Using Lync to Make Searches Significant


TCome visit us at Lync 2013!his is where it gets real folks. Significant search!

I already Google and Bing, so what is significant search, right? Simply put, it is having more context around what the individual searcher is looking for.  An example would be, I have a guest coming and I know they LOVE peanut butter cookies.  I walk into my local grocery store and ask where I can find the peanut butter and brown sugar.  I assume the answer will be as simple as Aisle 4, but the store associate asks, “What are you making?”  We start a conversation and he proceeds to tell me about a new bakery that opened up around the corner that was recently featured on a fun cooking show as having the WORLD’S BEST peanut butter cookies.  How could I compete with that?  Let’s assume I took my search online, and when I type “peanut butter” or even “best peanut butter cookie recipes” I would get all sorts of results including search engine advertising. The local bakery that my grocer recommends may have bought my keywords and the zip code, but odds are I would ignore these as they are advertisements.  An endorsement from my local grocer, however — now that is a stamp of approval that runs deep.

We all have friends that self-proclaim themselves to be search experts.  You’ve asked them, “how in the world did you come across that?”  And they simply say  “I am really good at coming up with the right mix of words or phrases to find what I am looking for.”  The idea of significant search brings a whole new dynamic to the game. What if what you thought you were looking for was incorrect?  I was introduced to the term significant search in a February 2013 article of FAST COMPANY magazine, Reinventing Conversation with TV interviewer Charlie Rose and Twitter founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams.  Stone says, “There’s something about interacting with people that leads you down a road that sparks…” followed by Rose saying, “ Yeah. I’m beginning to see that for what I value as significant search, the right question is of supreme importance.”  This article got me thinking. How can a unified communications platform like Microsoft Lync  enable this type of significant search?  At its core, unified communications can do this by connecting people to share their web of knowledge. Most organizations have a directory of titles/roles and territories, but this is the tip of the iceberg. There is a shift toward adding more information that enables self-service navigation of the ecosystem of a company, i.e. Who can help me choose which category I should apply an expense for a client lunch? Where is the annual holiday calendar?  I am putting together a proposal for a new logo in my territory, anyone work there before that I could discuss the idea I have?

I have been spending hours upon hours doing demos of the Microsoft Experience Center where we walk organization through the this very scenario.  It is compelling and sexy if done right.  Sometimes our business rules get in the way of optimizing communications and collaboration and truly ramping up productivity.  The end user is demanding tools that are clean and simple, ones that enable them to interact with business processes in the same way as their personal devices.  At a recent partner briefing in St Louis Liz Siver, Microsoft Central Region GM, told a story about a talented young executive deciding to leave an organization because he could not communicate with the company using his chosen tools.

A few years ago this young executive would have been considered foolish. Now we are thinking the company is.

Stay tuned for more information from the Microsoft Lync Conference 2013. Follow the coverage on Twitter with #lyncconf2013 and come find me at Aspect’s Booth #8 for a demo. Just follow the sidewalk signage!

Colleen Sheley, Microsoft Alliance and Business Development Manager for Aspect’s Microsoft Professional Services Team, is responsible for the National Systems Integrator (NSI) partnership relationship management as well as the overall Microsoft field relationships across the US for Aspect’s SI team. Areas of focus include: Microsoft Experience Center (Certified MEC facilitator), innovation, strategy and planning, lead generation, business development, program development and design, and field marketing.    

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