Findability by Findwise

Being the hosts of “The Search and Findability blog”, we believe it is time to define and explain what Findwise means by these terms and how they relate.

“Findability” is not a new term or concept. As stated on Wikipedia, Peter Morville is often credited for having introduced the term and it is used in different areas related to the quality of being locatable or navigable either in terms of finding information in the digital world or geographical locations.

“Search” is, at least in the world of IT, commonly associated with either Google on the web, or a search box in the corner of the company Intranet or other websites. Most people have positive experiences from searching with Google on the web but rather poor, sometimes even terrible, experiences from searching at company websites and in internal systems and applications.

Simple search box

The primary focus of Findwise is to improve the experience and benefits from using search technology in the corporate setting. By itself, we don’t believe that the term “Search” or even “Enterprise Search” fully reflects this focus as it limits the scope of search technology to being “just” the search box in the website corner, which often provides undesirable results. From experience, we know that modern search technology can be utilised in multiple ways to fulfil the needs of an organisation to make information accessible both to their employees and customers. The search box is only one way. Therefore, to support and explain our aims and focus in relation to search technology, we have defined the concept of “Findability by Findwise”.

Findability by Findwise expands the area of search and value of search technology by taking a holistic approach to the challenge of creating business value from internal and external information assets. Findability by Findwise is all about maximising the customer business value gained from search technology investments. Making sure that search technology is implemented and utilised to best support and strengthen the business processes and help the organisation to reach its business goals.

The value generated by the Findability solution could be both:

  • Internal; Improving employee efficiency and their ability to truly benefit from existing information assets and previous investments in various systems to store and structure information.
  • External; Making sure stakeholders can access the information they need in order to become or remain profitable customers.

From the statement above, it is easy to understand that to gain the desired effects and value of search technology investments, it is not enough only to focus on and master the actual technology. Or as stated in an AIIM report from 2008:

“Findability is more about a well-defined and executed strategy model than it is about technology.”

AIIM Market IQ Intelligence Quarterly Q2 2008

Therefore, a Findability solution by Findwise creates true customer business value, i.e. it makes desired information accessible to internal or external stakeholders, by;

BOTH using the full potential of search technology,
AND focusing on the four other critical dimensions of Findability:

  • Business – The use of search technology should support and leverage the existing business processes.
  • Users – The solution must be designed and tailored to fit the needs and capabilities of the users.
  • Information – The quality and structure of existing and newly produced information is an important success factor of the solution.
  • Organisation – The organisation must establish a process to govern the solution and maintain Findability for future needs.

We have chosen the symbol of a flower to illustrate the concept and dimensions of Findability by Findwise:

Findability by Findwise

In other words, the beauty and health of the Findability Flower™ can be likened to the extent to which search technology is utilised to support and leverage the organisation’s business needs and goals. That is what Findability by Findwise is all about.

Visit our website to read more about Findability by Findwise and how we work to create Findability solutions that make our customers truly benefit from state-of-the-art search technology.

A Strategic Approach to Search

The other week I attended ”From business to buttons” a yearly conference about usability and ‘designing for effect’ held in Malmö. Maria from Findwise was there to talk about ‘search driven design – or why can’t or intranet be more like Google?’, while I had the privilege to walk around talking to attendees about search.

The conference gathered people from a broad range of industries such as telecom, banking, retail etc, but what struck me the most was that no matter how different their business was, their challenges when it came to Enterprise Search where like peas in a pod. The employees just want to find the information they need to do their job in an efficient way. Preferably by typing a simple keyword and get accurate results in a Google-stylish way. Many companies have made investments in Enterprise Search platforms, hoping that this will magically increase findability.

Back at the office I got hold of a new study on Findability, made by Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM). The survey shows that out of 500 businesses 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. Furthermore the study suggests that “the fault does not lie with technology solution providers; rather, most organizations have failed to take a strategic approach to enterprise search: 49% of respondents report having “No Formal Goal” for enterprise Findability within their organizations”.

Findability survey

When looking at current Findwise customers one realizes that the success stories are all based on the same objective reason: the strategic approach, which has been focusing their business and end-users, looking at the technological investment as an enabler rather than a solution. The research paper from AIIM will be presented in a webinar on June 26:th, which I believe can be interesting. However, apart from establishing the fact that your company is facing the same challenges as everyone else, feel free to ask us how other companies have been using a strategic approach within this area; so you can use that knowledge to enhance your own solution.