Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SharePoint Hybrid Taxonomy Essentials

Synchronizing taxonomies between on-premise SharePoint and SharePoint Online has been a challenge for hybrid SharePoint users.  The inability to seamlessly move taxonomies from the SharePoint Online term store to the SharePoint on-prem term Store, and vice-versa, has made it hard to enforce tagging with consistent term sets.  Or, companies that have invested in taxonomy in an on-premise environment have been limited in moving to SharePoint Online because of this lack of support.

Despite the challenges, it’s incredibly important that term sets remain synchronized so that all content throughout an enterprise is tagged consistently with the same taxonomy terms.  Until now, the only solution has been third party add-ons or complex database operations.

If you have encountered this challenge, there is some great news:  Hybrid Taxonomy will be a key feature release of SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 1.  It will also be included for SharePoint 2013 in the September '16 Cumulative Update for SharePoint. The main Term Store will be the Managed Metadata Service in SharePoint Online. So, when developing an enterprise taxonomy model for your company, the development should take place in SharePoint online.  Changes made in the SharePoint 
Online term store will automatically syndicate down to the on-premise term store, including retaining the same GUID for each term.

Three key things to remember when implementing Hybrid Managed Metadata and Taxonomy

  1. Hybrid Taxonomy for SharePoint will make it easy to synchronize your taxonomy term sets so both on premise and in the cloud SharePoint content will be tagged consistently
  2. Term sets that are currently in SharePoint on-premise environments can be migrated to SharePoint Online using a one-time administrative PowerShell script.
  3. The source taxonomy will live in SharePoint online.  On premise term stores will each connect to the SharePoint Online term store to access the taxonomies.  Each on-premise term store can choose which groups to subscribe to and these groups will be synchronized using the new Taxonomy Group Replication Timer Job.  
  4. Any pinned or re-used terms in your on-premise term store will need to be disconnected and reconnected within SharePoint Online before getting started
  5. Local term sets can be created as necessary in your on-premise term stores
Here are some more resources from Microsoft on this feature:



If you have not yet used the Managed Metadata Service or built a taxonomy, WAND has a General Business Taxonomy available as a free download for SharePoint users.  The WAND General Business Taxonomy can be imported directly into the SharePoint term store and includes a basic set of terms for HR, Sales and Marketing, Legal, IT, and Accounting and Finance.   It’s a great way to being to play with the SharePoint Term Store.


If you need more detailed term sets, WAND has developed a complete library of taxonomies covering nearly every industry vertical and business function.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy - Next in the Utilities Suite

The next taxonomy in our Utilities Suite is the WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy 

It is designed to provide terms specific to gas utility companies and should be used in conjunction with the WAND Utilities Taxonomy.

You may be familiar with our WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy which has been a part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal for several years.  We decided that it was time to also create an expanded independent Utility Taxonomy and then follow that with individual taxonomies for the various utility providers.  We will keep the WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy as a legacy taxonomy.


The new WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy provides a foundation of 212 terms and 105 synonyms and can be customized to fit the needs of any Gas Utility Company.

This taxonomy includes terms relating Natural Gas Utilities Infrastructure, Pipeline Development, Maintenance and Repairs, and Metrics as well as Natural Gas Agreements and Contracts, Associations and Organizations, Forms and Applications, and FERC Natural Gas Markets.

The WAND Electric Utilities Taxonomy is also available for companies that provide both Gas and Electricity to their customers.
Watch for our soon-to-be released WAND Water Utilities Taxonomy and the WAND Wastewater Utilities Taxonomy in the suite of Utilities Taxonomies. 

As with all WAND Taxonomies, the WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy is available by itself or as part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The WAND Electric Utilities Taxonomy - Next in the Utilities Suite

The next taxonomy in our Utilities Suite is the WAND Electric Utilities Taxonomy 

It is designed to provide terms specific to Electric Companies and should be used in conjunction with the WAND Utilities Taxonomy.

You may be familiar with our WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy which has been a part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal for several years.  We decided that it was time to also create an expanded independent Utility Taxonomy and then follow that with individual taxonomies for the various utility providers.  We will keep the WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy as a legacy taxonomy.


