“Think Search First” – A novel approach by Aptillon
It is a grey day here in Horsham and we have had heavy rain for the last five hours. Motivation to do anything is low and my only refuge is Twitter. But then a bright shaft of light emerges from a blog post from Matthew McDermott at Aptillon SharePoint Consulting which is entitled “Think search first – Planning your next SharePoint project”. Matthew starts with this reflection.
“Would you ever invest weeks of work into a project, and when finished throw all of the documents away with the intention of just rewriting them if you ever needed them in the future? Of course not. How about documenting steps of a process and then deleting it so no one can ever find it? That’s senseless too. The point is, I encounter this type of thinking every week when I look at SharePoint team sites and document libraries that simply “store documents.” There has been zero thought and effort put into actually finding the documents that are stored there. There is no consideration for Search.”
At the end of the post there is the comment “The more companies pay attention to search and findability the less they will have to pay in lost work and redundant effort”. Earlier today I worked out that one of my larger clients (over 100,000 employees) was spending €700 million a year assuming that employees sitting at desks only created information for an hour a day. At present the client has a SharePoint search project but no search manager let alone a search team. (I’m working on it!)
To make matters worse, it is not just SharePoint. Many companies now use Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing applications but finding the information content of the files is a nightmare unless you know exactly which file the information is in. Whether the search functionality is fit for purpose is never a consideration in vendor selection. This is a point that Matthew raises in his blog, and illustrates it with a typical scenario, but I’ve extended it more widely.
It is so rare to find this search-first approach from a vendor that I felt I had blog about it as soon as possible. I must congratulate Matthew and his colleagues at Aptillon for putting search at the heart of their service strategy. All I hope is that others appreciate the wisdom and take a more positive attitude to search in the future.