Recent study shows that SharePoint has room for improvement in its search functions

sharepoint has room for improvementA recent study conducted by MindMetre and Smartlogic was commissioned to understand how SharePoint was meeting expectations of organizations utilizing SharePoint to quickly find information. This study points out that SharePoint is still falling behind in terms of search functionality. Although numerous users have pointed out SharePoint’s faults in this area, there are still many areas in which SharePoint could improve; as this reports title suggests, “SharePoint: “Shows huge promise…Could do better…”” Thus we can see that it is not all bad news.

The key findings, based on those surveyed, in this report are as follows:

  • SharePoint “is the clear frontrunner in terms of enterprise collaboration” and is the chosen platform 53% of the time.
  • Three quarters of users rank SharePoint important in helping them eliminate the possibility of work duplication.
  • 80% of SharePoint users are disappointed with the platforms ability to meet their expectations of satisfactorily accessing internal information.
  • 46% of SharePoint users feel that enterprise search is “somewhat short of their and their colleagues’ original expectations” and 34% of users state that “SharePoint is failing to meet expectations by a considerable margin.”
  • 25% of SharePoint users think that “less than half of the information assets in their organization are searchable.”
  • Over 60% of SharePoint users feel some degree of disappointment with their return on investment.
  • Lastly, for SharePoint to really deliver on its potential, “specialist applications need to be bolted on to the platform, particularly for enterprise search.”

The study concludes that within enterprise search it might be impossible to find what one is looking for. To increase the chances of finding information, the report points out conventional methods require that documents use metadata. But they show that metadata has shortcomings in that it cannot return results based on the implied meaning of the search as terms and combination of terms could have different meanings. Thus this report suggests that “for most organizations, adopting a ‘semantic’ approach to enterprise search ? one that takes into account context and intended meaning ? can be key to enabling ‘findability’.” The report further goes on to state that the semantic approach can then “be used to drive a metadata classification process.” The authors in the end state that “while SharePoint may not yet be delivering the results that information professional want or expect, with the addition of a semantic model it can make the transition from ‘could do better’ to ‘top of the class’.”

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