ROI FACTORS IN SHAREPOINT 2010 # 2: CORPORATE SEARCH SERVER

Posted on 11/15/2011

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Time is consumed searching and getting information from documents.

I will not repeat what has been written in the Panorama # 1 (Corporate Desktop) and I will focus on the specifics of the search services in Sharepoint 2010 and their ROI factors.

This is the second panorama in the order I choose, and (like all of them) is an isolated prototype.

Naturally, each of them – of course – is naturally combined with each other.

THE COMPANY IS NOT A SMALLER INTERNET and the aspects of a search corporate server are DIFFERENT IN EACH COMPANY.

What is it necessary to find?

What we look for is in some kind of repository.

That is: multiple, DIFFERENT REPOSITORIES that can then be accessed simultaneously to produce an INTEGRATED RESULT will enrich each other.

A REPOSITORY INDEPENDENT search, focused on a specific business process context.

Who is searching?

Public, employees, external near the company (suppliers, clients, consultants, business partners).

What I expect from my search?

In each case we’ll see but I know I need performance, security, discrimination, management and integration.


BENEFITS

Time Savings


In any day of any company employees spend a considerable amount of time searching for information.

It is inconceivable to think about productivity without considering the issue.

The corporate search server provides how to QUICKLY LOCATE (PRIORITY-BASED AND CRITERIA FILTERED) current material.

Just as can it search for terms can search for people (experts, customers, etc.) too.

A good measure of the carried out publishing disappears.

IT IS 1 TEXT BOX, THE EXPERIENCE IS CUSTOM, LEARNING IS IMPROVED AND THE USER SEARCHS WHILE TYPING.


Multiple Repositories / Single Environment


Regardless of the number of repositories used by companies (a number close to half a dozen including intranets, email, wikis, CRM, ERP, shared folders, databases, applications, etc.) the INDEXING mechanism works like a funnel unifying all.

This does not exclude to handle performance issues partitioning the process into what is called FEDERATED SEARCH.

As usual in Sharepoint the right information is found via an intelligible and standard way in one place and under Web platform.

At any time, any member of the organization, anywhere.

LEARNING IS ONE AND THE SAME FOR ALL AND PREVENTS DUPLICATION.

The legal or protocolled material of the company is automatically exposed and identified only by adding it.

New Search Sources


In the surprise era search is no exception: the flexibility in incorporating indexing sources provides results that adds a new source of knowledge.

Linking related information from various sources creates a new way of improving the decision-making mechanisms.

Information Transfer


In companies of international significance are natural the “information silos” promoted by barriers such as language, country, area or division, will or availability of resources of the publishers, etc.

The integration of information removes these barriers with total control. Let us remember that SharePoint 2010 has native support for more than 40 languages.

Priorities Management and Visibility


This is a key issue in corporate terms: the promotion of results, their control and the efficient mechanisms to achieve this naturally.

Each enterprise search project is DIFFERENT.

You can adjust the RELATIVE
WEIGHT to be used to find the results and create custom models for classification to return the results that the user is waiting.

For example, perhaps you prefer to give more weight to documents than to video files.

Risky Information Management


All the indexed information is ALWAYS BOUND TO THE SECURITY MODEL and their visibility controlled for that reason.

NO ONE can get information to which their access is not allowed.

Bi on Search


The search operation analytics are subject to analysis of data operations: more searched terms, most active users, times of greatest load, etc.

It allows generating dashboards representing operational aspects of the Corporate Search Server.

By controlling the amount of users using the system, tracking the number of different documents that are opened through search and through observation of the complexity of the queries we can estimate the level of information that users are expecting to find through searches.

It allows:

  • Learn what users are looking for and how such interests change over time.
  • How to find what they are not finding (spelling, vocabulary problems, etc.)
  • Perhaps a search for products or services not yet offered and you have got an opportunity.
  • Customer service can detect a rise in complaints about a specific technical problem or product.
  • What a key client is looking for.
  • Content owners can check if the terminology used is in correspondence with the search.
  • Improve the site navigation.
  • Etc.

Promotes Information Publishing


Aside from strengthening the use of the intranet Corporate Search Server invites – just because of its simplicity – to expose content stored in locations being indexed.

Corporate Search Server Components


Crawler / Indexer

The foundation of everything: just a process – without State – builds and stores the index in the crawling database.

There may be multiple instances of this component within an APPLICATION SERVICE for improved search performance but always using the same database.

Crawling database

All information in the indexing process is here and only here (It keeps what should be indexed and what has been indexed).

Query Component

The query component or query server applies the security, the best bits (in the way of Bing or Google), the relevance (using all available information including rankings and taxonomies), eliminates duplicates, etc.

We still have the ability to create multiple instances of a query component for redundancy purposes.

