Mobility 2013 top trend among Sweden’s CIOs

Each year CIO Sweden conducts a trend survey among Sweden’s CIOs. They also host an annual event where they discuss the results and the CIOs from some of Sweden’s largest companies talk about their vision. On February 6 I attended this year’s CIO Trends event at Münchenbryggeriet in Stockholm.

The main conclusion from this year’s survey is that compared to last year not that many things have changed. However, one interesting change this year was that last year’s most important trend, cloud and cloud solutions, had been kicked down by Mobility. Mobility as in easiness to move around not only in the office but also in large scales around the world. Information should always be on your fingertip no matter the device or connection. The Cloud is still a hot topic and focus on that is still high among companies. I guess henceforth we will see more of a combination of the two where you use cloud to create more mobility.

Fun fact of the day from the CIOs of Sweden: The most common CIO in Sweden is Male (84%), around 45-49 years old (33%) and don’t like shopping (2%).

//Ludvig Aldrin still Sweden’s youngest CIO (CIO’s under 30,  1%)

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011: Contributor vs. Consumer

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011, Anaheim USA. This turned out to be an intense four-day conference covering just about any SharePoint 2010 topic you can imagine – from the geekiest developer session to business tracks with lessons learned.

To me, one of the most memorable sessions where Social Search with Dan Benson and Paul Summers, in which they showed us how social behaviours can be used to influence the current rank of search. For instance, users interests entered in MySite can be used to boost (xrank) search results accordingly. This was an eye opener as it illustrated what’s possible with quite easy means. Thanks for that!

Another great session was Scott Jamison talking about Findability in SharePoint. The key ingredient in this session was to differentiate between contributor and consumer. Typically we focus on the contributor, building 100 level folder structures with names that make sense to contributor. However, we seem to forget about the consumers, who of course are the other key aspect of an intranet. It is equally important to create a good support system for contributors, as it is to focus on consumer needs. As Jamison said “why have folders for both contributors and consumers? ”. SharePoint includes endless possibilities when it comes to creating logical views built on search, tags and filtering aimed to fill the needs of the consumers.

So, keep the folders or what ever support the contributor needs, but let your imagination float free for delivering best class Findability to the consumer!

KMWorld 2010 Reflections: Search is a Journey Not a Destination

Two weeks ago me, Ludvig Johansson and Christopher Wallström attended KMWorlds quadruple conference in Washington D.C. The conference consisted of four different conferences; KMWorld, Enterprise Search Summit, Taxonomy Bootcamp and SharePoint Symposium. I focused on Enterprise Search Summit and SharePoint Symposium and Christopher mainly covered Taxonomy Bootcamp as well as the Enterprise Search Summit. (Christopher will soon write a blog post about this as well.)

During the conferences there where some good quality content, however most of it was old news with speakers mainly focusing on outputs of their own products. This was disappointing since I had hoped to see the newest and coolest solutions within my area. Speakers presented systems from their corporations, where the newest and coolest functionality they described was shallow filters on a Google Search Appliance. From my perspective this is not new or cool. I would rather consider this standard functionality in today’s search solutions.

However, some sessions where really good. Daniel W. Rasmus talked about the Evolution of Search in quite a fun and thoughtful way. One thing he wanted to see in the near future was more personalization of search. Search needs to know the user and adapt to him/her and not simply use a standardized algorithm. As Rasmus sad it: “my search engine is not that in to me”. This is, as I would put it, spot on how we see it at Findwise. Today’s customer wants standard search with components that have existed for years now. It’s time for search to take the next step in the evolution and for us to start deliver Findabillity solutions adapted to your needs as an individual. In the line of this, Rasmus ended with another good quote: “Don’t let your search vendors set your exceptions to low”. I think this speaks for it self more or less. If we want contextual search then we should push the vendors out there to start deliver!

Another good session was delivered by Ellen Feaheny on how to utilize both old and new systems smarter. It was from this session the title of this post origins, “It’s a journey not a destination”. I thought this sums up what we feel everyday in our projects. It’s common that customers want to see projects to have a clear start and end. However with search and Findability we see it as a journey. I can even go as far to say it’s a journey without an end. We have customers coming and complaining about their search; saying “It doesn’t work anymore” or “The content is old”, to give two examples. The problem is that search is not a one time problem that you solve and then never have to think about again. If you don’t work with your search solution and treat search as a journey, continually improve relevance, content and invest time in search analytics your solution will soon get dusty and not deliver what your employees or customers wants.

Search is a journey not a destination.

