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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VMworld Recap: Major Disruption in Store for Enterprise Search & eDiscovery

by John Patzakis

VMworld

Last week we attended and exhibited at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, VMware’s annual conference that brings together over 25,000 thought leaders, subject matter experts, technology providers and IT professionals to immerse themselves in the latest in virtualization and cloud technology. VMworld is now essentially the modern-day COMDEX, spread out among the sprawling Moscone Center. The difference is that VMworld’s exclusive focus is the enterprise, and more specifically the modern and trending IT enterprise. VMworld is where the forward thinking enterprise CIOs are now, and where everyone else will be in the next 2-4 years.

In the opening keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger — who recently explained to the Wall Street Journal that “we are in the period of the greatest tectonic shift in the IT industry in the last 30 years” — emphasized the trend of “frictionless IT” running the enterprise where “everything is virtualized” utilizing a hybrid mix of on-premise virtualization, public and private cloud.  Frictionless IT involves a model where pools of virtual machines — comprising virtual desktops and servers running in either the public cloud or a private cloud — are managed by IT administrators enterprise-wide from a single console, without physically touching any hardware. This allows for virtual desktops, servers and supporting applications and software upgrades to be rolled out and managed on a highly automated basis, including having resources moved from private to public clouds and back again, all with a few mouse clicks.

So given the importance of this conference to the present and future of enterprise IT, it was highly notable that X1 was the only enterprise search provider present among more than 400 exhibitors. It is actually surprising that no other search vendors were here given how quickly attendees ‘got it.’  They understood that search is the elephant in the room for VDI and other enterprise-stored data and quickly responded positively to X1’s message. The reason for our competitors’ absence, in my opinion, is that nearly all the current enterprise search software vendors, as well as eDiscovery tools, represent legacy technology that does not support deployment into highly virtualized environments. Traditional enterprise search solutions are limited to either appliances or arduous manual on-site installations, neither of which can operate in true virtual environments. In other words, they represent a very high degree of friction, with entrenched architectures that must be completely re-written in order to support virtualization and the new frictionless IT paradigm.

And the thing about truly supporting cloud and on-premise virtualization is that enterprise software vendors cannot fake it with enterprise CIOs and their staff. For instance, there is a high degree of “cloud-washing” in eDiscovery, where vendors host their own attorney review systems on a SaaS basis, and thereby claim they are cloud innovators. And while there is a legitimate but limited use case there, a complete process baked into the enterprise and its information management DNA needs to encompass integrated preservation, collection and early data assessment — including first pass review. Such an eDiscovery system must be on premise and will not survive unless it truly operates in a virtualized environment, whether in the public or private cloud.

Solutions that truly support virtualization are VMware-ready certified, and can also be quickly and remotely installed into the public cloud through a readily available machine image, such as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for the Amazon Web Services cloud. In essence, major enterprise software now has to effectively install almost as easily as a mobile phone app.

As an aside, another notable observation that I believe is highly indicative of this “tectonic shift” was the near complete absence of the major systems integrators, with the exception of Capgemini. Most of the other top 10 SIs were completely absent and the few others there had a very minimal presence. This is, again in my opinion, because most of these systems integrators thrive on a “friction” model (think nine-month enterprise software installation), and are struggling to adapt to the new world order.

In our recent discussions with folks at Amazon Web Services, they recounted amusing stories of companies asking to send hardware appliances or teams of expensive consultants to AWS data centers to index and manage their data for enterprise search and eDiscovery purposes. Both scenarios are non-starters for public cloud architectures. This is where X1 is leading the charge for both enterprise search and eDiscovery.

We are very excited about our partnership with VMware, and the hundreds of contacts and new and existing customers we connected with at the show. And more exciting things are to come. Stay tuned for exciting announcements in the coming months. In the meantime, I recommend you start making plans for VMworld next year.

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