Over time, we quickly realize that knowledge can be difficult to find within an organization. Having a dedicated knowledge repository can be very helpful, but the true knowledge in your company usually goes beyond a dedicated place to store articles and documents. SharePoint is great for capturing knowledge through documents, blogs, wikis, discussion boards, social newsfeeds and other content, but this knowledge often gets lost over time, especially as new content is added throughout your environment. How do we harness this knowledge so that it becomes more relevant and useful for the users of your system?

One of the key foundations to a good knowledge management system in SharePoint is the definition of content types and managed metadata. This provides a global structure that can be used across your SharePoint environment and provides consistency when searching for information in SharePoint, no matter where your content lives.

Using Enterprise Keywords is an easy way for users to tag content with Metadata that doesn’t fit in the structured taxonomy. Using the Managed Metadata Service, these Enterprise Keywords can easily be moved into the formal taxonomy if and when it makes sense.

To pull all of this content together, SharePoint Search can be used to return content from across your organization into a single location. The search results page allows users to further refine their results using both your structured and non-structured metadata. A simple example of this may be in finding all training documents related to a particular topic, no matter which department they originated from.

Tapping into the knowledge of the people within your organization can provide amazing benefits. Users can complete their SharePoint profile in order to manually add skills and experience that is relevant to their job. SharePoint Search can use this information to return the relevant people for your query.

Search in SharePoint 2013 can also determine the relationship between people and the documents they have authored, making it even easier to find the right person with the skills or experience you are looking for without the need for users to keep their profile constantly up to date.

SharePoint Search out-of-the-box will provide some ranking of the results based on relevance. With some additional configuration, search can provide very specific ranking for your organization. This may be based on the age of the content, the feedback (ratings) of content received by peers, the source of the content, or even the popularity of the content.

With some initial planning and configuration, users can see the true potential in using SharePoint for finding knowledge throughout the organization.