Enterprise Search in Practice: A Presentation of Survey Results and Areas for Expert Guidance

Enterprise search in practice presentation has two main focuses. First, to present some interesting and sometimes rather contradicting findings from the Enterprise Search and Findability survey 2012. Second, to introduce an holistic approach to implementing search technology involving five different aspects that are all important to succeed and to reach findability rather than just the ability to search.

Presented at Gilbane Conference 2012 in Boston USA on the 28th of November by Mattias Ellison.

Presentation: Enterprise Search and Findability in 2013

This was presented 8 November at J. Boye 2012 Conference in Aarhus, Denmark, by Kristian Norling.

Presentation Summary

There is a lot of talk about social, big data, cloud, digital workplace and semantic web. But what about search, is there anything interesting happening within enterprise search and findability? Or is enterprise search dead?

In the spring of 2012,  we conducted a global survey on Enterprise Search and Findability. The resulting report based on the answers from survey tells us what the leading practitioners are doing and gives guidance for what you can do to make your organisation’s enterprise search and findability better in 2013.

This presentation will give you a sneak peak into the near future and trends of enterprise search, based on data form the survey and what the leaders that are satisfied with their search solutions do.

Topics on Enterprise Search

  •  Help me! Content overload!
  • The importance of context
  • Digging for gold with search analytics
  • What has trust to do with enterprise search?
  • Social search? Are you serious?
  • Oh, and that mobile thing

Enterprise Search and Findability discussions at World Cafe in Oslo

Yesterday we (Kristian Hjelseth and Kristian Norling) participated in a great World Cafe event arranged by Steria in Norway. We did a Pecha Kucha inspired presentation (scroll down to the bottom of this blog post for the presentation) to introduce the subject of Enterprise Search and Findability and how to work more efficiently with the help of enterprise search. Afterwards there was a set of three round-table workshop with practitioners, where search related issues were discussed. We found the discussions very interesting, so we thought we should share some of the topics with a broader audience.

The attendees had answered a survey before coming to the World Cafe. In which 83,3% stated that finding the right information was critical for their business goals. But only 20,3% were satisfied with their current search solution, because 75% said it was hard or very hard to find the right information. More stats from a global survey on enterprise search that asked the same questions.

Unified Search

To have all the information that you would like to find in the same search was deemed very important for findability by the participants. The experience of search is that the users don’t know what to search for, but to make it even worse, they do not know where to look for the information! This is also confirmed by the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey that was done earlier this year. The report is available for download.

Trust

Google web search always comes up as an example of what “just works”. And it does work because they found a clever algorithm, PageRank, that basically measures the trustworthiness of information. Since PageRank is heavily dependent on inbound links this way of measuring trust is probably not going to work on an intranet where cross-referencing is not as common based on our experience. Most of the time it is not even possible to link stuff on the intranet, since the information is not accessible through http. Read more about it in this great in-depth article series on the difference between web search and enterprise search by Mark Bennet.

So how can we make search inside the firewall as good as web search? I think by connecting the information to the author. Trust builds between people based on their views of others. Simply put, someone has the authority over her peers either through rank (=organisation chart) or through trust. The trustworthiness can be based on the persons ability to connect to other people (we all probably know someone who knows “everyone”) or we trust someone based on the persons knowledge. More reading on the importance of trust in organisations. How to do this in practice? Some ideas in this post by BIll Ives. Also a good read: “How social is Enterprise Search?” by Jed Cawthorne. And finally another good post to read.

Metadata

By adding relevant metadata to information, we can make it more findable. There was discussions on the importance of strict and controlled metadata and how to handle user tagging. For an idea on how to think about metadata, read a blog post on how VGR used metadata by Kristian Norling.

Search Analytics

Before you start to do any major work with your current enterprise search solution, look at the search log files and analyze the data. You might be surprised in what you find. Search analytics is great if you want insight into what the user expects to find when they search. Watch this video for an introduction to Search Analytics in Practice.

Other subjects

  • Access control and transparency
  • Who owns search?
  • Who owns the information?
  • Personalization of search results
All these subjects and many more were discussed at the workshops, but that will have to wait for another blog post!
As always, your thoughts and comments are most welcome!