SPC09 Day 2 – FAST Search for SharePoint Made “SharePoint Easy”

After a great evening with Microsoft Sweden touring around Las Vegas, having dinner at the Stratosphere and a good night sleep today’s session started of. Today’s focus has been deep dives in to the different areas. For me it has been deep dives in Sharepoint Search and FAST Search for Sharepoint.

First of was sessions about Sharepoint Search functions and depolyment. This was more or less going through the different functionality that I wrote about yesterday. A thew new things did thou come up, things like crawler policy’s, avoiding that your index is empties just because the web site that you crawl is on service during crawl time, connector framework that now supports developing connectors in .NET and configuration of the whole search service through PowerShell.

But now to the more exiting thing, FAST Search for SharePoint 2010. This something that it has been really quite about. It has gone 18 months since the acquisition of FAST and during that time not much information about the upcoming version has leaked out. But from yesterday everything is made public. There is even gona come a public beta of FAST Search for SharePoint in November for everyone to test it out.

The most exiting thing about this new version of FAST is that it’s almost completely integrated within SharePoint. With almost is that the installation of FAST is still done on separated servers and has it’s own installation program, though simplified. But after completion of installation and node setup (done in a deployment.xml config file) everything is done in the SharePoint central administration interface or through PowerShell. There is not even the possibility any longer to make configurations through config files in the installation of FAST. Some more advanced configurations and extensions can be made through .NET libraries and PowerShell, for example document processing steps. I will know more about this after tomorrows sessions.

Connectors in new FAST are no longer used as before. They are integrated into SharePoint instead. It’s even the same connector for SharePoint search and FAST Search for SharePoint. Setup is done in the same way to ease the transition from SharePoint Search to FAST.

People search in SharePoint 2010 will, even though you use FAST Search For SharePoint, be handled by SharePoint search. And as Jeff Fried sad “why try to set this up in FAST Search for SharePoint when the people search in SharePoint already is amazing”.

Now it’s time for one of the biggest beach parties that Las Vegas ever has hosted here at Mandal Bay Hotel. Over 7000 crazy SharePoint geeks are going to rock there pants of to the sound of the 80’s.

SPC09 Day 1 (Las Vegas) – A New Choice in Enterprise Search

Today the initial key notes and session on the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 has begun here in Las Vegas. The conference is fully booked with over 7400 registered attendees and is hosted at the Mandala Bay Hotel. There are over 240 different sessions covering everything within the new version of SharePoint 2010. SharePoint 2010 is schedules to be released during the first half of next year however a public beta will be available now in November. I will try to cover the Enterprise Search perspective of this conference and summarize new features and functions in this blog.

The conference was started up through two key notes held by among others Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) and Jeff Teper (VP). They introduces new features in SharePoint 2010 on all levels from both really deep technical to end user perspective. Showing a lot of new cool features, where one feature was especially sticking out and that was Search. They all pointed out over and over again the importance of search as the core functionality of everything.

Enterprise Search

My first sessions during this conference was on Enterprise Search and the overview of this. A lot of new concepts and functions are introduced. I will try here to summarize some of the new functions in a list.

Sharepoint 2010 and Search Server 2010 (Not all is supported in Search Server)

  • Wildcard search support
  • Phonetic Spelling on person name searches
  • Partitioned index/query (for scaling purposes)
  • Support for up to 100 Million documents
  • Zero query search – Used for using search as navigation
  • Query Suggestion
  • Refinement from meta data (Shallow navigators)
  • Related Searches
  • Federate Searches with Desktop
  • Rating/Language used for relevance tuning
  • View related content in people search
  • Multiple crawler

FAST Search for SharePoint

  • All above from SharePoint searches (some times they are even supposed to work together like people search is still done through SharePoint search)
  • Visual preview and thumbnails
  • Same APIs as SharePoint
  • All administration is done through SharePoint administration
  • Similar results
  • Deep refinement navigators
  • Entity extraction
  • Visual Best bet
  • Contextual Search
  • No index profile any more. Everything is set through SharePoint administration even Navigators and meta data mappings.
  • Can use BCS for connecting to other systems
  • User context searching. Promote/denote documents and changing relevance after users context
  • New search interface

That was a summary of the new features that is to come. I will come back every day to post updates and more detailed information about these features. To finish of I want to quote Microsoft: This is a quantum leap in Enterprise Search.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas

I will attend to the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas USA between the 19-22 October. This will be the perfect opportunity to learn more about upcoming release of SharePoint 2010 and from Findwise perspective, the new FAST Search For SharePoint.

Since Findwise have several years of experience of integrating FAST ESP and SharePoint this will be a great opportunity to meet us face-to-face and talk about how FAST ESP could help you in your future implementations.

Looking forward to meet you!