SharePoint started in 2001 as a document management system, and that’s still one of its most important features. A key feature of a DMS is to be able to find documents. The SharePoint search engine has improved significantly over the last years. But a common misconception is that SharePoint Search works for every company straight out-of-the-box.
SharePoint Search will not suit all of your needs without configuration
Some of our customers say: We want it to work just like Google, but some of them don’t seem to understand that Google does not “just work”. Every day thousands and thousands of Google employees work on improving the search engine and adapt it to the always changing world-wide web. The same is true for Bing, it does not “just work”. In fact, we do have Bing in SharePoint. The core of the Bing search engine has been implemented in SharePoint 2013. So why does it still not fulfill all needs? Most importantly because of company specific metadata and taxonomies; even company has its own list of content types, metadata, and no site structure is the same. The SharePoint Search engine just needs some help to be able to understand the content better.
Search configuration and tweaking should be part of the project plan, and it must be understood that this takes time up-front, but also ongoing effort. I have compiled a list of 10 tips how you can make SharePoint Search work for you. I’ve added them in random order, there is no best tip as it all depends on your requirements and organisation.
Hybrid is currently a big hype. Where a year ago the cloud was the way to go and on-premises advised against, companies have now realized the cloud is not suitable for every situation. Especially government organizations or big companies are not able to migrate everything to the cloud. So, Microsoft has invested a lot in hybrid to bring the best of two worlds together: the flexibility and data sovereignty of on-premises and all the cool new features of the cloud.
Part of this is Cloud Search: Make your on-premises documents available in cloud searches, i.e. your SharePoint On-Prem documents should be visible in a search in Office 365. Until September 2015 the hybrid search was meh, it meant two different result sources / verticals. Introduced in August 2015 is the real hybrid search: search results from both on prem as well as Office 365 are combined.
I have set this up and was surprised how easy it was. As a SharePoint guru I’m used to errors, but I haven’t encountered ONE (due to software faults, errors encountered were solely my fault). And that’s pretty amazing as I’ve used SharePoint 2016 which is currently in public preview.
When the new Office 365 Planner was announced in September 2015, I was very excited. This was one of the key features I think was missing from Office 365. We are using Microsoft products only, e.g. Office 365, SharePoint, Visual Studio Online, etc., but we were still using Trello in certain projects for task boards.
It was supposed to roll out to first release tenants in Q4 2015, but it took until January 2016 before it was available at my demo tenant. And now I’m going to give you a quick overview of what Office 365 Planner is!
Office 365 Planner offers a highly visually appealing experience to organize teamwork.
Rebecca Gordon and I have presented at the SharePoint User Group in Wellington. Rebecca is a colleague at Provoke Solutions. See the Meetup for more information, download the presentation here.