The Enterprise Search and Findability Report 2012 is ready

No strategy, no budget, no resources. This is the common scenario for enterprise search and findability in many organisations today. Still Enterprise Search is considered a critical success factor in 75% of organisations that responded to the global survey that ran from March to May this year.

The Enterprise Search and Findability Report 2012 is now ready for download.

The Enterprise Search and Findability report 2012 shows that 60% of the respondents expressed that it is very/moderately hard to find the right information. Only 11% stated that it is fairly easy to search for information and as few as 3% consider it very easy to find the desirable information. This shows that there still is a large untapped potential for any organisation to get great value from investing in enterprise search. For a relatively small investment, preferably in personnel it is possible to make search a lot better. The survey also reveals that  organisations who are very satisfied with their search, have a (larger) budget, more resources and systematically work with analysing search.

What is your primary goal for utilising search technology in your organisation?Figure. What is your primary goal for utilising search technology in your organisation?

The primary goal for using search is to accelerate retrieval of known information sources, 91%, and to improve the re-use of content (information/knowledge), 72%. This indicates that often search within organisations is used as a discovery tool for what already is known. If looking over the next three years, as many as 77% think that the amount of information in the organisation will increase. This means that every year it will be even more important be able to find the right information and that means Enterprise search is still very much needed, as stated in the following great presentations (on video):  Why Business Success Depends on Enterprise Search (by Martin White of Intranet Focus) and The Enterprise Search Market – What should be on your radar? (by Alan Pelz-Sharpe of 451 Research)

Download the full report.

Video and results from the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey

More than 200 people, primarily from Europe and North America, have responded to the Enterprise Search and Findability survey, providing a unique insight into how search is currently being managed, or rather is not being managed, in the best interest of the organisation. However, to get a deeper understanding in how search is used and managed at a regular basis in an enterprise context, search vendors and integrators have been excluded in this report, resulting in 170 unique responses from 28 countries globally.

A few findings

The survey has shown that the majority of the respondents find it difficult to find relevant information within the organization. To be more precise, 59.5 % of the respondents expressed that it is very/moderately hard to find the right information. Only 11.2% stated that it is fairly easy to search for information and as few as 2.8 % consider it very easy to find the desirable information. The ease of finding the right information clearly has a connection with the size of the organization. When looking at organizations with less than 1000 employees, one can see that 30.9% of the respondents feel that it is moderately/very hard to find the right information, while the corresponding percentage for organizations with 1001 or more employees is 77.3%.

The larger the organisation, the more information, and the more cumbersome it is to search and use the right information at the right time.

Video

Kristian Norling presents the findings from the global survey on Enterprise Search implementations. Presented at Enterprise Search Summit #ESS12 in New York, Enterprise Search Europe #ESEU in London, #IKS Workshop in Salzburg and Findability Day 2012 #findday12 in Stockholm. The slides are available here.

Findability day in Stockholm – search trends and customer insights

Last Thursday about 50 of Findwise customers, friends and people from the industry gathered in Stockholm for a Findability day (#findday12). The purpose was simply to share experiences from choosing, implementing and developing search and findability solutions for all types of business and use cases.

Martin White, who has been in the intranet business since 1996, held the keynote speech about “Why business success depends on search”.
Among other things he spoke about why the work starts once search is implemented, how a search team should be staffed and what the top priority areas are for larger companies.
Martin has also published an article about Enterprise Search Team Management  that gives valuable insight in how to staff a search initiative. The latest research note from Martin White on Enterprise search trends and developments.

Henrik Sunnefeldt, SKF, and Joakim Hallin, SEB, were next on stage and shared their experiences from working with larger search implementations.
Henrik, who is program manager for search at SKF, showed several examples of how search can be applied within an enterprise (intranet, internet, apps, Search-as-a-Service etc) to deliver value to both employees and customers.
As for SEB, Joakim described how SEB has worked actively with search for the past two years. The most popular and successful implementation is a Global People Search. The presentation showed how SEB have changed their way of working; from country specific phone books to a single interface that also contains skills, biographies, tags and more.

