Azure Cognitive Search vs. IBM Watson Explorer

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Azure Cognitive Search
Score 7.0 out of 10
N/A
Azure Cognitive Search (formerly Azure Search) is enterprise search as a service, from Microsoft.
$0.10
Per Hour
IBM Watson Explorer
Score 9.0 out of 10
N/A
IBM Watson Explorer supports enterprise search with unstructured data analysis, machine learning, and content analysis to improve decision-making, support customer service or serve other business needs.N/A
Pricing
Azure Cognitive SearchIBM Watson Explorer
Editions & Modules
Basic
$0.101
Per Hour
Standard S1
$0.336
Per Hour
Standard S2
$1.344
Per Hour
Standard S3
$2.688
Per Hour
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Azure Cognitive SearchIBM Watson Explorer
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Azure Cognitive SearchIBM Watson Explorer
Top Pros
Top Cons
User Ratings
Azure Cognitive SearchIBM Watson Explorer
Likelihood to Recommend
8.2
(2 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
Azure Cognitive SearchIBM Watson Explorer
Likelihood to Recommend
Microsoft
Incredibly robust software for an enterprise organization to plug into their application. If you have a full development resource team at your disposal, this is great software and I highly recommend it. Largely, however, you won't be able to use this prior to the enterprise level. It's just too complicated and cumbersome of a product.
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IBM
The Watson Explorer is great because it potentially replaces a meriad of other low-level analytics products that we would need to use for data analytics and data mining. WEX isn't really suitable much beyond doing text and data analytics and performing machine learning, so if your team doesn't really have a use-case that fits all of these categories, it is worth looking at an alternative.
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Pros
Microsoft
  • Azure Search provides a fully-managed service for loading, indexing, and querying content.
  • Azure Search has an easy C# SDK that allows you to implement loading and retrieving data from the service very easy. Any developer with some Microsoft experience should feel immediate familiarity.
  • Azure Search has a robust set of abilities around slicing and presenting the data during a search, such as narrowing by geospatial data and providing an auto-complete capabilities via "Suggesters".
  • Azure Search has one-of-a-kind "Cognitive Search" capabilities that enable running AI algorithms over data to enrich it before it is stored into the service. For example, one could automatically do a sentiment analysis when ingesting the data and store that as one of the searchable fields on the content.
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IBM
  • Free to try - It's possible to use most of the useful features of Watson Explore on their trial/demo accounts.
  • Super well-designed data analytics tool - Most of the tools and features of the explorer are really useful, and truly help you fully understand the depth of any format of textual data.
  • Extensive sources compatibility - WEX can retrieve data from a large range of sources, and the compatibility there is quite good as well.
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Cons
Microsoft
  • It's an enterprise level product so you need to have the budget for it.
  • Challenging-to-impossible for a non-technical administrator to implement.
  • It further locks you into Microsoft's ecosystem and doesn't play well with non-Microsoft software. Depending on your point of view, this can be a pro or a con.
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IBM
  • Support is just OK, like most of the other IBM Watson products. The setup/integration is really hands-on, but it's also problematic because support later may take a considerable amount of time.
  • UI could still use a little more improvement - part of the administration and sources dashboards are hard to navigate.
  • The Application Builder is a great part of the product, but hard to learn/understand - this is where we needed the most support from IBM and tutorials/documentation.
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Alternatives Considered
Microsoft
As I've mentioned, the biggest competitor to Azure Search is actually Azure SQL Database. It doesn't have as many features, but it's more economical and most .Net applications will have one already. As long as you can arrive at a schema and ranking strategy, it's a "good enough" solution. There are a variety of search technologies (Lucene, Solr, Elasticsearch) that implement a search service. Some of them are even open source, though I would only say "free" if you do not value your time. They most likely need to be hosted via Container (or VM if you're old school), so you're incurring DevOps costs to not only set them up but monitor and maintain them yourself.
If you're already on AWS, there is almost no reason to use Azure Search. Unless you're already multi-cloud, desperately need the cognitive abilities, and don't mind a potential performance hit from looking across datacenters (hey, it could happen), you should probably just use Amazon CloudSearch.
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IBM
Google Cloud offers a Natural Language product, but it is just an API. This API doesn't offer the useful visualizations of relations, analytics, and graphs that IBM Watson Explorer offers on their interface. For this reason, we chose to go with IBM WEX. For later stages of our production, we decided to use Google's NLP API because we found that it was quick to integrate into production after studying data and developing models using IBM WEX.
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Return on Investment
Microsoft
  • Our internal market research illustrates that users are finding their desired information faster on account of autosuggest.
  • Time spent on checkout page (for conversions) is significantly decreased.
  • Clicks required on checkout page (for conversions) is significantly decreased.
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IBM
  • Positive - Trial/demo period. This was really useful for us to figure out what features of WEX we liked most and how difficult it would be to integrate WEX into our workflow.
  • Negative - On-boarding was long and almost always requires support from IBM support, unlike most other products this advanced.
  • Positive - WEX replaced a large selection of alternative products we would have to use for the same functionality, and having all of that function in one place was definitely helpful.
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