A recent study from AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management, also known as the Enterprise Content Management Association) reports that enterprise search frustrates and disappoints users. Specifically, 49% of survey respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that it is a difficult and time consuming process to find the information they need to do their job.
Given that I work for a leading enterprise search provider, you might think I’d find these results disconcerting, even if the report points the blame at clients rather than vendors:
But fault does not lie with technology solution providers. Most organizations have failed to take a strategic approach to enterprise search. 49% of respondents have “No Formal Goal” for enterprise Findability within their organizations, and a large subset of the overall research population state that when it comes to the “Criticality of Findability to their Organization’s Business Goals and Success”, 38% have no idea (“Don’t Know”) what the importance of Findability is in comparison to a mere 10% who claim Findability is “Imperative” to their organization.
As I’ve blogged here before, there is no free lunch, and organizations can’t expect to simply plug a search engine into their architectures as if it were an air freshener. But that doesn’t let Endeca or anyone else off the hook. It is incumbent on enterprise search providers, including Endeca, both to set expectations around how it is incumbent on enterprise workers to help shape the solution by supplying their proprietary knowledge and information needs, and to make this process as painless as possible.
Enterprise search, done right, is a serious investment. But it is also an investment that can offer extraordinary returns in productivity and general happiness. Enterprises need to better appreciate the value, but enterprise search providers need to better communicate the process of creating it.