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SharePoint Search: Beyond eDiscovery

by Barry Murphy

I had the pleasure of conducting a SharePoint eDiscovery webinar with Patrick Burke of Reed Smith for the OLP last week.  The subject is fascinating because finding, preserving, and reviewing SharePoint content in the litigation/investigation context can be so challenging.  The metadata users add to content (e.g. workflow tasks), the web page interface that creates more native ESI than just a document, and the decentralization of SharePoint deployments make eDiscovery for SharePoint a topic unto itself.  Often lost in this topic is the issue of end-user search of SharePoint.

When I talk about end-user search in SharePoint, most people just assume that the search functionality baked in to the product (Microsoft acquired FAST Search & Transfer several years back) is enough.  In some cases, that will be correct, but in others it does not work to give business users efficient access to information.  Some companies have standardized on SharePoint as an enterprise content management (ECM) platform while others have some departments that use SharePoint for sharing files and managing specific business processes.  In either situation, the reality is that business workers store information in multiple places – SharePoint, email, network file shares, etc.  To find that information is often a frustrating task of switching from application to application only to have a subpar search experience.

Consider the screenshot below of a search experience in SharePoint:

SharePoint blog 1

Click to enlarge

The experience leaves something to be desired in that I have to execute several more clicks on the left to do any kind of filtering and, in the result set itself, it is very difficult to know if any of these are the document I am looking for because I can’t see the document itself.  I would need to open it first.  In addition, as a business worker, I probably don’t know if I should be looking in email, file shares, or SharePoint for the document I need.  I know I saw it somewhere, but can’t remember where.  In this search experience, if I don’t find what I am looking for in SharePoint, I now have to go search my email and then my file system.  It adds up to a waste of time.

Now, consider a unified, single-pane-of-glass approach:

SharePoint blog 2

Click to enlarge

In this user interface, I can search across email, files, and SharePoint.  I can see a full-fidelity preview of the attachment.  I can refine on any kind of metadata.  It is a positive search experience that is helpful and allows me to be efficient.  More and more people realize now that this unified access to information is critically important. That may be why SharePoint guru Joel Oleson said, after a X1 Search 8 product demo, “the great news is seeing unified search across the variety of platforms [email, file shares, SharePoint] in a single powerful desktop product priced very reasonably.”  It’s because business workers really do need that unified interface across all information.  To be forced to move from email to SharePoint just to run a search can be frustrating and time consuming.  For SharePoint administrators, not having to worry about a user’s search experience in SharePoint is liberating.  When business workers and IT administrators are both happy, the world is a better place.

Read Joel Oleson’s complete review of X1 Search 8 here >

 

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Filed under Cloud Data, Enterprise eDiscovery, Enterprise Search, SharePoint, Uncategorized

Dr. Michael Levitt: World Famous Scientist, Nobel Laureate, and X1 Power User

Michael Levitt Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Michael Levitt
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

Recently I had the distinct honor of speaking with Dr. Michael Levitt, a 2013 Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, and highly regarded Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University. The Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Levitt a Nobel in recognition of his research in computational biology, “for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.” He is also a “huge fan” of X1. When Dr. Levitt and I spoke, he discussed his daily use of X1 Search and how it is essential to his research and professional productivity. “X1 saves me many hours per week,” per his unsolicited email to us at X1 that initiated our dialogue, “I cannot survive without it.”

A computer-savvy scientist, Dr. Levitt relies on a Macintosh laptop with VMWare virtualization running a Windows OS, where he stores 200 gigabytes of data, including 40 gigabytes of over 300,000 emails, and of course relies on X1 to make sense of it all. “Next to my computer itself, X1 is the one tool I can’t do without,” explained Dr. Levitt.  “People use the term ‘big data’ a lot these days, but the most important ‘big data’ for me is the 200 gigabytes on my laptop that consists of decades of research, important communications with fellow academics, and other key resources.  X1 enables me to find what I am looking for instantaneously. It is a very effective interface to all of my information.”

Dr. Levitt credits X1’s lightning-fast, iterative and faceted search capability, along with X1’s reliability and stability, as enabling him to quickly and tactically sift through 200 gigabytes of emails and academic research. “X1 is an intimate part of my workflow — it is essentially an extension of my mind when I engage in information retrieval, which is many times an hour during my workday.”

In addition to locating his research and other critical data, X1 proved very handy to Dr. Levitt in managing an important email response project. “When I was awarded the Nobel, I received over two thousand congratulatory emails. I used X1 to cross reference my sent folder to make sure I replied to them all. That X1 shortcut saved me several hours alone!”

Dr. Levitt’s testimonial echoes similar sentiments expressed by many high-powered business professionals at top financial institutions, major law firms, consulting companies and science and engineering firms. They all rely on X1 to dramatically enhance their productivity by quickly locating their information amongst an ever-increasing avalanche of emails and other data.

We here at X1 extend our congratulations to Dr. Levitt for his 2013 Nobel prize in Chemistry, as well as our sincere thanks to him for reaching out to us and sharing his enthusiastic feedback on X1 search, which, incidentally, is completely gratis. “Just keep developing great software” is all he asked for in return.

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For more information about X1 Search 8, including a free 14 day trial, please visit here >

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Filed under Case Study, Desktop Search