Over the past few years, the concept of enterprise search has grown from a nice-to-have idea borrowed from the Internet to a solution that fundamentally changes the way organisations function and access information. Yet, many companies are still not capitalising on the search capability already installed in their organisations.

An example of such underutilisation is found in the integrated enterprise search functionality of Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server 2007. Steven Magid, knowledge management specialist at Intervate, explains that although a large effort has been made to design systems that expertly store and capture content, little emphasis is placed on easy retrieval of that content, an essential component of any information management strategy.
According to Microsoft's Rory Headon-Weeks, a 2007 South African market analysis on intranets and portals found that searching for information was the most important capability of the corporate intranet. The same study showed that despite the fact that most respondents had deployed Office SharePoint Server 2007, 86% were not effectively using enterprise search functionality.
"The reason for this underutilisation is that the default deployment configuration of SharePoint Search is designed to quickly provide a platform for designing and delivering Enterprise Search solutions and does not provide an out-the-box best practice optimisation," explains Magid. "Search needs to be treated as a separate component of a SharePoint implementation, with its own planning, testing and monitoring in order to deliver optimal value to business."
US research company IDC reports that an employee typically spends an average of two hours per day searching for information. Cutting this time wastage is clearly an area where improvements in enterprise search capabilities can lead to substantial increases in productivity.
Intervate's SharePoint Search Optimisation programme is a rapid search optimisation process designed to correctly configure SharePoint's search functionality and significantly improve its effectiveness. Implementing the programme requires no new software installation and corporate licensing is not affected.
"The optimisations we implement consist of proven best practices and entail a number of no-code, pre-defined areas of improvement for existing implementations," adds Magid. "This empowers organisations to extract additional value from their existing SharePoint investments and reduces delays in locating important information."
Intervate's SharePoint Search Optimisation programme leverages SharePoint's existing search capabilities to deliver a best practice configuration with little additional investment required. The programme takes only five business days to deliver and focuses on education and awareness, content optimisation, search results presentation and optimisation, and enhanced search capabilities.