Monday, December 5, 2011

Search Requirements Gathering

Just stumbled upon a great presentation about Search Requirements Gathering, from Michal Pisarek (SharePoint MVP). You can see the slides here.

The first thing is to acknowledge the challenge: search is perceived as something that works out of the box and magically presents users with the most amazing results. Little or no time is expected to be spent analysing the quality of results and getting a governance plan together (yes, for search!). Also, in most projects, search requirements are pretty much reduced to knowing which Content Sources need to be in place.

To me, the most important thing is to focus on the value it can deliver. Specific business driven actions that are performed within the organization on a daily basis, that can be improved using SharePoint Search. Attainable goals.

Here are some interesting statistics (Source: Google / IDC):
Each worker currently spends, on average, 9.5 hours per week searching for information. And 3 hours a week recreating content that already exists!
According to the same study, having a high-quality enterprise search implementation will reduce the search time by 50%. That's more than 4 hours a week, or half a day!

How can you achieve these results? You must know what are users searching for and the perceived time they spend doing it. You must understand what is used on a daily basis and on a monthly basis. What is working fine and what is not working at all.
That's the most important step. Then, you have the information you need to build a search configuration focused on their daily needs that can massively improve their searching ability, by filling in the gaps and giving them an integrated system where they can find what they are looking for.

There is also additional value you can push with search. In a successful implementation, users will better understand the importance of metadata, so they may take extra care when categorizing a document. Having the people search box on the right hand side of the search page, can help them realize the value of filling in their "Ask me about" data. And going into someone's profile, may show them the utility of the Organization Browser.

It is definitely a snowball.

Providing a major initial benefit for users working with the SharePoint platform (Search), can help gain buy-in from the users and you can later take advantage in other areas that, by themselves, wouldn't be powerful enough to bring users to the platform.

Another interesting read on this: Using Search Analytics (presentation).

No comments:

Post a Comment