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The Potential of Portal and Enterprise Search

 

ii3 has worked with and extensively evaluated the capabilities of Recommind, Autonomy and the Microsoft FAST search tools. When one of these search solutions is available to us within the scope of a portal project, we can maximize the scope of our design and overall solution utility for firms.

We view enterprise search as a powerful integration layer that can provide powerful access to integrated and contextualized information within a portal.  Viewed in this manner, search provides much more than “Google-like” results; it can replace vendor-specific web parts and provide rich information access to users.

Because search integrates with the firm’s key systems and information sources, it can be used to:

  1. Push information via web parts, using pre-determined search criteria (“canned” searches).  Users see these as content views, not search results, and can subscribe to topics and request notifications
  2. Target users based on who they are (personas) and where they are within the portal (a matter page, a practice page, etc.); to provide information based on their role and browsing purposes
  3. Provide rich, contextual search experiences via information analyzed by user and via system integration (eg. matter status).

The simple integration of an enterprise search tool with SharePoint replaces the portal’s native search and serves search results within the portal’s presentation layer.  It can complement existing functionality, including firm directories. This deeper level of integration substantially leverages both tools.

For example:

  1. Users benefit from search based on portal logic and location context
  2. Content management achieves a reach that would be impossible via manual means (via “push” content)
  3. Robust electronic matter file tools can be developed to leverage search for multiple matter views and content sorting
  4. Workflow (eg. matter management) combines with search to promote key content
  5. Integrated communications reduces information overload
  6. Collaboration frameworks evolve and address multiple user needs via forms of disintermediated content management

 

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