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 Making Information Strategy Real - Can you do it?

I've found myself talking about Information Strategy a lot lately.  I'm not a strategy consultant - I'm a search nerd focused on building great software products. So I've been surprised at how much positive feedback I've received on this subject and at what I've learned recently.

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The Ignite Conference last week was exhilarating. There is a torrent of new, great content, with 950 sessions including 635 full breakouts - and all of it is freely available on Channel 9 (or will be by the time you read this). I'm still working my way through the 103 sessions I marked as "must watch"….might take awhile.  

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A tsunami of new capabilities and content

I'm still recovering from an incredible week at Microsoft's Ignite conference.  There is SO much to talk about!
 
Since it was the first Ignite, combining the SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync conferences with TechEd and more, nobody knew quite what to expect and where the balance of training and launch event would land.  Ignite was huge, with over 23,000 attendees, and extremely broad.  

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Apache Interactive Case Study

Apache Corporation was no stranger to the struggle that many enterprises face when it comes to finding content across the enterprise. Wasted time and loss of productivity led them to search for a solution to this ever-growing problem, which resulted in them partnering with BA Insight.

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Gone are the days where customers could be supported by posting a phone number and email address, and then letting support representatives drive resolution directly. Customer portals are an expected and necessary tool in the war chest of effective support organizations. The effectiveness of these portals can go a long way in increasing representative efficiency and reducing the overall volume of issues. 

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Search out of the box

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft offered a significant increase in Search functionality that might suggest that it is the ultimate Enterprise Search solution. Companies like to think about SharePoint 2013 Search as a “working out of the box” solution, rather than a platform.

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AIIM Survey

The AIIM Industry Watch Survey titled, “Connecting and Optimizing SharePoint – Important Strategy Choices” was recently released. It surveyed 422 AIIM members about their adoption of SharePoint. The stats and key findings reported by AIIM correlate with our research. There is a need and want within organizations to enhance SharePoint further to become a true search-driven intranet portal.

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In the final part of this series, I'll introduce and discuss the User Experience pillar. This is the easiest of the four pillars for everyone to understand because it relates to the topics involving the search user interface (UI). The user interface is what your users interact with, so it's really important that it provides a great experience from a usability and visual perspective.

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Due to the popularity of Google in the consumer world, many bring that as the analogy of what they are looking for in the enterprise. Beyond the more than 3,000 engineers that Google has working on their Search algorithms, ranking, and relevancy of results, there are many other ways that you simply cannot compare Google to your internal Intranet search. 

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It seems that hybrid is everywhere these days. As I write this, SPTechCon is happening in Austin http://www.sptechcon.com. Arpan Shah of Microsoft just did a keynote in which he emphasized successful hybrid scenarios in which people are unaware where documents or data are being stored. Hybrid was featured in sessions by my friends Christina Wheeler, Christian Buckley, Ben Curry, and Jason Himmelstein. Hybrid was also a theme in the "SharePoint at the Crossroads" panel which included BA Insight's own Joel Oleson, along with other famous SharePoint experts.

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According to a recent IDC survey, unstructured content such as email, videos, and documents accounts for 90% of all digital information. Gaining value from this content should be an organizational goal, but few companies are actually obtaining the value that they should from this content – which is just sitting there waiting to be delivered.

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It is estimated that only 35% of customers are running SharePoint 2013. A majority are still running SharePoint 2010, and others are still running even earlier versions of SharePoint (Forrester Research 2014 Global Usage Survey).

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In the first part of my blog on the Information Enrichment pillar, I discussed how autoclassification can be a power tool in providing your users a more meaningful search experience by tagging content with the right set of terms to drive findability and relevancy. In this follow up blog, I'll discuss metadata expansion, which is another form of information enrichment.

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This is the traditional time of year for us 'experts' to look ahead and make predictions, as well as look back on whether last year’s predictions were on track or not. I'm new to this habit, so I can't report on whether my crystal ball has been working or not….but no time to start like the present. 

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When I talk to SharePoint Administrators about metadata, a typical use case is that of a user uploading a document to a library.  As part of the upload process, the user is asked to populate several fields which classify the document with attributes like Department, Product, Security Level, and the like. 

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