|Image by: Phillie Casablanca - link)|
Fix it sounds so easy, but it isn't that easy. Internet search is dramatically different than enterprise search. While there are many technical differences, the biggest difference is not technical by behavioural. People creating content in the internet are creating the content with the hope that others will find it. These people, creating content on the internet, have personal incentives (marketing, personal brand, selling a product) to have other people find the content they are creating. They use many different techniques to improve the finability of their content. So, what techniques do they use to improve their content?
They tag their content, they use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) sites to improve their content for search engines. They use social media to market their material, which also improves the findability of their content. The more references to their content, the more likely the content will show up in a search result. By using social media, people are attempting to garner a loyal following that promotes their content (think free advertising). And if they can use social media to have their content cross linked and promoted by other people, the chances that more people (directly connections and indirect connections) are going to see their content, which in the end is exactly what they are attempting to do.
Let's contrast this with what happens in the enterprise. In the enterprise, employees create content typically for a specific group of people, not intending for the content to be found. In many cases, employees are not creating content to be shared. (There are exceptions but those are for specific groups setup to share corporate information, such as a corporate communications
What are some ideas on how to improve the search results in the enterprise? Incorporating social media techniques into the enterprise is one method of improving search results in the enterprise. By providing a platform for people to collaborate, share, and to tout what they are working on is just one step in improving search results. If an employee can use these tools and the search engine can learn from the enterprise social media interactions, the search results will improve. By providing these hooks, such as tagging of content, cross linking of the content, and getting more people to interact with each each other and with communities will improve the search results, much the same way social media improves the search results in the internet.
But that is not the biggest thing that needs to occur. While a technology can be put in place to allow people to interact, interactions don't occur because of the technology. Companies have to change their culture; companies have to get their employees to think from a sharing perspective. They have to create information and documents with the realization that others can find it and learn from it. Companies need to find the incentive for the employees to partipate and be active and to share.