Monday, November 23, 2015

People Search ranking for dummies


I’ve gotten a few questions about how people results are ranked in SharePoint/SharePoint On-line so I thought I would give a brief overview of two of the people ranking models available and how they work. I might be off on some points as decoding the models is not all that trivial as they have been created using machine learning and they also have multiple levels and use neural networks. If that sounded Greek or geek to you, then join the club :)

I’ll present my simplified interpretation and you can take it at face value.

For each model I will list the managed properties and associated user profile properties used in the rank profile, and list them in ranking importance from highest to lowest with my relative weights to put it into perspective.

User profile properties not listed in the tables will not influence how results are ranked.

The default model – People Search application ranking model

Id: d9bfb1a1-9036-4627-83b2-bbd9983ac8a1

Managed Property User Profile Property Mikael's relative weight
JobTitle Job title 20
RankingWeightHigh Department 20
Responsibilities Ask Me About 15
PreferredName Name 10
RankingWeightName User name
Work email
+ generated permutations of first name and last name
Memberships Quick links 4
RankingWeightLow Skills
ContentsHidden Office Location
Past projects
Pronunciations First name
Last name

In addition to this there’s a ranking feature using the managed property LevelsToTop. This ranking feature counts more than the textual matching, and effectively means that if you have linked up everyone in your organization in a hierarchy with whom everyone reports to, people higher up in the chain will get priority ranking.

People Search social distance model

Id: 5df7ba10-55d6-4da1-b55f-896f7bcb486b

Managed Property User Profile Property Mikael's relative weight
PreferredName Name 10
CombinedName generated permutations of first name and last name 5
AccountName Account name 1
UserName User name 1
WorkEmail Work email 1
SipAddress SIP Address 1
Pronunciations First name
Last name

LevelsToTop also counts in this rank profile, but what counts a lot more, is how close to you people are in the organizational chart. There are two managed properties called FirstLevelColleagues and SecondLevelColleagues which trumps everything in this profile. These are people reporting the same manager as you, and one level beyond that as well. If those properties are not populated, and I have seen this in environments, then social distance will not work.