Planning for SharePoint 2013 search

This is the title of the October report for members of The Search Circle. Agnes Molnar co-authored the report with me and it was a pleasure to work with such an experienced search consultant. Our aim was to highlight both the benefits and challenges of migrating to SharePoint 2013 search from either of the two search applications in SharePoint 2010. For organisations running FS4SP there are some fundamental changes to the architecture of SharePoint 2013 search, all designed to provide a better user experience through customisation of the search results.

For organisations running the Standard CAL Search Server the leap in functionality and complexity is very significant and there is unlikely to be any prior experience within the IT team. Running SharePoint 2013 search almost certainly requires a team of three people, excluding an overall search manager. Take a look at the mathematics behind customised search ranking and ask yourself if  anyone on the team understands BM25F.

There is no doubt that searching for content managed by SharePoint 2013 will be a much better experience than in SharePoint 2010 though only if there is an adequate governance strategy (for example to cope with metadata schemas for each Site Collection) and staff resources. Using SharePoint 2013 to index and search other repositories is more of a challenge with the loss of the Push API and not having the same ability to manage the way in which search results are presented and previewed.

In the Search Note we have highlighted some of the major changes between SharePoint 2010 search and SharePoint 2013 search and set out ten recommendations that organisations would do well to consider as they start planning the search migration. A good place to start is the set of videos that Agnes has developed on SharePoint 2013 search.

Martin White