Presentation: Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013

Presented by Paula Petcu and Ludvig Aldrin at Microsoft Campus Days, #cddk12, 31 October 2012, in Copenhagen Denmark.

Learn how easy it is to build powerful search experiences using SharePoint 2013.
The presentation will showcase the Search in SharePoint 2013 and provide a technical and functional walkthrough of what is new.  The presentation will take you through the out-of-box search experience, and you will get tips and tricks on how to extend the search platform to create a great custom experience for your users. Also discussed is the new search architecture and how search plays a central role in the new SharePoint 2013.

The presentation is divided into three parts. The first part will include an overview of search and will walk you through the out-of-the-box search experience, showcasing the new or improved functionalities and discussing how this affects the search experience. This part is all about finding what the users are looking for and getting answers to their questions. The new product revolves around the user more than ever, and you will be able to see this in the new search experience.

Then information about about the new search architecture, and this will make the transition to the second part of the presentation, which is all about extending. And a bit about executing queries under the new architecture and more specifically on how to extend the way they are executed.

Prior to SharePoint 2013, the only way to inspect and manipulate managed property values for items before being added to the search index was by extending the item processing pipeline in FAST Search for SharePoint. Clients using SharePoint search were out of luck as the functionality was not available to them. Now, MS has introduced three new items for content processing and enrichment: parsers, custom entity extractors, and web service callouts. These new features will be featured and one of the demoed.

But what happens next to the search engine? The third part of the presentation will be about the governance of your search solution. More specifically, it will focus on search analytics.

Presentation: The Why and How of Findability

“The Why and How of Findability” presented by Kristian Norling at the ScanJour Kundeseminar in Copenhagen, 6 September 2012. We can make information findable with good metadata. The metadata makes it possible to create browsable, structured and highly findable information. We can make findability (and enterprise search) better by looking at findability in five different dimensions.

Five dimensions of Findability

1. BUSINESS – Build solutions to support your business processes and goals

2. INFORMATION – Prepare information to make it findable

3. USERS – Build usable solutions based on user needs

4. ORGANISATION – Govern and improve your solution over time

5. SEARCH TECHNOLOGY – Build solutions based on state-of-the-art search technology

Video interview: How to Improve the Search Experience

Video interview with Kristian Norling at the Intrateam Event in Copenhagen 2012. Kristian talks about his former work at VGR and what he thinks is important for improving the search experience.

Kristian Norling

Watch the video

Search Conferences 2011

During 2011 a large number of search conferences will take place all over the world. Some of them are dedicated to search, whereas others discuss the topic related to specific products, information management, usability etc.

Here are a few that might be of interest for those of you looking to be inspired and broaden your knowledge. Within a few weeks we will compile all the research related conferences – there are quite a few of them out there!
If there is anything you miss, please post a comment.

March
IntraTeam Event Copenhagen 2011
Main focus: Social intranets, SharePoint and Enterprise Search
March 1, 2 and 3, 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark

Webcoast
Main focus: A web event that is an unconference, meaning that the attendees themselves create the program by presenting on topics of their own expertise and interest.
March 18-20 , Gothenburg, Sweden

Info360
Main focus: Business productivity, Enterprise Content Management, SharePoint 2010
March 21-24, Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, USA

April
International Search Summit Munich
Main focus: International search and social media.
4th April 2011, Hilton Munich Park Hotel, Germany

ECIR 2011: European Conference on Information Retrieval
Main focus: Presentation of new research results in the field of Information Retrieval
April18-21, Dublin, Ireland

May
Enterprise Search Summit Spring 2011
Main focus: Develop, implement and enhance cutting-edge internal search capabilities
May 10-11, New York, USA

International Search Summit: London
Main focus: International search and social media
May 18th, Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London, England

Lucene Revolution
Main focus: The world’s largest conference dedicated to open source search.
May 25-26, San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, USA

SharePoint Fest – Denver 2011
Main focus: In search track: Enterprise Search, Search & Records Management, & FAST for SharePoint
May 19-20, Colorado Convention Center, USA

June
International Search Summit Seattle
Main focus: International search and social media
June 9th, Bell Harbor Conference Center, Seattle, USA

2011 Semantic Technology Conference
Main focus: Semantic technologies – including Search, Content Management, Business Intelligence
June 5-9, Hilton Union Square, San Francisco, USA

October
SharePoint Conference 2011
Main focus: SharePoint and related technologies
October 3-6, Anaheim, California, USA

November
Enterprise Search Summit Fall Nov 1-3
Main focus: How to implement, manage, and enhance search in your organization
Integrated with the KMWorld Conference, SharePoint Symposium and Taxonomy Bootcamp,

KM-world
(Co-locating with Enterprise Search Summit Fall, Taxonomy Boot Camp and Sharepoint Symposium)
Main focus: Knowledge creation, publishing, sharing, finding, mining, reuse etc
November 1 – 3, Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington DC, USA

Gilbane group Boston
Main focus: Within search: semantic, mobile, SharePoint, social search
November 29 – December 1, Boston, USA

Customer Service Powered by Search Technology

I was on the train, on my way to Copenhagen and UX intensive a four day seminar hosted by Adaptive Path. Looking forward to this week I was also contemplating the past year and the projects we’ve been working on. I recently finished a project at a customer service organization at a large company. The objective was to see if the agents (employees) helping customers could benefit from having a search platform. Would the search engine help the users in finding the right content to help their customers?

Our point was off course that it would, but it was up to us to prove it. And we did. The usages tests showed results better than I would have dared to hope for.

  • All users found it to be easier to search for information than browsing for it.
  • Searching helped the users not only in finding information faster, but finding information they didn’t know where to find or didn’t even know existed.
  • All users preferred using the search functionality instead of navigation for information.
  • The search functionality helped new employees learn the information they needed to know in order to help the customers, hence they were productive faster.Less time was spent asking for help from colleagues and support since users found the information they needed by searching for it.

These results are all very positive, but the most overwhelming thing for me in this project was the level of engagement from the users. They really enjoyed being a part of the evaluations, bringing feedback to the project team. They felt that they were a part of the process and this made them very positive to the change this project meant.

Change is often a hard thing in development projects. Even if the change is better for the end users of the system, the change in itself can still be problematic making people hostile to the idea, even though it is improving their situation. Involving users not only helps in creating a good product, but also in creating a good spirit around the project. I have experienced this in other projects as well. By setting up reference groups for the development process we have not only managed to get good feedback to the project but have also created a buzz about what’s happening. People are volunteering for being participants in our reference groups. This buzz spreads and creates a positive feeling about the change the project is bringing. Instead of dreading the users are welcoming the change. It’s user research at its best.

So the next time you are asking yourself why you should involve users in your project and not only business stakeholders – think about how not only the end product, but the project and the process as a whole, could benefit from this.