Index partition

Each query component creates an index partition.

The ratio – in consequence – is one to one relationship between the component and the partition.

The index partitions can be mirrored to improve the queries or prevent failures.

Properties Database

At the time of crawling all the information related to security and metadata associated with the indexed material is stored on the properties database.

It allows:

  • The refinement of the search
  • The search security integrated to Sharepoint

Administration COMPONENT

It manages the instance of the SEARCH APPLICATION SERVICE, is responsible for initiating the crawlers and tells it what to look for.

If the administration component believes that a crawler is down, assigns their tasks to another crawler server on the farm.

ADMINISTRATION DATABASE

It is worth noting that there is a search administration database and principal users responsible for managing the information associated with the configuration and topology of the SharePoint Search Service.

There will only be an instance of this database for each instance of SEARCH APPLICATION SERVICE to store all its configuration information.

Scales


SharePoint Foundation 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (SPF) is a free download platform that includes search capability.

Fairly Basic limited to Sharepoint content, without search scopes, or refinement or similar. In the categories described above, is at the entry level, already integrated with SharePoint.

Free for free consider the choice of using Search Server 2010 Express for the search in this case, since it is also free.

Search Server 2010 Express

Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express (MSS Express o MSSX) is a free and downloadable independent search offer. It is designed for tactics search applications and small-scale (such as departmental sites) that require little or no IT cost and effort.

It offers faceted search navigation, more relevant and much more.

Search Server 2010 Express is an independent (not Sharepoint) entry level product. It is limited to one server up to 300,000 items. It lacks many of the capabilities of SharePoint Server, such as taxonomy and search for people and experiences, not to mention the capabilities of FAST. But it may be sufficient choice for many departments that require a simple search.

If you have little or no budget and needs an immediate and simple search, use it without thinking. It’s a fast implementation, easy to administer and free.

You may always improve later.

Search Server 2010

Microsoft Search Server 2010 (SMS) has the same functional capacity of Search Server 2010 Express, with scale up to 10 million items per server and 100 million items in a system using multiple servers.

It’s not free, but the cost per server license is low.

It’s a great way to develop applications that start with Search Server 2010 Express and grow (as often happens).

It is an independent product level infrastructure and lacks some capabilities that are available in SharePoint Server 2010, as support for taxonomy, people and experience search, labeling, and search refinement by social characteristics.

In most cases it makes more sense to use SharePoint Server 2010.

SharePoint Server 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (SP) includes a complete (OOB) solution in the intranet that provides a robust search capability.

The new capabilities now include faceted navigation, people and expertise, phonetic management, social tagging, social search, query hints, direct edition in the browser, and more.

SharePoint Server 2010 has greatly improved scalability architecture allowing growing in volume and performance.

It is a great choice for intranets, people search, and search applications.

This is a fully functional search solution that is customizable, extensible and fits to most organizations.

It is not yet the best option to search Sharepoint offers, since Fast has been integrated into the platform.

FAST Search Server 2010 FOR SharePoint

Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint (FS4SP) is a new product.

This is a high-end corporate tool, which provides a superior search experience OOB with the flexibility to be customized for different needs at virtually unlimited.

It is remarkably easy to deploy and operate compared to other equivalent level search offerings and provides high quality search, integrated with SharePoint.

FAST Search for SharePoint is essentially a combination of SharePoint Search and FAST Search in a hybrid form as well as several new features and capabilities.

This implies changes in the API, administration and management. But the biggest differences are in the available functionality: a visual and contextual search experience, advanced content processing, including metadata extraction, multiple relevance profiles, more options and more control of the user experience, extreme capabilities of scale, etc.

FAST Search for SharePoint fulfills the objectives of SharePoint Server on a larger scale but providing greater capacity through new features (e.g. user context.)

Particularly suitable for applications of high-value search.

Finally

Not all search benefits produces a previously visible ROI but the idea is that rich search mechanism often results in increased sales, better customer retention performance and money savings by improving employees productivity by better information found earlier.

To not extend this note I have not referred to the USER INTERFACE SEARCH ELEMENTS, which are many, very practical, simple to use and extensible; for it I suggest visiting the very interesting and comprehensive review on http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh144966.aspx and the general list of Web Parts by Laura Rogers at http://www.sharepoint911.com/blogs/laura/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=676af157-7d96-4e15-a987-54b8a3e4d948&ID=44

I neither wanted to go too much into infrastructure issues whose diagrams (in English, very interesting all) are in http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263199.aspx , specially “Search Technologies for SharePoint 2010 Products”, “Search Environment Planning for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010”, “Search Architectures for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010” & “Design Search Architectures for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010”.

Enough for now, soon I’ll go on with my next panorama: groupware kit.

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