7 tips to improve information retrieval in your company
Finding information and documents is becoming increasingly relevant. This article explains how to optimize the search in your own company.
The amount of data in the company is increasing and increasing. Over the last few years, more and more data silos have also been introduced, making it more difficult to retrieve information in the company. This article is about how to increase the retrievability of documents in the enterprise.
One challenge that every company faces, regardless of size, is finding relevant information and documents efficiently and quickly. Directors and managers know how important it is for their employees to be able to quickly access the data they need. For this reason, they often invest in a well-structured filing system to improve findability. However, despite rules and guidelines, employees often file their documents differently. Problems arise especially when the amount of data increases and the previously considered structures reach their limits. A powerful search function therefore helps to increase company productivity, minimize frustration and facilitate decision-making.
If you feel dissatisfied with your company’s current search function, whether it’s in your DMS, intranet or email program, there are ways to improve it. Here are 7 tips that can help you do just that:
1. Use a dedicated enterprise search solution.
Although it is possible to use general search tools such as Bing for internal searches, these are not optimally tailored to the specific needs of a company. In addition, many data silos have their own search functions, which are often inadequate. This is because they are often mandatory by-products rather than real features. In comparison, enterprise search engines, which are designed specifically for the needs of the enterprise, offer significant added value. They enable indexing and searching of relevant content types such as documents, emails and databases, and provide a much better user experience. They are also able to solve challenges that more general solutions cannot address across data silos, such as specific language requirements, access rights management and centralization.
2. Clearly define the scope of your search.
Before you embark on implementing a new search solution, you should be clear about what you want search to do and why. What exactly is your team looking for? Is it related to specific project documents or do you want the ability to search through emails from a specific time period? Or is it about searching chat messages? By defining the focus of your search, you can select the appropriate tools and configure them accordingly with guidance from the vendor. Thus, you’ll be able to achieve the results you want.
3. Implement best practices for search.
There are several effective methods that can improve the performance of your search. One of them is using descriptive file names and associating relevant metadata such as tags and categories to help the search tool recognize the context of the content. However, it’s important to note that modern search tools prioritize document content and rely less and less on manually assigned metadata through the use of AI and automatic tagging capabilities.
4. Use filters and facets to refine the results.
When users search for something, it is often difficult to filter out the relevant results from a long list of hits. To make this easier, you can narrow down the results by using filters and operators. For example, you can allow users to filter results by file type, date, or author. In addition, modern technologies such as Natural Language Processing allow modern providers to answer user questions based on their data set and provide an entirely new search experience.
5. Train your users.
One issue that many employees struggle with is adjusting daily workflows when integrating new software solutions. It’s important to make sure your users know how to use your search tool properly and effectively. This may mean giving them the opportunity to read documentation (often provided by vendors), training, or making sure the search interface is intuitive and easy to use. By investing in user training, you can ensure that your employees are making the most of your search solution, increasing productivity and efficiency within the organization.
The ability to provide help or support functions within the search interface also helps to ensure that your users find solutions to problems and ambiguities quickly and independently.
6. Make your search reachable
It is important to ensure that search is easily and quickly accessible. If you leave it to the employees to put a link on the desktop themselves, the use of the search engine depends heavily on the skills and will of the users. A better solution is to install the search in a highly visible place on the intranet, the DMS or via group policy as the default start page, this increases visibility and therefore usage of the software. many vendors additionally offer options for integration with various tools such as TeamsApps, Outlook add-ins or desktop applications.
7. Allow feedback on the search function
IMPORTANT: Give your employees the opportunity to provide feedback on the search function and incorporate it into improvements.
One of the most important aspects of improving search in your organization is getting your employees involved. They are the ones who work with the search function on a daily basis and know best what challenges they experience. To ensure that the improvements you make actually solve the problems your employees have, you should give them the opportunity to provide feedback on the search function. This can take the form of surveys, feedback forms, or regular meetings. Employee feedback can also help you define the necessary scope of the search (point 2).
By taking your employees’ feedback seriously and incorporating it into the improvements, you can ensure that the changes meet the actual needs of your employees, helping them to do their jobs more efficiently and successfully. Consequently, the acceptance of the optimizations increases because employees feel included and know that their concerns are being taken into account. A regular exchange about the search helps your team to constantly improve processes and increase productivity.
Improving search in your company requires resources, especially if you rely on solutions that leave a lot of room for configuration. Nevertheless, much can be improved through the implementation of a search engine, especially in the area of employee experience, which has become increasingly important in recent years.