UK-based global telecom company delivers a unified search experience with BA Insight and Office 365

Published on June 4, 2020


More than 500 million customers around the world utilize this company’s products. In 30 years, this small mobile operator from the UK has grown into a global business and one of the most valuable brands in the world. They now operate in around 30 countries and partner with networks in over 50 more.

In an increasingly connected world, it’s no longer just about being able to talk and text. This organization’s network allows people to share images and videos as soon as they’re captured; to share thoughts and feelings as soon as they’re created. And because they now do more than just mobile in many markets, more customers look to them for great value in their fixed line and broadband services. They are a brand that loves change – if it’s not happening naturally, then they’re creating it themselves. They consider it in their DNA to push forward, to create a better future, to never rest, and find new ways that help people communicate. That’s the lifeblood that runs throughout them. They are driven to empower people.

This global telecom company was challenged with supplying their employees with the information they needed across their hybrid environment. With the help of BA Insight, the organization was able deploy a SharePoint search index across existing content from Office 365 and on-premise farms.


The root of the challenge faced by the employees of this organization was access to all required information via search. They had a complete hybrid environment, with information spread across Office 365, SharePoint on-premise (2013 and 2016), and Yammer. In some cases, SharePoint hybrid search integrates with SharePoint on-premise out of the box, but in their case, they needed to meet very specific security requirements. The organization had content that existed in a disconnected domain that employees needed access to via Office 365 search, and they required a solution that would allow this data to be searched while ensuring that security was properly applied. At the same time, they faced an additional challenge in which usage of Yammer was growing and employees were demanding Yammer information be returned in the same search interface they were accustomed to using.


BA Insight worked with this firm to create a vision of a complete SharePoint Online search index that included both existing content from Office 365 and on-premise farms, regardless of the domain those on-premise farms existed in, with full security validation and fidelity. The team developed an additional vision for integrating Yammer relevant results to their queries in the same result set as all other content.

The solution was a combination of the following capabilities:

  • Connectors to SharePoint 2010, 2013, and 2016 to index all historic SharePoint on-premise data, regardless of the active directory domain they existed in, and also add that content into the SharePoint Online index, with security fully respected.
  • Connector to Yammer to deliver a single search interface for Yammer conversations, along with all Office 365 and SharePoint content.


The solution delivered a unified search experience to their 100,000+ employees using a SharePoint index, which is the largest SharePoint/Office 365 index in the world, incorporating all on-premise SharePoint and Yammer content, with all complex security and active directory integration automatically handled. The deployment was a tremendous success as the organization was able to completely shift from on-premises to the cloud, saving money on infrastructure and systems management, all without any disruption to employees’ work. They even delivered new content (Yammer) with great response from the employees.

Now that the infrastructure is in the cloud, the organization has the additional resources and investment available to focus on making search the best it can be, given that they are no longer tied down managing their infrastructure and systems. They are expanding their vision to focus on integration of AI search capabilities (bots, recommendations, etc.), data classification and intelligence (creation of metadata and improved relevancy), and additional content sources (Workplace by Facebook, etc.). Their strategy, on which BA Insight is partnering with them, is to implement a continuous improvement program on search and to continually wow their users with new capabilities.

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