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商业 - 科技

改进企业级搜索,微软能行吗?

Michal Lev-Ram 2014年03月13日

Office 365产品的升级表明,微软在2008年进行的一起收购物有所值。当年,微软斥资12亿美元收购的企业级搜索新创企业Search & Transfer为升级版的Office 365产品贡献了全新的Oslo应用,提升了它的效率和使用体验。

    微软(Microsoft)在收购企业方面向来表现不佳。(大家还记得曾经被微软收购的Danger、Massive和WebTV吗?不记得了吧,大家都不记得了。)不过,微软于2008年斥资12亿美元收购企业级搜索新创企业Search & Transfer可能被证明是富有先见之明。

    本周早些时候,科技巨头微软对旗下的云端产能工具——Office 365产品进行了一系列升级,其中包括一款代号为奥斯陆(Oslo)的新应用。奥斯陆应用由驻挪威奥斯陆的Fast团队开发,界面类似于Flipboard,用户可以用它查看、搜索来自SharePoint和Yammer等几款Office 365工具的相关数据。据微软称,(多亏了另一个名为Office Graph的创新)这款一度被雪藏的应用现在具有“智能元素”,员工能借此在一个简单易用的用户界面轻松查看最近使用的文档、联系人信息以及对话。

    “企业数据一直以来就像一个黑匣子,”Fast工程团队的企业副总裁比约恩•奥尔斯塔德说。“我们发现,真正的价值不在于内容本身,而在于人们与内容的交互方式。”

    奥尔斯塔德表示,奥斯陆能利用人机交互和机器学习等技术向Office 365用户提供最相关、最具时效性的信息。虽然奥斯陆目前只能从特定程序中抓取数据,但在不久的将来有望扩展到微软所有产品中。

    奥尔斯塔德说:“比起传统的孤立封闭型信息,奥斯陆依靠的是基于分享和云协作的数据模型,这是一个新起点。”

    Fast团队大概有220人,从事的工作包括机器学习、搜索和其它任何与奥斯陆相关的技术。他们还在研究如何在种类繁多的Office 365产品上进行团队协作。从产品演示来看,奥斯陆的界面颇为美观,进行企业搜索也非常有效率。说实话,在企业内网界面上进行搜索通常令人痛不欲生。奥斯陆意义重大,它契合了微软正在竭力兜售的企业级工具发展方案:更加网络化,更具团队协作性,使用统一接口来获取所有应用程序的内容和交互信息。

    上周早些时候,微软Office服务及服务器部门副总裁杰夫•特珀在微软SharePoint大会上发表了一份声明称:“最新的Office 365产品集中了云计算、社交媒体、移动互联网和大数据等技术,用户及其团队能更便捷地定位所需信息以及最相关的内容。”

    尽管听起来很像其它公司眼下正在探索的“社交化”企业网,但微软和它们是有区别的。诚然,Facebook等公司早就推出了Yammer等企业化社交工具,微软此次算是跟风之举。但这些公司仅仅能提供一到两个企业级软件(而且它们的使用范围也很局限,不可能覆盖到员工的方方面面),而微软无论是在整体解决方案,还是数据处理方面,无疑都胜出一筹。

    是的,人们工作的方式的确正在发生变化,而不仅是因为微软的工程师们这么说。微软要在未来取得成功,不仅需要走向云端,而且必须利用自身资源融会贯通,将会话、文件以及演示文档结合在一起,同时把它放到一个易于理解、易于查找且具有相关性的背景中,让员工无论身在何处,都可以畅通无阻地工作。

    Fast是问题的答案吗?恐怕不是,但它绝对是个拿得出手的开始。(财富中文网)

    译者:项航

    

    Microsoft (MSFT) has a spotty track record when it comes to acquisitions. (Remember Danger, Massive, and WebTV? Yeah, neither do we.) But snapping up enterprise search startup Fast Search & Transfer for $1.2 billion back in 2008 may prove to have been a prescient move.

    Earlier this week the tech giant unveiled a series of updates to its Office 365 suite of cloud-based productivity tools, including a new application code-named Oslo. The app, developed by the Fast team based in Oslo, Norway, has a Flipboard-like interface and lets users view and search relevant data from a handful of Office 365 tools, like SharePoint and Yammer. According to Microsoft, the once-siloed applications now share an "intelligent fabric" (made possible by another new innovation called Office Graph) that allows employees to easily view recent documents, contacts, and conversations in one easy-to-digest user interface.

    "Enterprise data has been like a black box," says Bjorn Olstad, corporate VP of Fast's engineering team. "What we found is that the real value is not in the content itself -- it's how people interact with the content."

    According to Olstad, Oslo uses personal interactions and machine learning to highlight the most relevant, timely information for each Office 365 user. Right now it only pulls data from select applications, but the plan is to access content and interactions across all Microsoft tools in the near future.

    "This is a starting point for a transformation, a shared, cloud-based team data model as opposed to working with siloed information," Olstad says.

    The Fast team includes about 220 people, all working on machine learning, search, and other technologies that have gone into creating Oslo. They've also been working with groups across the various Office 365 products. In demos, Oslo seemed to be a much more eye-pleasing and effective way to do corporate search -- which, let's face it, is a pretty awful experience when done in a normal intranet-type interface. But it is also significant because it fits right into what Microsoft is touting as the future of work: a more networked, connected way of working together in teams, with a common fabric providing access to content and interactions that follow you from app to app.

    "The new Office 365 experiences powered by cloud, social, mobile, and big data technologies enable people and teams to find the right connections and most relevant insights to get more done," Jeff Teper, corporate VP of the company's Office Service and Servers group, said in an announcement issued at Microsoft's SharePoint Conference earlier this week.

    If it sounds a lot like other companies' attempts to "socialize" the enterprise, it is and it isn't. Yes, Microsoft has jumped on the bandwagon with Facebook-like enterprise social tool Yammer and other efforts. But unlike other players that offer just one or two enterprise software products (and are therefore limited in linking social to every aspect of an employee's work life) Microsoft still has an extensive suite of tools -- and data -- at its fingertips.

    And yes, the way people work is changing, not just because the folks in Redmond said so. For Microsoft to succeed in the future, it not only needs to be cloud-based, but must use its assets to connect the dots, weaving together conversations and documents and presentations and serving it up in an easy-to-digest, easy-to-find and relevant context wherever employees are already working.

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