The Time Has Come to Approach Search Differently

Anyone in the search / eDiscovery business lives and breathes search – we think about all day, every day because it is our livelihood.  At X1, we have many customers making real progress with enterprise search, so there can be the perception that organizations have learned to address the very real challenge of helping employees find information.  Thus, it can be surprising to run into research that shows just how bad the traditional approach to enterprise search is.

I came across the “Enterprise Search and Findability Survey 2014” on the Findwise website.  It is very interesting reading and really confirms that a new approach to enterprise search is needed.  Some of the key points, from my perspective, are;

  • Almost half of the survey respondents in large organizations (1,000 employees or more) find it difficult or very difficult to find information.
  • Almost two-thirds of respondents are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their existing search applications.
  • Almost two-thirds of respondents believe it is very important to improve the ability to find the right information.

Simply put, traditional enterprise search did not work.  Too many employees complain about not being able to find what they are looking for.  The search solutions deployed over the last 15 years focused on IT requirements rather than end-user requirements.  These tools required end-users to tag and rate their search results, something end-users have neither the time nor the emotional investment to do.  This very point is something that Marcus Stimler, CTO of Capgemini UI, points out on the webinar we did earlier this month – the reliance of traditional search tools on end-users to tag information leads to a lack of findability.  This survey just confirms that fact.

It is not all doom and gloom, however, as many X1 customers know.  There is a better way to approach enterprise search and it begins with the end-user.  In today’s business world, end-users know what they want.  They demand good experiences with technology.   A web page with links to search results will not cut it in the enterprise.  Users need a single-pane-of-glass view to all of their information – email, files, SharePoint, archives like Symantec Enterprise Vault, and other enterprise repositories that users might access.   X1 Search 8 provides just that – a user-friendly interface to all information that lets workers use their brains to find what they are looking for.

Beyond the desktop, X1 Rapid Discovery indexes other sources of content – either on-premise or in the Cloud – and makes the information available alongside a user’s local content.  Perhaps the beauty of this approach lies mostly with its simplicity.  Workers are happy because they can find information.  IT is surprisingly happy because they have a search tool that is easily deployable, as opposed to the traditional complex science project.  This overall happiness is a result of a new approach to enterprise search starting with end-user requirements and extending outward.  It is a subtle difference, but a meaningful one that will drive the results of future findability surveys to a new level.

For more on our perspectives on why enterprise search initiatives often fail, while X1 is invariably successful, please download this short treatise. This was inspired by direct feedback from many successful X1 install sites.  In a nutshell, X1 addresses users’ personalized requirements for business productivity search.

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A key mistake is to take big data or web search solutions and apply them to the very different use case of business productivity search. The matrix displayed here illustrates the key differences between these use cases.

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X1’s Enterprise Search Webinar Takeaways

by Barry Murphy

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar on enterprise search and how to do it in a way that actually works.  Early feedback indicates that the webinar was well-received, mostly thanks to the involvement of Marcus Stimler, Capgemini’s UK CTO.  Marcus generously gave us his time to share lessons learned about how to make business productivity search work by putting the end-users first.  It was an important point – getting the win by making users happy and then extending the project from there.  The real world perspective that someone like Marcus can provide is invaluable and I learned a lot from listening to him.

There are a few key takeaways that are worthy of sharing and repeating:

  1. Search is a journey. Thinking of search as a “project” can be a mistake; rather, search is a journey that keeps going and, if done right, keeps providing value.  For Capgemini, it really began with a realization that people couldn’t find what they were looking for– despite having search tools in place.  Individual workers actually found X1 Search 8 and became loyal advocates.  Marcus, as CTO, learned about these passionate users and was able to roll out the X1 product more broadly so that Capgemini’s high-value knowledge workers could be more productive.  Once end-users were able to find what they were looking – most of which was in their email or desktop files – Capgemini was able to extend the journey by adding content sources like SharePoint to the search solution.
  2. The “Google paradigm” simply does not work in the enterprise. This might have been one of the most important points that Marcus made because, thanks to Google, there is a perception that search is easy.  Marcus learned that search within an enterprise is very different than web search, which relies on popularity for prioritizing search results.  Relying on popularity inside the enterprise will lead to problems because only a few employees will actually tag and/or rate documents.  Individual workers treat organizational knowledge differently and need a search tool that allows them to work their way.  As Marcus said, “relevancy is more important than popularity.”  And, it’s the business workers that know what is relevant and what isn’t.
  3. The human workflow is a huge consideration. As Marcus points out, and the major theme of the webinar, it is important to start with the end-users and win them over first.  For Capgemini, that meant using a tool that allowed people to quickly find what they are looking for and then take action on it.  That is exactly what X1 does.  For Capgemini, X1 gives their employees the ability to do their job better and faster – and that leads to all sorts of positive outcomes.  Because Capgemini values the knowledge of their workers, the company is able to leverage that knowledge for increased revenues and that leads to Marcus getting a positive ROI on the X1 investment – an important consideration for any IT person.

A huge thank you goes out to Marcus Stimler for sharing his time and knowledge with us.  If you have not had a chance to see the webinar, you can check out the recording here: http://www.x1.com/products/x1_rapid_discovery/videos/search_that_works_request.html

Feel free to be in touch with any questions.