The new WAND Electric Utilities Taxonomy provides a foundation of 698 terms and 270 synonyms and can be customized to fit the needs of any Electric Utility Company.

This taxonomy includes terms relating to Demand Side Management, Electric Associations and Organizations, Electric Utilities Standards and Guidelines, Electric Utility Infrastructure, Electric Utility Metrics, Electricity Generation, Electricity Rates, Electricity Transmission and Distribution, and Forms.
Watch for our soon-to-be released  WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy, WAND Water Utilities Taxonomy and the WAND Wastewater Utilities Taxonomy in the suite of Utilities Taxonomies. 

As with all WAND Taxonomies, the WAND Utilities Taxonomy is available by itself or as part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Introducing the WAND Utilities Taxonomy

The latest addition to our WAND Taxonomies is the WAND Utilities Taxonomy, the first in our new suite of utilities taxonomies.  

It provides terms common to all utility companies including Electric Utilities, Gas Utilities, Water Utilities, and Wastewater Utilities.

You may be familiar with our WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy which has been a part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal for several years.  We decided that it was time to also create an expanded independent Utility Taxonomy and then follow that with individual taxonomies for the various utility providers.  We will keep the WAND Electric and Gas Utilities Taxonomy as a legacy taxonomy.


The new WAND Utilities Taxonomy includes terms related to the different types of utility providers such as Investor Owned Utilities, Cooperative Utilities, or Municipal Utilities.  Top level terms include Associations and Organizations, Forms, Policies, Procedures, Regulatory Agencies, Safety and Security, Statutes and Regulations, Utilities Agreements and Contracts, Utility Billing, Utility Infrastructure, Utility Providers and Utility Services.

This taxonomy provides a foundation of 614 terms and 142 synonyms and can be customized.
 
Watch for our soon-to-be released WAND Electric Utility Taxonomy, WAND Gas Utilities Taxonomy, WAND Water Utilities Taxonomy and the WAND Wastewater Utilities Taxonomy in the suite of utilities taxonomies. 

The WAND Utilities Taxonomy was designed to be a companion taxonomy to the Electric Utilities, Gas Utilities, Water Utilities and Wastewater Utilities Taxonomies 

As with all WAND Taxonomies, it is available by itself or as part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Value of Taxonomy in IBM Watson Explorer

WAND Taxonomies are the only third party taxonomies explicitly supported for use in IBM Watson Explorer.  In today's  blog post, we wanted to do a deeper dive on the value of taxonomy in IBM Watson Explorer.  These features are all already very well described in the IBM Watson Explorer product documentation, by the way, so this blog can be considered a supplementary resource.

Taxonomy is a important ingredient to provide users with the absolutely best experience with the IBM Watson Explorer search engine.

There are three key value adds for taxonomy in IBM Watson Explorer.

1) Synonym Query Expansion.  Users want to get consistent results. A user who searches for HR should get the same results as somebody who searches for "Human Resources" because these are the same concepts.  If a search for "HR" only returns 15 results, and a search for Human Resources returns 24 results, AND only 5 results appear in both searches, then there is a major completeness and consistency problem.  Depending on which version of the same concept a user searches for will affect what the user finds.  It also won't be obvious to the user that they are missing out on a lot of possibly relevant information.   From a search perspective, taxonomy is helping to expand the "recall" of the user query.

2) Related, Broader, and Narrower Query Expansion.  Synonym query expansion is designed to add to your query withe other ways to reflect the same concept.  Related, Broader, and Narrower query expansion are designed to add to the user query with other concepts that may be relevant.  For example, if using a Narrower query expansion with the WAND Finance and Investment Taxonomy, a query for "Currencies" could be expanded to also search for Dollar, USD, Peso, Euro, Yen, and more from.  Users would be able to control the expansion by selecting/de-selecting  the specific terms that are in the taxonomy.

