The Noisy Channel

 

Enterprise Search Done Right

June 20th, 2008 · 3 Comments · General

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.

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daniel Tunkelang // Jun 21, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Clarification: I realized after posting that “search done right” is a slogan for Vivisimo, a search company that emphasizes clustering. While I know Raul Valdes-Perez from my days at CMU, neither I nor this blog has any relationship with Vivisimo.

  • 2 Dan Keldsen // Jun 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Daniel – Thanks for the coverage of our early findings here.

    I agree with your sentiment – one would think that your company and all the others in this space might be depressed by these statistics, but the reality is simply that we’re only at the beginning of this curve, and everyone has work to do to make Findability possible.

  • 3 Daniel Tunkelang // Jun 30, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Dan, I and others appreciate you having the courage to say that the emperor has no clothes. It can be depressing when Endeca’s prospects don’t understand how much they need Findability, but that’s our problem as much as theirs.

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