Home Workforce Productivity Enterprise Collaboration: Content and Search are Key

We’ve been talking lately about Enterprise Collaboration Strategy and Roadmap efforts – what they are and why they are valuable – and how a good strategy can help you get the right enterprise collaboration technology foundation in place. In this post, we’ll go into more depth on two of the areas covered in an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy and Roadmap: content and search. Content and search are virtually inseparable – content is essentially worthless if users can’t find it, and search has little value if there isn’t useful, tagged content.

Content is Everywhere
According to IDC, the compound annual growth rate of unstructured data in enterprises was 68% from 2008–2012, a number that will only grow. In addition, there are over 4 trillion paper documents in the US alone, with 880 billion added each year[i]. As these documents continue to be digitized, it only complicates the matter.

From an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy perspective, we care not only about the amount of content, but also a wide range of content characteristics. The common “who, what, where, when, how” applies to enterprise content. A sampling of content questions includes:

  • Who creates, consumes, and collaborates on content?
  • What is it? Office docs? CAD files? PDFs? Videos? Social feeds?
  • Where does it come from – internal, external? Where is it getting stored – SharePoint, network drives, thumb drives, cloud services?
  • When is it expired, retained, stamped as a record, destroyed?
  • How is content approved, published, secured, organized, tagged?

Answers to these questions help identify the types of content in your enterprise, and create a foundation for effective future organization, taxonomy and management.

Where is that document? When did I see that Activity Feed post?
Within an enterprise, we commonly find multiple document management systems, network drives, individual computers, social tools, proprietary applications and other content storage areas inside, and outside, the company. With content scattered across the organization, finding information quickly and easily becomes critically important for collaboration to be effective.

AIIM defines enterprise search as “The practice of identifying and enabling specific content across the enterprise to index, search, and display to authorized users.” When looking at search from a collaboration strategy perspective, we need to understand specifics about the content used in collaboration, so we ask questions like:

  • Where is content (such as unstructured content, social content, instant messaging content, etc.) stored?
  • How is it searched today?
  • What metadata is applied to content?
  • Does your organization have an enterprise search strategy or implementation?
  • Is content outside the organization (external collaboration platforms like Dropbox, Box, vendors SharePoint systems, Jive, Chatter) available to search?

Storing and organizing content is inextricably linked with search and retrieval. An enterprise collaboration strategy lays the groundwork for robust, effective content and search.

[i] Coopers and Lybrand

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