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Azure Cognitive Search

Cloud Development | E-Commerce | Software Development

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Northwoods' Client: A multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded company and manufacturer of a wide array of outdoor power equipment products, which are built, marketed, and serviced in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Global Manufacturer Achieves 90% Reduction in Costs by Migrating to Azure Cognitive Search

This global manufacturing client needed to reduce costs associated with its legacy e-commerce search engine, which was used to store and retrieve product and technical publications data. As a longtime Northwoods client, the manufacturer’s IT group turned to us for lower cost search alternatives. Our software experts, having significant experience with Microsoft Azure Services, recommended Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search.

The Situation

  • The client was using an expensive legacy e-commerce search engine to capture and retrieve both product and technical publications data.
  • As a critical source of truth for the organization, the database was continuously accessed and queried by multiple internal and external systems to pull and present data in various ways across different business units and customer-facing websites.
  • The project required these significant features:
    • Data modeling, or logical organization of data made simple
    • Scalable, multi-site architecture to leverage content and data from any source
    • Internationalization of content in support of multiple languages
    • Faceted search 

The Solution

  • Given the complexity of the project, Northwoods’ experts proposed evaluating sample data files as a starting point to determine the best, most effective migration strategy to Azure Cognitive Search and to confirm anticipated cost savings.
  • Northwoods broke down the project into three phases, or initiatives, to simplify implementation and minimize disruption to the client’s internal team and end users.
  • Our team created two separate indexes in Azure Cognitive Search – one for products and another for documents, rather than the single, combined index that was previously used; this allows each index schema to be defined with unique properties, which has improved search results.
  • Northwoods’ experts identified all applications that were dependent upon the previous database solution, including a flagship Dealer Portal, and provided a plan to update integrations and queries to the new Azure Cognitive Search service.

The Outcome

  • Northwoods’ software experts confirmed that only 25% of the files formerly used for indexing were needed in the new Azure Cognitive Search solution, resulting in $75,000 in annual savings.
  • The move to Azure Cognitive Search has significantly improved search results, providing a more effective solution for end users and increased internal efficiency.

About Azure Cognitive Search

Azure Cognitive Search (ACS) features unique, built-in AI capabilities that enrich various types of information in order to easily identify and explore relevant content at scale. 

Particularly useful for organizations that manufacture and/or sell a large number of products, ACS uses AI and data indexing to manage complex search query results, allowing for presentation of results by document relevance, related products, proximity to a physical location, and offers autocomplete and search suggestions, and filters and faceted search that allows users to filter on various criteria.

Learn More About Northwoods' Azure Services