Category Archives: Enterprise Search

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

VMworld 2014 Hot Topics – VDI, Hybrid Cloud & Mobility

VMworldNext week, the VMworld conference kicks off and all of us at X1 are excited.  VMworld gives X1 the opportunity to introduce our newly-minted VMware Ready products – X1 Search 8, X1 Search 8 Virtual Edition, and X1 Rapid Discovery – to VMware users.  Perhaps more importantly, though, the conference is an opportunity to hear where the world is moving with regard to several hot topic areas:  VDI; hybrid cloud; and mobility.

Desktop virtualization promises many benefits: lower IT costs; streamlined administration of IT assets; and end-user flexibility in terms of accessing the desktop from anywhere.  Given the popularity of BYOD, the consumerization of IT, and the need for mobility to support telecommuting, VDI is becoming more and more important.  There look to be some compelling sessions at the show about customer successes using VDI that will show not only that the benefits of VDI are real, but also how others can learn from those successes to continue to drive VDI adoption.  At our booth, X1 will continue to remind folks building unified search into VDI requirements early on can optimize VDI deployments.  At the very least, this will help to ensure that end-users are more receptive to the virtual desktop and allow them to remain productive.  Getting end-users to buy in is often half the battle when deploying new technology.  When it comes to VDI environments, a good search solution must decouple the search UI from the indexing service.  Otherwise, indexing will require virtual desktop computing resources and cut into VDI cost savings.  The goal is to minimize the RAM usage and search client footprint on the virtual desktop.

Hybrid cloud is a combination of a private IT infrastructure and a public cloud.  The public and private cloud infrastructures then communicate over an encrypted connection and can port data and applications back and forth.  Hybrid cloud is hot because it delivers real benefits:  increased speed of access time and reduced latency because of an on-premise, private infrastructure that is accessible directly as opposed to through the internet; more flexibility to have on-premises infrastructure that can support the average workload and to leverage the public cloud when the workload exceeds the power of the private cloud component; and more flexibility in server designs that can lower the costs of storage.  X1 will detail to booth visitors how unified search of information no matter where it lives – cloud, on-premise, hybrid – can make hybrid cloud environments more user-friendly.  Products like X1 Rapid Discovery enable hybrid search that lets IT glean all the benefits of hybrid cloud while ensuring end-users are happy with their ability to find information.

Mobility is an important topic and complementary to both VDI and hybrid cloud.  VDI and hybrid cloud environments will enable business professionals to be mobile and productive.  One of the keys to productivity is fast, easy access to information – and that is exactly what X1 provides.  The architecture for X1 Search 8 Virtual Edition stands to enable better access to information on more and more devices.  We are excited for VMworld because it means the opportunity to meet further with the VMware Airwatch team and understand how X1 can continue to partner with VMware in new and innovative ways.

If you are going to be at VMworld, please come see X1 at Booth #2436.  We would be happy to show you our products and how they can complement existing or planned VMware investments.

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Filed under Corporations, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search, Uncategorized

Why the “Google Paradigm” Has Damaged Enterprise Search

by Barry Murphy

In last week’s post about what we are looking for with enterprise search, I mentioned what we call the Google paradigm.  A reader asked me to be more specific about what the Google paradigm actually is and it’s a worthy request.  The Google paradigm is actually a summation of the resulting perceptions based on the popularity of Google; those perceptions are that enterprise search is as easy as Google web search, and that a central index of an enterprise is the right way to do enterprise search.  The result of these perceptions is an approach to enterprise search that has not solved the problem of allowing business workers to easily and quickly find the information they are looking for.

It is important to note that web search is not the same as enterprise search, and therein lies the major problem with the perceptions caused by the Google paradigm.  Google is an excellent tool for informational web search – I use it frequently when researching various topics that I need to learn more about.  The point is that Google is for Web search, which uses organic linking (looking at the number of sites that link to a particular page) to determine the rank order of results.  That approach provides zero value in the enterprise because the users typically have more than an inkling of what they are looking for, and perhaps have specific criteria they know are relevant, and thus require an interface that allows them to quickly filter the result down to a manageable number.

But, in reality, enterprise search is often synonymous with Google – the web search paradigm.  There is a tendency to think of search as easy.  After all, Google completes search queries for users; it is easy to assume that technology will eventually just know what users are looking for and offer it up to them.  This message is reinforced in the age of Big Data and business intelligence.  There is a fascination with the stunning dashboards we see in CRM and SFA applications.  There is a belief that analytics will replace any need to search and find information.

While analytics will certainly help many business processes, its biggest impacts will be in feeding structured data into business processes and informing those responsible for the process of performance.    There is much value to be had in that and the Big Data market prospers as a result.  Despite the availability of advanced business intelligence tools, though, business workers still struggle to find the one email or document necessary to complete the next urgent task.  People waste hours looking for it, only to most likely recreate all that work when they can’t find what they need.  Organizations lose millions of dollars per year to this lost productivity and typically don’t even know it.  Companies implement traditional enterprise search to help employees, but only make searching more frustrating because those solutions do not leverage the power of the business worker’s brain.

Web search – the Google paradigm – has allowed us to take search for granted.  When doing a web search, however, users are typically searching for something authored by someone else and the system is using programmatic analysis to conduct the query.  For a business worker, though, search is very different.  The worker has a sense of what they are looking for because it is very specific to them – the method of analysis is personal, not programmatic.  Web search is inquisitive in nature.  But, the web search approach – which has been pushed on users by IT for years – does not work well for business workers looking for the information needed to do their jobs.

The Google paradigm also ignores the challenge of scalability.  Indexing the enterprise for a centralized enterprise search capability requires major investment.  In addition, centralization runs counter to the realities of the working world where information must be distributed globally across a variety of devices and applications.  The amount of information we create is overwhelming and the velocity with which that information moves increases daily.

 

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Google Data Center (Click to enlarge)

 

The image above is of a Google Data Center (one of more than several dozen that power the internet).  Look at the sheer magnitude of just what it takes to power those Web searches we are all so used to.  This illustrates exactly why it is so hard to “Google the enterprise.” And yet many people, and even CIOs, think doing so should be easy.  Such has been the approach to scaling traditional enterprise search solutions in the enterprise.  And while Google obviously has solid software to drive its web search, hardware and sheer computing power on a massive scale are essential components of Google’s success.

The only “successful” enterprise search deployments – as judged by customer references – tend to exist only in a very specific type of organization: highly regulated, with deep pockets.  These organizations can make enterprise search work because, due to regulatory and Legal drivers, they have unlimited budget for hardware to make the solution scale.  They are also able to invest in double digit FTE’s to implement and maintain the system over time.  But, these organizations represent “the 1%.”  Most organizations do not have the budget or human resources needed to make traditional enterprise search work.

There will always be hardware investments required to make productivity search work, but such investments do not need to be heavy in the way that traditional solutions have been.  Rather, organizations should look at more flexible options that mirror the realistic IT environment they live in.  That environment typically includes a hybrid of on-premise, virtual, and cloud-based infrastructure and content spread across multiple repositories.  Rarely – if ever – is content centralized.  As such, a good productivity search solution will allow access to the content that business workers need the most while leaving as little footprint with IT as possible.

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Filed under Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Information Access, Information Governance, Information Management