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Top Five Reasons to Attend X1’s Enterprise Search Webinar

This Wednesday, October 8 at 1pm ET / 10am PT, X1 will host a very interesting webinar focused on “Enterprise Search That Actually Works.”  In this session, Webinar imagewe will look at how organizations can finally get to a point where employees are actually able to find what they are looking for in the mountains of digital information that exists.  At the heart of this webinar is the idea that end-users are the key to successful search projects.

It is, after all, end-users that are searching for information all day, every day.  Successful search initiatives must capture and please those end-users.  But, IT projects tend to be pushed out from a central IT organization rather than “pulled” in by the end users.  The result, in terms of enterprise search, was failed projects where a lot of money was spent, but users were still not able to find what they were looking for.

The good news is that there is a better way to approach enterprise search by focusing on the end-user and making “business productivity search” a priority.  In this upcoming webinar, we will show you exactly how to deploy enterprise search in a way that works – making both IT and end-users happy.  There are five main reasons you will not want to miss this webinar:

  1. A realistic case study from Capgemini. Marcus Stimler, Capgemini’s UK CTO, will join us and describe the challenges he addressed with X1 and how focusing on the needs of users drives the broader enterprise search strategy.  Marcus will bring a pragmatic viewpoint from the trenches and is able to answer questions from those of you in a similar position wondering how to make enterprise search work.
  2. A demo-based approach to getting the point across. Sure, we will go through a couple of PowerPoint slides, but most of the webinar will feature an example of how to actually get buy-in from the end-users and provide them with a search tool that delivers productivity.  And, we will show you how to extend outward from the end-user to address more and more enterprise repositories as needed.
  3. A chance to learn from and avoid the mistakes of the past.  Those who don’t learn from the past are destined to repeat it – that’s why we will look at how traditional approaches to enterprise search did not work.  More importantly, we will show you how to change those approaches to capture the end-users and make search work in a way that works for your organization’s IT environment.
  4. A new way to look at enterprise search. Too often, search is just another IT project and organizations miss the fact that search functionality can and should evolve.  This webinar will focus on search as a journey that goes beyond the initial “project.”  In fact, the Capgemini case study will be a perfect example of a search initiative that evolves – and does so from the core premise that end-users must be happy and able to easily find what they are looking for.
  5. A special thank you gift that will outline how to succeed with enterprise search. All attendees will be given an as-yet-unpublished paper on how to make enterprise search work.  This paper will outline the mistakes to avoid and provide the strategic elements for effective business productivity search.

We hope you can join us for this webinar.  It should be a fun hour and we like to keep it interactive by taking your questions throughout the webinar.  Please register now if you haven’t already.

 

 

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End-User Computing & Search Go Hand-In-Hand

webinar_works_landing

by Barry Murphy

Last week, John Patzakis here at X1 blogged about the VMworld 2014 event and how it has become the Comdex for enterprise IT.  I was at the show and it was very clear that end-users are the future of IT.  The trend has been talked about for quite some time and is commonly called the consumerization of IT.  The heat around that topic has tended to focus on devices and not as much on what is behind information access on those devices.  But, as BYOD takes off and mobility becomes increasingly important, enterprises care more and more about the flow and availability of information.  Why?  Because easy access to information is critical to the end-user acceptance of enterprise IT offerings; when users cannot quickly find what they are looking for, they reject what IT rolls out to them.  Without that end-user acceptance, there is no chance for a positive ROI on any IT project.

End-user experience is so key that VMware has named a division of its company “End User Computing.”  That EUC unit made several major acquisitions in the last year, including Airwatch and Desktone.  This is because technology providers need to win the battle with end-users.  For an example of a company that built its business on the backs of end-users and leveraged those relationships to bully its way into enterprise IT, look no further than Apple.  As VDI users have learned, it is critical to bake search requirements into virtual desktop deployments from the get-go in order to ensure an optimal user experience.  And, as Brian Katz points out in his blog, the same thing will hold true with mobile – usability will be key.  That is why we at X1 are so excited about the future.  X1’s user interface for search is second to none.  And, users actually rave about it.

In my days as an industry analyst, I rarely had technology users raving about the tools they were using.  And, I never ever had an enterprise search user tell me that their solution solved the challenge of finding information quickly.  The rabid users of X1 have been an eye opener for me.  In fact, an X1 customer recently polled its users and virtually every user said that X1 is easy to learn and use (no easy feat for a piece of enterprise software) and over 70% of users described their experience with X1 as very positive or positive.  Those numbers are unheard of in terms of technology satisfaction.

With what I’ve learned from my days as an analyst and in my time here at X1, I’ve come up with some ways to approach enterprise search in a way that is both IT and user-friendly.  We will share the knowledge in a webinar on October 9 at 1pm ET / 10am PT.  We’ve titled it, “Making Enterprise Search Actually Work by Putting User Experience First.”

In this “no-death-by-PowerPoint” webinar, attendees will not only learn, but actually see how to deploy enterprise search solutions in ways that make both end-users and IT departments happy.  This webinar will demonstrate both why and how to put end-user experience first.   Specifically, attendees will learn:

  • Why the human brain is the best analytical engine for business productivity search
  • How federation can save IT time, money, and headaches
  • How to best deploy search solutions in all IT infrastructures
  • How to achieve ROI on enterprise search in ways never seen in the past
  • That search can be like BASF – it can make many other technology deployments better, including VDI, SharePoint, and Enterprise Vault

I will be presenting on this webinar and will be joined by some special guests to be named later.  Come learn why search and end-user computing go hand-in-hand.

Register for the webinar here >

 

 

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Filed under Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search, Information Access, Information Management