There's a phrase - "Enterprise Search" - which summarises the next step in effective use of technologies for collaboration, data sharing and making your institutional memory more accessible. By this I mean, when anybody in your institutions publishes a piece of information that they want to share, you need to make that information available to other people in an easy way - a way that doesn't require them to remember where that information is stored. Another step in journey towards improved information availability is the expanding range of options available to help you to search your internal IT systems.
I wonder how many people know about our Search story for the enterprise? It seems that it's mostly the SharePoint enthusiasts and not many others. This is likely to change following our recent launch of our new Microsoft Search Server (MSS) 2008 - there's plenty of information on this at: www.microsoft.com/enterprisesearch
At IT Forum today Richard Riley talked us through the two flavours of search available, which are:
The big area of investment in MSS 2008 is Federation. This means that it will display the results from other search engines or applications displayed alongside local results. MSS will send a query to other search engines or data query services and format them for the user.
The benefit of Federated search is that you can anticipate that users may be intending to find a wide range of information. Somebody searching within your institution for "wi fi" could be looking for information on how to connect to your wi fi on campus (likely to be on your internal portal), or they could simply be trying to understand what wi fi means. You can also use this method to search your internal SharePoint and your own public-facing website, which may be hosted on a completely different IT system.
Some of the launch partners with connectors are OpenText, Business Objects, Cognos and Symantec plus around 10+ others.