Search in SharePoint often is an afterthought. IT pays no attention to it and developers don’t often realize how it can solve business problems. If your business is wasting time looking through list after list to find a critical document, it can affect the bottom line.

Matthew McDermott, a Microsoft SharePoint MVP, believes that every hour a developer dedicates to working on search saves 100 hours of end-user time. “The developers don’t realize how powerful search is,” he told SPTechReport recently. “The end users ultimately are left behind because search ‘does not work for them.’ ”

Matthew then offered up a few key considerations for solving enterprise challenges:
• Find out what users cannot find and make it available. “I was in a search requirements meeting, and when we started, they were positive that they only had two content sources: SharePoint and File Shares,” he said. “After I showed them what search could do, what kinds of data could be crawled and surfaced in Search Center, we found eight more content sources that all have their own search capability that few use. Now they will have a centralized location for search that can search all their business systems.”
• If you are going to make users enter metadata, show them how it will improve their lives. Use search to surface the metadata with refiners and better search results. Use the metadata to drive content query and dashboards. “For example,” Matthew said, “I worked with a company on a search project and set up two metadata fields for sales documents. The salespeople were reluctant to enter the two fields of data. We built a sales leaderboard that was driven by the metadata. If the salesperson did not fill in the metadata, they did not show up on the leaderboard and did not get the recognition. Adoption rose immediately.”

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Search is a hot topic at SPTechCon San Francisco, Feb. 26-29, with more than eight sessions dedicated to getting the best use out of metadata and search, delivered by some of the top experts in those areas. Check the SPTechCon website to see the session lineup.