In my previous article I gave a first glance of Microsoft Search from an Administrator’s point of view. Let’s turn to the end user’s point of view for the Microsoft Search experience that is through Bing.com
- To search against your Office 365, you must login with your 0365 account.
- Enter your search terms in the Bing search bar
- Your Office 365 results will appear in a top pane. Initially it can be hidden, so ensure to expand the pane to see the results.
The search results from left to right:
- Bookmark – that is like a “best bet” or promoted result
- Q&A – like a bookmark but the focus is returning an “answer” more than its URL. The same way you may search for an English dictionary word you can you get a richly formatted dictionary definition and thesaurus in Google or Bing.
- Any files stored in my SharePoint sits and MS Teams
- Sites and Office 365 Groups
- Teams chat messages
- Yammer? Unfortunately, my tenant can’t be setup with Yammer to demonstrate search. But there would simply be another box or card for Yammer.
- By default, you will see internet search results.
Let’s go through each tab filter
I had configured a bookmark in the MS Search Admin portal, to match keywords such as ‘hr’ to the URL of the HR group’s MS Team General channel.
I had also configured keywords including ‘hr’ and ‘benefit’ to return an “answer” in rich text format.
I feel it is worthwhile to point out the formal definitions
Quickly give users a link to an internal site, page, or tool where they can get additional information
Provide an answer or additional information for a frequently asked question, in addition to a link
The configuration in the MS Search admin portal looks very similar and I wondered what the difference is. The key difference is that Bookmarks focus on returning a link and a text description as secondary where Q&A focus on returning rich formatted text description and a link as secondary.
Relevant matching files that have been uploaded through a SharePoint site, 0365 group and MS Teams.
A list of SharePoint Sites and Office 356 groups.
Search results can show up for both Teams and Yammer.
In the above screenshot, a user by John Lee had made a MS Teams chat message with the term ‘hr’ along with an uploaded document.
And so I can appreciate the link to the document as part of the chat message search result.
Upon searching ‘John’, I get two people with the name ‘John’.
By clicking into the 4 tabs, you can learn more about the person’s profile, files they are working on or associated with (given that you have permission to see those files), their position in the organization hierarchy and 0365 Groups they are part of.
Some of the profile info is managed in the SharePoint user profile service managed profiles.
Bookmark and Q&A are useful features and to find out which ones to create, I recommend monitoring for most popular search terms. You can find this in the MS Search Admin Portal dashboard. For example, if ‘performance reviews’ is a top query during performance review season, then publish a bookmark to the performance review page and set the schedule to be during the performance review seasons.
In terms of information architecture and governance, even though there is AI technology to help rank the information relevant to you, I would still advice to have appropriate information architecture, metadata tagging (site columns and content types), regular content cleanup so that the search quality is kept optimal. I’m looking forward to what comes next and seeing announced features start rolling out in the comings months.