Tag Archives: search

Using Search to Solve the Email Overload Problem

by Barry Murphy

There was an interesting article from The Information Governance Initiative about email overload and information governance. The quote that caught my eye is “in today’s fast-paced business world, the name of the game is productivity.”  X1 Search is a tool that many are using for just that – business productivity search. But, more than that, X1 Search can complement information governance efforts and help solve the email overload problem.

The IGI article states that “IG practitioners need to take a proactive approach in order to truly understand the realities of email overload and the entire scope of their organizations’ communications.”  I believe that IG is extremely important, especially in an information economy. The challenge is that it can be hard for IG to gain real traction unless companies have a senior executive with clout, power, and money who cares about it. Whether or not that executive exists at a given organization is hit or miss at best. IG programs will take time to gain traction and help employees be more productive.

But the email overload problem continues to exist. And, it is not simply about inbox management. Rather, it is across email that is on a server, or in an archive, or in a PST file. It is easy to forget that many organizations still have PST files on desktops or have moved them out to file servers. There is a customer using X1 to solve the “PSTs on file shares” problem.  What this customer does is use X1 Rapid Discovery to index the PSTs once, and then use X1 Search as the interface to that information. Users can quickly filter through years of emails to find exactly what they are looking for and to take action on it.

This customer uses X1 to complement IG processes and policies. With Rapid Discovery, those PSTs are now easily discoverable for litigation needs, instead of the previous need to forensically image desktops to get at the information. This creates a win-win and negates the need to do expensive migration of PSTs to an archive or to the cloud. At the same time, employees can deal with the email overload problem better because they are much faster at finding the right emails to do their jobs. It is an interesting use-case whereby the customer solved several problems at once and did so in a pragmatic way. The employee happiness with the X1 Search tool is the cherry on top of the sundae because it is a lasting benefit over the long-term.

IG projects can be painful and time-consuming and, if funded properly, often go nowhere. Fitting X1 into your IG program can save time, save money, and keep employees productive at the same time. For any organization seeking a quick IG win to prove the value IG brings to the company, X1 should be on the list.

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Filed under Best Practices, Business Productivity Search, Enterprise Search, Information Governance

X1’s Microsoft Enterprise Search Strategy: Better Than Microsoft’s?

By John Patzakis

microsoftIt seems obvious to say, but Microsoft is furthering its supremacy in the enterprise. While Microsoft has always dominated with is ubiquitous OS, it is dramatically consolidating its presence in terms of data sources. Outlook is only increasing in market share with corporate Gmail largely a flop and IBM’s Lotus Notes in full retreat. SharePoint continues to spread across enterprises large and small, dominating the ECM landscape. OneDrive for business, with its tight integration with the Windows 10 OS, essentially zero cost, and built-in active directory security, looks to eventually capture the enterprise file synch and sharing space. And Office 365 combines Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive into an integrated cloud offering (but not search – more on that in a bit). Finally, Skype for Business and OneNote round out the data sources that we believe will soon constitute up to 90 percent of enterprise data relevant for business productivity. So I would argue that we are entering a new era of Microsoft dominance.

And actually, this good news for X1 users, and we believe a key reason for the resurgent high growth we are seeing here at X1. Why? Each of those mentioned Microsoft data sources are either currently supported by X1 or will be supported within 12 months’ time, and X1 provides a much better user search experience than even Microsoft does. As an example, any X1 user will tell you X1 provides a much better search of Outlook and Exchange email than Outlook itself, and the simple viewing of this SharePoint video should convince anyone that our SharePoint search experience is far superior than that of native SharePoint. The same is true of local and network documents and very soon OneDrive (September 2015), and after that Skype for Business.

But even more important than having a better search experience for individual Microsoft data sources, what X1 uniquely provides is a popular and intuitive unified interface or a “single pane of glass” from which to search all of these various data sources. To be able to search your emails, your files, your SharePoint, your OneDrive, and all the other Microsoft data sources from that single interface is extremely compelling. In fact, Microsoft itself does not really have a single pane of glass capability. You cannot effectively search your SharePoint or OneDrive from Outlook, just as you cannot search your emails, Skypes or your local documents from SharePoint.

This new era of Microsoft data source dominance presents important considerations for organizations when selecting enterprise search solutions. Many enterprise search solutions are simply not architected to effectively support this new paradigm and thus are fighting against the Microsoft current, instead of providing a unified search platform, such as X1, that augments and strengthens a company’s Microsoft strategy. To summarize, here are five key reasons X1 excels in this new Microsoft era:

