ACIS Search Profile Manager (ACIS-SPM)

The ACIS -SPM is a licensed program product that is developed by ACIS Consulting to enable multiple Clients to share one common FAST Search index to implement a custom designed website search function.

Using ACIS-SPM, Clients are able to quickly configure and deploy a customized search service offering on their website that is tailored to meet their customers’ needs while at the same time leveraging the most advanced capabilities of a world leading search technology.

This mid-layer search based application enables each Client department to decide on the branding, look and feel, and what search interaction functions to present to their end users.

Large enterprises with multiple departments or multiple affiliate websites can achieve a significant amount of cost savings by avoiding the costs associated with multiple departments implementing their own variation of a search solution for their website, thereby “re-inventing the wheel” multiple times.

Implementing Enterprise search as a shared service also has the added benefit of standardization, leveraging search best practices and provision of a centralized malicious content detection function.

The following provides a real life example of leveraging the FAST Search + ACIS SPM Solution to provide a search experience that offers a consistent User Interface style look and feel while at the same time offering search interaction features that match the presented content.

Three different screen shots are shown below from three different Ontario Government websites that use the ACIS SPM to access one common FAST search index:

For illustration purposes, we enter the same search term “licence plate” at three of these locations.

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    FAST Search Results Illustration

    1)The main site presents search results from all Client websites, categorized by various facets including content type, communities organizations etc.
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    FAST Search Results for Newsroom

    2) The Ontario newsroom website presents current and archived news from all ministries. Also offers RSS feed of these search results and thumbnails for multimedia news content. News results are categorized by date.
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    FAST Search Typeahead suggestion

    3) The Service Location Finder application features the type ahead suggestion to display list of services that include the keywords “Licence Plate”. If users select one of the suggested services, then they are immediately directed to the landing page for the selected service, bypassing the search results listing page.

ACIS SPM Solution Architecture

The solution architecture that is required to implement the above shown capability consists of four layers:

  1. The data sources layer representing all of the websites,databases, fileshares etc. from which FAST will be retrieving the content to be indexed
  2. The FAST index layer that represents a single unified search index into which all of the retrieved content has been normalized and mapped.
  3. The ACIS-SPM mid-layer that is used as interface layer between the search user interface and FAST searc hengine, also manages multi-user configuration.
  4. Search User Interface presentation layer that is tailored and configured by each client.
ACIS Search Profile Manager

ACIS Search Profile Manager Architecture

Key SPM functions:

  • Multi-user search and search results management – each Client department can define its own look and feel and branding so the search results presented look exactly the same as the rest of the website style.
  • Define search profile and business rules – each Client department can define the search profile parameters that include ranking rules, what search views to use, and location of search results template etc.
  • Define default set of collections to search – all of the content that is indexed by the FAST search engine is typically organized into multiple logical collections based on content type, content sources or other role based business classification. Each department can decide which collections should be included in the search results based on relevance of its content to the end customers. For example: the sales department may be more interested in a collection that contains product brochure material while the support department might be more focused on technical specification and customer FAQs.
  • Formatting of search parameters – is a core function of SPM. The FAST query language requires that the query string formatting follows a strict syntax. For advanced search implementations with multiple search parameters this can be a rather complex undertaking. The SPM query processor function is used to automatically format these search parameters. For installations with multiple departments, the efficiency that is achieved by implementing SPM can easily cost justify the licensing costs.
  • Formatting of search results – is a core function of SPM. Results returned from the FAST Query Server are formatted to meet each department’s search results presentation requirements.
  • Query keyword cleansing and malicious content filtering – an important function of the SPM is its provision of one centralized function for cleansing user query inputs to remove any injection of malicious or illegal characters. This enables organizations to conduct threat and penetration assessment only once and share this common function with all departments.
  • Selection and configuration of search widgets to be presented – faceted navigators, concept extractions, paging within search results, charts and histograms are among standard, configurable, search function widgets that can be turned on for each search profile.
  • Ranking and business rules – among the key benefits of owning an enterprise search engine is its function that enables users to decide what content should be ranked higher in the search results, based on business priorities. SPM offers a simple mechanism for each department to define its ranking and search results boosting rules. For example: This capability enables the Ministry of Health to return search results from its own website to be presented ahead of other content; without excluding results from other ministries as well.
  • Setup of authenticated search interface – for those search applications that index secure content and role based/authenticated access is required.