During the day we also had the opportunity to listen to three expert presentations about Big data (by Daniel Ling and Magnus Ebbeson), Hydra – a content processing framework – video and presentation (by Joel Westberg) and Better Business, Protection & Revenue (by David Kemp from Autonomy).
As for Big data, there is also a good introduction here on the Findability blog.

Niklas Olsson and Patric Jansson from KTH came on stage at 15:30 and described how they have been running their swift-footed search project during the last year. There are some great learnings from working early with requirements and putting effort into the data quality.

Least, but not last, the day ended with Kristian Norling from Findwise who gave a presentation on the results from the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey. 170 respondents from all over the world filled out the survey during the spring 2012 that showed quite some interesting patterns.
Did you for example know that in many organisations search is owned either by IT (58%) or Communication (29%), that 45% have no specified budget for search and 48% of the participants have less than 1 dedicated person working with search?  Furtermore, 44,4% have a search strategy in place or are planning to have one in 2012/13.
The survey results are also discussed in one of the latest UX-postcasts from James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom.

Thank you to all presenters and participants who contributed to making Findability day 2012 inspiring!

We are currently looking into arranging Findability days in Copenhagen in September, Oslo in October and Stockholm early next spring. If you have ideas (speakers you would like to hear, case studies that you would like insight in etc), please let us know.

Presentation: Results from the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey

This is a mashup of the presentations made at Enterprise Search Summit in New York, US on the 15th of May 2012 and at Enterprise Search Europe in London on the 30th of May 2012.

Global results are presented with numbers only, results from Europe and North America are clearly stated as such.

If you are interested in participating in the survey next year, please sign-up. All sign-ups will receive this years report.

Sign up for the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2013!
* = required field
View more presentations from Findwise

Update on The Enterprise Search and Findability Survey

A quick update on the status of the Enterprise Search survey.

We now have well over a hundred respondents. The more respondents the better the data will be, so please help spreading the word. We’d love to have  several hundred more. The survey will now be open until the end of April.

But most important of all, if you haven’t already, have a cup of coffee and fill in the survey.

A Few Results from the Survey about Enterprise Search

More than 60% say that the amount of searchable content in their organizations today are less or far less than needed. And in three years time 85% say that the amount of searchable content in the organisation will increase och increase significantly.

75% say that it is critical to find the right information to support their organizations business goals and success. But the interesting to note is that over 70% of the respondents say that users don’t know where to find the right information or what to look for – and about 50% of the respondents say that it is not possible to search more than one source of information from a single search query.

In this context it is interesting that the primary goal for using search in organisations (where the answer is imperative or signifact) is to:

  • Improve re-use of information and/or knowledge) – 59%
  • Accelerate brokering of people and/or expertise – 55%
  • Increase collaboration – 60%
  • Raise awareness of “What We Know” – 57%
  • and finally to eliminate siloed repositories – 59%

In many organisations search is owned either by IT (60%) or Communication (27%), search has no specified budget (38%) and has less than 1 dedicated person working with search (48%).  More than 50% have a search strategy in place or are planning to have one in 2012/13.

These numbers I think are interesting, but definitely need to be segmented and analyzed further. That will of course be done in the report which is due to be ready in June.

Enterprise Search and Findability Survey

A few days ago we launched the “Enterprise Search and Findability Survey“. The survey closes at the end of March.

If you complete the survey you will get the report when it  is finished.

Take me to the Survey!

The survey is for people who are responsible for search in their organisations. If you are a search manager, intranet manager, product owner of search, search editor, in-house developer for search, this survey is for you!

The survey aims to help you by finding out your views about Enterprise Search and Findability. The research will help show what business value an Enterprise Search solution can provide.

The survey is structured into five sections, each of which provides a specific perspective on Findability:
• Business
• Organisation
• User
• Information
• Search Technology

More information about the perspectives is provided in each section.

The survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes of your time. If you need a break, you can continue answering the survey at the same question where you left. If you give us your contact information we will send you the finished report based on this survey when it is finished, we are aiming to have it finished by the month of June.

The survey results will be presented at Enterprise Search Europe 2012 (London, 30-31 May 2012) and Enterprise Search Summit (New York, 15-16 May 2012).