern that looms large in any technical solution they implement.”

Part of building more robust search solutions is to move to the cloud, improving the ability to query and interrogate data. But creating a solution that both files data safely and is intuitive for users is a complex task that traditionally requires a bespoke and time-consuming solution.

For this reason, Search365 spent the past 12 months creating a new product, Enterprise Search Accelerator, designed to aggregate search results across a number of data sources and feed it into a single user interface. The solution is built to work with Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft partner Elastic Search as its core search functionality, ensuring a reliable, industry-standard solution. But the best part about Enterprise Search Accelerator is it can be deployed in as little as eight weeks, given it requires very little custom coding.

“This is why we host our search and data systems on Microsoft Azure, as its in-country solution guarantees data sovereignty. It’s an important part of enabling organisations to migrate large datasets in and out of the cloud securely and to feel confident about moving their companies forward.”

Data has little value on its own – without the lens of real life. Search365 solutions deliver this lens for their clients.

“We created a system for the Fair Work Ombudsman, which handles more than five million public enquires each year, by combining our Enterprise Search Accelerator with Microsoft Dynamics and SharePoint. Using a Dynamics connector we created, we were able to index all of its CRM content, enabling 42 different data repositories to be searched instantly.”

But the human side is more significant. Call centre staff can now find up-to-date information with the click of a button, and the public can use the self-service system without the need to call-in for assistance. The solution is simply in the background, allowing staff and consumers to better engage.

“Our focus is on how far we can extend this. We’re currently exploring innovative solutions to search problems such as using AI to improve the way humans interact with data. For one client, we’re trialling the use of Microsoft Cortana in indexing emails and classifying information. It is one way to allow people to interrogate data in a more natural way; using verbal cues and simple language,” says Cruickshank.

“Instead of seeing technology-aware humans we think the future will see human-aware technology. We want to communicate better with customers, and we believe that smart search can help us fill in the gaps.”


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