Earlier today, Engineering.com article Search & Discover Solutions: A Google-Like Experience? introduced me to a new three letter acronym – SDS (search and discovery solution). Honestly, I don’t believe industry is looking for a new TLA. At the same time, the topic of information search is still unsolved for many manufacturing and engineering companies. Author pointing on two types of data – “structured” and “unstructured” and explains that the right solution should crunch both types of information to bring relevant results. Here is my favorite passage:
The sheer amount of unstructured data can be overwhelming, strongly suggesting administrative programs for improved searching, i.e., converting unstructured data to structured data. Then searching content in structured databases can be done with more precision; the time to find requested data is relatively faster.
What’s needed is analytic power to merge structured and unstructured data into one view, a task Google can do. Without an SDS, a company could replicate what Google does, using the same methodology as Google – but the cost would be huge. Google, however, achieves the perception of a structured view by using complex algorithms and millions of searches to present a structured view when no predefined structured view actually exists. Besides, there is simply not enough scale in a typical company to replicate this Google-like experience.
I’m not sure about how close is Google to crunch corporate data, product and part catalogs. At the same time, I found Microsoft is on track to bring some new stuff in the space of search and discovery tool. Called Oslo and Office Graph, this application and technology supposed to gather information from different “silos” and combine it together with intuitive user experience. What is very interesting is how Oslo anticipate the connection between different elements of data – websites, office documents, people, etc. and transforms it into connected explorable environment.
The following video brings a good review and perspective on what you can do with Oslo app (which is supposed to be available later this year):
Oslo/Graph took me back to my article – Will Microsoft Yammer Kill Social PLM? two years ago. It looks like Microsoft/Yammer deal starts to bring some fruits to evolving Microsoft Office /SharePoint ecosystem. The problem of information silos exists in all organizations – engineering and manufacturing are not the exclusion from the list. Oslo and Office Graph captures a significant portion of email and office social communication, which can be interesting layer for every IT organization to build solution.
What is my conclusion? I can see an increased amount of solutions focusing on how to capture graph semantics. More companies are discovering the way to capture a diverse set of data and relationships. Captured information can be used to develop new type of user experience. Will Oslo and Office Graph become a good foundation layer for CAD/PLM developers? This is a good question to ask. In the past some CAD companies had mixed experience with SharePoint based products. Time will show if Office Graph will shine as a layer to discover CAD and other product related data. Just my thoughts…