Searching for answers
How much time do you think people waste each day searching for information in your organization? Or recreating work that has already been done in the past? A decent, internal enterprise search solution could be a massive boost to your productivity! A corporate search solution, presented via an intranet portal, provides a single way of locating all the information, data and people/expertise in an organisation. The user simply types in their search terms, selects the search scope and hits return. The system then returns search results, sorted by relevance.
Ask any random sample of your staff for their favourite web site and the chances are that Google will come out on top. It’s no accident that the brand recently topped the list of world brands (with an estimated value of $66.4bn). People love search engines because it saves them huge amounts of time in tracking down the information and resources they need.
Enterprise Search Solutions
Stand-alone search solutions such as Automony (who acquired Verity in 2005) and Open Text have a customer base very much focused in the top-end of search requirements. Autonomy, for example, count many Government defence and intelligence organizations amongst their clients and have pioneered ‘meaning-based computing’ where intelligent search algorithms link documents with similar meaning (whether or not their keyword text matches).
Some local authorities and government bodies in the UK make use of the IPSV (Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary), which categorises documents using a specific set of standards. Many Enterprise Search Solutions have been adapted to work with these industry-specific taxonomies.
At the other end of the market, so-called ‘plug-and-play’ search solutions such as the Google Search Appliance and Thunderstone Search Appliance aim to help organizations bring together documents and web pages from all the diverse file stores, ERP systems and databases they have in their IT estate.
Integrated Portal Search with SharePoint 2007
Where being able to retrieve an invoice or purchase order from your ERP system via your intranet search function is not a priority, the basic integrated search capability of the modern portal may well suffice.
SharePoint search indexes information from all SharePoint sites, web sites, file shares, Microsoft Exchange public folders, active directory (people book) entries and SharePoint (collaboration) workspaces. The scope of searches can be customized by the administrator or user to limit the search to only relevant information sources, providing you with faster, easier-to-read results. Other, more advanced, functions such as ‘include areas’, ‘best bets’, thesaurus and word breaker help you to further refine both the index and individual search results.
Search Solutions – A Summary
Search solutions dramatically improve the efficiency of your people by saving them time searching for – and reusing – the intellectual capital of your organization. For high-end users, or those with specific taxonomies, Enterprise Search Solutions are the perfect fit. For everyone else, a portal-based, out-of-the-box search solution (properly configured) is more than sufficient.