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While content search on intranets is improving, it has to be said that the improvement is from a fairly low baseline.  Content search within the organisation has to deal with all kinds of problems, including legacy systems, corporate silos, and lack of resources. And always, always, the comparison with Google.

Last week’s IBF online Special Interest Group on content search benefited from two excellent speakers: one from IBF, who had recently conducted research into content search, and the other an DWG member. Taken together, the recommendations and approaches discussed by both speakers and participants strike me not as rocket science, but more like the instructions for riding a bicycle: if you do a modicum of work in each area – such as carrying out basic user research, or analysing and acting on metrics, or making adequate provision for configuration and maintenance – you should be able to ride the bike without falling over.

One interesting consequence of implementing the Google tool on intranets that some organisations are now reporting is a shift in attitude and focus within the organisation: instead of blaming the search tool, people are likely to accept that the search tool is okay, and so begin to examine other potential culprits that have so far escaped too much criticism to date, such as content management.

While the Google tool is not the only one that lies behind improving enterprise search performance, the brand certainly has enough of a reputation in the search sphere to be able to change thinking. And the result is that people are often no longer saying ‘search doesn’t work’ and leaving it at that, but are concentrating on the many practical changes required to improve search.

The IBF research report on content search is available to DWG members.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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