Without a doubt, Microsoft does not support semantic search in its available search engines for SharePoint, not even with the acclaimed FAST 2010 (you can read here for further details).
And what does that mean? That websites and intranets created with SharePoint will keep undergoing the same problems:
- Problems with findability, defined here: users will keep having difficulty finding information that other people in the company wrote, due to the fact that they use words in their searches that differ from the ones in the documents.
- Problems with the analysis of demand: we know (in most cases) what the intranet contains; but the challenge is to know what the intranet should contain and which documents should be created, on the basis of users’ demands. These demands are always visible in the history of user searches (searches with no results are of particular interest, since they are repeated periodically).
- Loss of productivity: there are studies that show that “knowledge workers” (if you are reading this you are probably one of them) spend an average of 8 hours per week (20% of their workday) looking for information in their corporation (out of these, 10% spends more than 20 hours). The worse the search experience is, the less productive these hours will be.
In February 2010, a robust solution was presented which joins our semantic search engine for queries in natural language with the excellent publishing capacity of Microsoft SharePoint. The result is the Semantic Search Connector for SharePoint, a component for SharePoint that, by means of a Web Part, is able to integrate intelligent searches in natural language with corporative contents hosted in SharePoint servers.
Companies such as Sabadell Atlántico, Gas Natural, and Iberia are already using Inbenta products to improve the relevance of their searches and thus improve customer service. With this new development, all these functionalities will be available for Microsoft SharePoint users with practically no configuration or programming effort.