Microsoft Search

Search notes: Connecting your data into search and services

Microsoft Search is a new cohesive search capability in Microsoft 365 enabling you to find, command, navigate and discover items across your organization’s network of data, transforming your search bar into a resource for collective knowledge. An AI-powered insight engine that connects content across Windows, Office apps, Office.com, SharePoint, OneDrive, and third-party ecosystems to surface relevant, personalized results, whether it’s a recent chat, people card or a document a coworker shared. This allows you to securely and safely get the information you need.

Connectors are a core feature which enable Microsoft Search to connect to integrate with various database, service, and application sources and to push your app’s rich content into Microsoft Search. Connectors help connect your organization’s data and users so they can achieve more.

Microsoft offers a range of approaches so you can build what is most useful to your business scenario, whether you are an end user, administrator or developer.  There are several approaches to connecting in the data you need across your ecosystem of applications.

Group Connectors for Microsoft 365

Whether you are tracking a Twitter feed, managing a project with Trello or watching the latest news headlines with Bing—Office 365 Connectors surfaces all the information you care about in the Office 365 Groups shared inbox, so you can easily collaborate with others and interact with the updates as they happen.

To learn more see also https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Connect-apps-to-your-groups-in-Outlook-ed0ce547-038f-4902-b9b3-9e518ae6fbab.

Microsoft Teams Connectors

Office 365 Connectors are a great way to push your app’s rich content into Microsoft Teams. Any user can connect a team to services like Trello, GitHub, Bing News, or Twitter and get notified of the team’s activity in that service. From tracking a team’s progress in Trello to following important hashtags in Twitter, Office 365 Connectors help your team to stay in sync and get more done.

You can even add actions to your content, turning them into actionable messages, so that users can complete tasks directly in the channel. (To learn more about actionable messages see also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/actionable-messages/.)

In addition, using connectors allows you to couple the incoming data from these connectors directly to your business processes with Microsoft Flow, the Microsoft workflow platform, natively integrated in Office 365 including SharePoint. To learn more about these concepts see also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/platform/concepts/connectors/connectors.

Custom Connectors

Building an Office 365 Connector for your application is easy. All you need to do is register your connector in our developer portal, add an integrated configuration experience to your application, and implement your connector. You can make it easy for your users to discover the connector by publishing to our catalog.

To learn more about how to build your own connectorssee also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/actionable-messages/connectors-dev-dashboard#build-your-own-connector.

In addition, you can use the Microsoft Graph APIs to call Office 365 data for your own applications.  The Microsoft Graph provides a unified programmability model that you can use to build apps for organizations and consumers that interact with the data of millions of users. You can use the Microsoft Graph REST APIs to access data in Azure Active Directory, Office 365 services, Enterprise Mobility and Security services, Windows 10 services, Dynamics 365, and more. To learn more see also https://graph.microsoft.com.

Microsoft 365 Administrators

Use Business Connectivity Services for hybrid implementations to crawl, customize, enrich and display external content.

With Business Connectivity Services, you can use SharePoint and Office clients as interfaces to data that doesn’t live in SharePoint itself. Business Connectivity Services can connect to data that is available through a database, a web service, or data that is published as an OData source or many other types of external data. Business Connectivity Services does this through out-of-the box or custom connectors. The connectors, as the name implies, are the communication bridge between SharePoint and the external system that hosts the external data.

To learn more about Business Connectivity Services see also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/administration/business-connectivity-services-overview.

Hybrid connectors include:

  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2013
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2016
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2019
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010
  • EMC Documentum Foundation Server (all versions compatible with DFS Productivity Layer 6.7 SP2)
  • IBM Lotus Notes Domino server and Lotus Notes client of the same version (e.g. v6, v7, v8)

Content available to crawl in/via with native connectors for:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • .NET
  • WCF Service
  • SOAP
  • REST Service Connection
  • XML File Connection

Azure Search

Azure Search is a search-as-a-service cloud solution that gives developers APIs and tools for adding a rich search experience over private, heterogenous content in web, mobile, and enterprise applications. Query execution is over a user-defined index.

  • Build a search corpus containing only your data, sourced from multiple content types and platforms.
  • Leverage AI-powered indexing to extract text and features from image files, or entities and key phrases from raw text.
  • Create intuitive search experiences with facet navigation and filters, synonyms, autocomplete, and text analysis for “did you mean” auto-corrected search terms.
  • Add geo-search for “find near me”, language analyzers for non-English full text search, and scoring logic for search rank.

Functionality is exposed through a simple REST APIor.NET SDKthat masks the inherent complexity of information retrieval. In addition to APIs, the Azure portal provides administration and content management support, with tools for prototyping and querying your indexes. Because the service runs in the cloud, infrastructure and availability are managed by Microsoft.

Search Developers

Build fully customizable search applications with Azure Search to index massive amounts of content and add custom enrichment and cognitive search skills, you can incorporate Office 365 data  by using the Microsoft Graph APIsas well as a myriad of external data.

Get started here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/search/.

Work with our partners

Microsoft 365 partners have developed a range of connectors to help you gather all the data you need.

Please visit Accenture, BAInsight and Raytion for more information.

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Administration, Microsoft Search, SharePoint

Announcing the Search First Migration Accelerator

Understanding search is the primary means in the Enterprise for surfacing and locating information…as a result, it has become a mission critical component of SharePoint deployments.  The rise in adoption of SharePoint 2010 in organizations has led to more customers seeking to leverage the benefits of the new search architectures, whether Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2010 or FAST Search Server 2010, as part of their topologies.  In either scenario, customers are faced with a decision on how to accomplish upgrade and accommodate their end users.  A result of these decisions can include migrating or upgrading the existing SharePoint deployments to include search, or optionally migrating components of the existing deployments.  In the componentized case, many organizations are looking to maintain a familiar user experience, while gaining the performance, scalability, and richness of new search options in SharePoint 2010 – that’s where the Search First Migration Accelerator comes in.

The Search First Migration Accelerator is a combination of guidance and tools provided by Microsoft and Metalogix enabling organizations to establish a more granular approach to upgrade by allowing them upgrade their Office SharePoint Server 2007 search component(s) prior to the underlying content, supporting a familiar search user experience, and enabling IT Professionals to approach upgrade in established phases while allowing the organization to benefit from the improvements in SharePoint Search 2010 or FAST Search for SharePoint 2010.

Read the Metalogix press release at http://www.metalogix.net/Company/News/ByYear/2010/Metalogix-and-Microsoft-Team-Together-to-Launch-Search-First-Migration-Accelerator-Free-Tool/.

Download the Search First Migration Accelerator from Metalogix at http://www.metalogix.net/Free-Tools/Search-First-Migration-Accelerator/Download/.

Additional Resources

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