In the first part of this series, I introduced why Search is like gardening.
Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s see how to measure the success of any Enterprise Search implementation. The appropriate metrics have to be identified and defined in advance. Designate the team members who have a responsibility to analyze each of these metrics regularly, create reports, and decide on follow-up action plans.
The next picture shows some of the most commonly used metrics. However, of course, this list is not (and cannot be) complete. Every business has to define its own success factors and metrics during the planning phase.
When we have the plan ready, the team set up, and all the relevant metrics defined, it is time to take action. As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, Search is a continuous business process, like gardening, rather than a one-time project. Therefore, the management and action plans must reflect this long-range approach, too.
If there’s an existing Search solution in your business, analyze it, collect feedback, and listen to “user’s voice.”
Search Analytic reports can provide valuable information about users’ behavior, too. Also, check the logs for any present and permanent errors and fix them. There are many tools to extend SharePoint’s out-of-the-box reporting and analytics capabilities — it is time to use them!
User experience and metadata definitions must be reviewed and improved on an ongoing basis, too. Because every user has different information needs, and our needs might be different from query to query, defining what a good search means might also vary from person to person. The key point is to find the common needs.
One of the most popular metrics is search usage. It rests on a very simple observation: even if people start using search, they stop using it if they don’t get the desired results. Checking the usage analytics right after the release is a necessary step, but is definitely not enough. We need to keep checking these reports, analyze them, and take actions when and where needed.
The appropriate metrics have to be identified and defined in advance. Designate the team members who have responsibility to analyze each of these metrics regularly, create reports and decide on follow-up action plans.