This Beyond Search post caught my attention.  Steve Arnold does an excellent job of pointing out the deficiency’s in SharePoint  when it is used to solve full scale search problems in law firms.

Information management and even more important, finding information has become a critical business process for law firms.  Gone are the days of working files and going down the hall to Joe’s office to get the case file.  The discrepancies in discovery and the aftermath that follows can wreak havoc years after a case is settled.

Steve is correct in his assessment that firms like to buy matching bags and shoes when it comes to information solutions.  Microsoft offers SharePoint because people use Microsoft applications.  The problem is that no system perfectly renders enterprise search and experts way smarter than I have pointed out Sharepoint deficiencies beyond my comprehension.

What I do understand is that users get frustrated when a solution has been implemented and they still have to find a work around to get what they need.  If attorneys and paralegals could devote as much time to reading, analyzing and writing as they do in searching for relevant work-product firms would be well on their way to making GC’s and other clients happy.

Just because the bag matches the shoes doesn’t mean it’s going to help you find your keys in the dark.  Choose solutions for enterprise search and knowledge management that solve problems and return results.  Look beyond brand names and test the functions to be sure you can find the keys.  When it comes to search don’t suffer to be beautiful because functionality is way more important.

Constance Ard December 31, 2008