The world as I see it is divided into two distinct groups of individuals. There are ‘pilers’ and there are ‘filers’.
A ‘piler’ creates a single folder and then piles everything they can into this one location. Unfortunately, this generally means that when they come to try and find something they must waste an inordinate amount of time sorting through the ‘pile’. You typically know you are a ‘piler’ If you have hundreds and thousands (most typically being unread) emails in your inbox with no other folders for mail.
Conversely, a ‘filer’ is someone who likes to create lots and lots of folders to organize information, even if the folders are empty. They then like to place the information many levels deep within this folder structure. Unfortunately, when it comes to finding information ‘filers’ can have as much trouble as ‘pilers’ simply because they can’t remember where they actually put the one thing they are looking for. In essence their extravagant organizational system falls down.
Luckily, technology can come to the rescue of both ‘pilers’ and ‘filers’. The real solution is search, since it treats ‘pilers’ and ‘filers’ the same. If you stop and consider how you locate information on the Internet, you typically type a few terms into a search engine and go from there. But now let me ask you, how do you find information inside your business? Do you have any global searching ability within your business like you do the Internet?
The answer for most businesses is no. This is a strange answer when most businesses consider their own information far more important than what is available on the Internet, yet they have no strategy for search within their organization.
Sadly, many businesses may not realize that they already have components within their infrastructure to improve internal search services. If you are running a modern Windows server somewhere within your organization you can typically enable a search service as part of that servers role. Once that role is enabled it can index information stored on that server and provide that directly to workstations via Windows Explorer.
Alternatively, if a business has SharePoint available they have an intranet that provides search capability across information saved inside it. There is also a free addition for SharePoint, known as Search Server Express, that allows the searching of not only SharePoint data but data stored in network shares. It can then surface this information via a simple web page.
Even if a business has neither of these in place, Search Server Express is a free download from Microsoft and can be installed on most current Windows server platforms.
The most important thing that businesses should appreciate is that implementing a search strategy within their business is an increasingly important method of allowing them to remain competitive and productive in today’s commercial environment. The faster employee can find information the faster they are able to complete their work. In many cases, a basic strategy can be implemented quickly and at a low cost. So there should be no reason why you business isn’t considering an internal search strategy if they don;t already have one.