3) Auto-Classification and Metadata Refinement.  While query expansion focuses on "recall" of search, auto-classification and metadata refinement provides the user with significantly improved control over the precision of search results.  Taxonomy can be imported into the IBM Watson Explorer auto-classification module. This module will crawl all of your documents and, based upon rules, classify each document into the relevant taxonomy categories.     Then, when users perform a query, the result set can be refined by clicking on one of the taxonomy terms (or branches) to narrow down the result set to only those which were automatically classified to that term.  So, in one click, a user may go from 2500 results to a sub-set of 15 results that have been classified to a specific topic of interest.This is very similar to the way that a user on an e-commerce site can narrow down the product result set by things like color or brand.

See a screenshot here of taxonomy refiners in an IBM Watson Explorer search result page

IBM Watson Explorer does have algorithmic clustering which provides refiners based on what the engine deems to be statistically interesting within your document set. This can reveal interesting concepts but can also be subject to a lot of noise, as it is not curated.  A term may be statistically significant but not interesting to a human.  Taxonomy and Auto-Classification provides refiners based on a curated set of terms which a library scientist (or your corporate taxonomist!) has deemed to be important.

Both approaches add value and they should be considered complementary.  The algorithmic clustering may identify some concepts or synonyms which could be added to the official taxonomy.

How to accelerate taxonomy for IBM Watson Explorer

In summary, taxonomy in Watson Explorer provides the users with a number of valuable tools that provide greater relevancy, recall and control over the search experience.

WAND Taxonomies cover nearly every vertical industry segment and business functional area so that relevant taxonomy content is easily available for all clients.  Users of IBM Watson Explorer can jump start taxonomy creation with access to the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal and download taxonomies in a format that imports directly into IBM Watson Explorer.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to use synonyms to improve search in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016

A common misconception with the SharePoint Managed Metadata Service, where taxonomies are deployed, is that the "Other Labels" or synonyms that you add to the SharePoint Term Store will have an impact on SharePoint search.

In reality, the "Other Labels" in the SharePoint term store are only useful when users are tagging content with managed metadata terms.  What this means is that if "HR" is an other label for "Human Resources" in the term store, then if a user begins to type "HR" in the type-ahead tagging capability, SharePoint will direct the user that the correct tag is "Human Resources".  This is helpful and makes sure that users are tagging to the preferred form of the concept that has been defined in the term store. It reduces frustration when tagging by pointing synonyms to the correct place in the taxonomy.

However, it does not help with search.  Don't worry!  there is a way to use synonyms to improve search.

The value of synonyms in SharePoint search is in query expansion.  That is, if "HR" and "Human Resources" are synonyms, a user searching for either term will automatically have the query expanded to search for both variants.  This is an effective way to help users get complete search result sets.  It's an important detail to address to ensure you are delivering the best search experience possible for your users.

Microsoft Technet provides this article with detailed instructions on how to create and maintain a thesaurus in SharePoint Server 2013.  There is a Technet blog post with similar content in case you want an article with some more images.  The content is relevant for SharePoint Server 2016 as well.

Unfortunately, you cannot import a thesaurus in SharePoint Online.


Taxonomies downloaded for SharePoint from the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal come with a file listing the synonyms for the taxonomy.  This file can be used as a thesaurus file for the SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint 2016 search engine.  Remember, however, that only a single thesaurus file can be loaded, so if you download multiple taxonomies from WAND, you will need to combine the supplementary synonym files into one to create a master thesaurus file.


This blog post is relevant for SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Introducing the WAND Facilities Management Taxonomy

Today we are releasing a brand new taxonomy designed specifically for businesses that also have facilities management needs: The WAND Facilities Management Taxonomy.

In this taxonomy of 604 categories and 325 synonyms are terms relating to all areas of Facilities Management including Maintenance and Repairs, Housekeeping, Sustainability Management, and Facilities Services.

You'll also find terms relating to Safety and Security, Policies and Procedures, Documents, and Facility Inspections and Testing.


The WAND Facilities Management Taxonomy

provides a strong foundation of terms and can be customized to include additional terms related to a specific type of facility.

As with all WAND Taxonomies, the WAND Facilities Management Taxonomy is available by itself or as part of the WAND Taxonomy Library Portal.