  1. X1 Starts with End User’s email and files. Most enterprise search solutions address enterprise data sources on Intranets, databases, and file shares, but ignore the end users email and local documents. This is missing about 80 percent of the end user’s key business data, while focusing on the data in the margins. To be successful in this new Microsoft era, a true productivity search solution should begin with the end users’ local emails, attachments and documents and extend to SharePoint, file shares and other key enterprise sources, all in a single pane of glass.
  2. No or Minimal Data Migration. Other enterprise search tools uniformly provide web portals for employees to search for their content. This is fine for some Intranet sites and other web-based data, but is not where you want search your day-to-day emails and working documents. And when it comes to SharePoint, any suggestion that such data should be migrated out of SharePoint just so another enterprise search vendor can search it on a similar website is a non-starter. For a successful Microsoft strategy, the indexes must be on a local, physical or virtual desktop (or laptop), indexed in place, or federate to the built-in native FAST indexes. Data migration out of Microsoft data sources no longer make any sense and should be a thing of the past.
  3. X1 Supports Virtualization and Cloud. The next generation enterprise is virtual, whether cloud or on premise. With Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft data sources being able to be deployed in these and on-premise virtual environments, enterprise search, including desktop search (VDI and DaaS) platforms need to do so as well. This is a significant challenge for most enterprise search tools that are either hardware appliances or require intricate and labor intensive installation onto physical hardware.
  4. X1 provides a better search experience than Microsoft does. “Good enough” is not good enough when it comes to search. It does not make sense to invest in an enterprise search solution for business productivity search, unless there is a significant improvement in the end-users search experience for emails, files and SharePoint data. The main reason enterprise search initiatives fail is because the stakeholders do not appreciate that business productivity search is all about end-user experience. Without the end-users embracing your search platform in practice, as X1 users do, the project will fail, no matter how cool the analytics and advanced algorithms sound in theory.
  5. Unified Single Pane of Glass. Providing one single pane of glass to a business worker’s most critical information assets is key. Requiring end-users to search Outlook for email in one interface, then log into another to search SharePoint, and then another to search for document and OneDrive is a non-starter. A single interface to search for information, no matter where it lives fits the workflow that business workers require.

These are all very important factors for buyers of enterprise search solutions to consider in the new Microsoft era, and we of course believe X1 is uniquely up to the task.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search, Cloud Data, Enterprise Search, Virtualized Environment

X1 Changes the Game in Hybrid Cloud Search with Box Connector

by Barry Murphy

The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) category is hot right now.  This is not a surprising fact.  In the research document Parting Enterprise Users From Consumer EFSS Solutions Will Be a Challenge, Gartner estimates that, “by 2018, 50% of an enterprise’s data will reside external to the data center.”  EFSS vendors provide enterprises with more structured ways to collaborate and share information both on-premise and in the cloud.  The Gartner document goes on to state that, “an off-premises public cloud implementation of EFSS can help an organization isolate data from its data center and simplify easy sharing of information assets to individuals outside the firewall and located across multiple regions.”  For this reasons, EFSS vendors like Box are growing rapidly and gaining large enterprise customers.

Obviously, if half of an enterprise’s data will reside external to the data center, then half will still live within the data center or locally on users’ machines.  No matter where data is being stored, though, the fact remains that the ability to search that data will be critically important.  Workers still demand unified access to their most important information assets, and they want a highly intuitive search experience with fast-as-you-type search results regardless of where the data lives.  In other words, users require business productivity search.  X1, with the Box connector, provides just that in a way that not only pleases users, but also gives IT a lot of flexibility.

With X1’s Box Connector, users can now add Box accounts as data sources, and search emails, files, SharePoint, and now Box content in a single-pane-of-glass.

Box screenshot

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Not only do users get a single interface in which they can search across all of their critical content, but they also get all of the benefits that simply come with X1 – fast-as-you-type search results, full-fidelity document preview, and post-search actions (PSAs).  In the case of Box content, the PSAs are valuable because they are specific to things users would normally do within Box.  For example, directly in the X1 interface, users can elect to send a document as an attachment or as a link.

Click to enlarge image

Click to enlarge image

In addition, users can integrate Box more directly into their personal workflows because X1 will allow a PSA on content from other data sources (e.g. SharePoint) to Box.

This is important, as IT organizations like the flexibility that X1 provides in terms of how users can search Box content.  There is an option to index Box documents and store them in the users local index.  The content is not stored locally, but the index is, so users get immediate results.  Of course, it may not be feasible to have an index stored locally for a variety of reasons, so there is also an option for users to remotely query their Box account without the need to store each item in the local index.  IT also has fine-grained control over how indexing takes place.

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Click to enlarge image

Any solution that makes both end-users and IT happy is a promising one.  In this way, X1’s hybrid cloud search capability is a game-changer. As more and more organizations systematically use EFSS vendors like Box, this federated search capability will become even more important.  And, the great news is – it’s available right now from X1.

So far, beta customers are extremely enthusiastic about the search experience that X1 provides for content in Box.  In fact, we strongly believe that no other solution provides this kind of search experience across local and Box content.  Customers tell us that they can search and filter through Box content faster than ever before.  At X1, we would respectfully challenge anyone to identify a better solution for this purpose – neither we nor our many joint X1/Box customers are currently aware of one.

We invite you to try for yourself:

X1 Search is available for sale at $49.95 per license for single users (Box connector included), with an annual support fee of $19.95. Buy now >

Silent installation of the X1 Search client and other enterprise deployment options are available for large-scale deployments. For more information about enterprise licensing and purchases, please contact info@x1.com.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search, Information Access

What is Time Management?

Sue Becker, Productivity Trainer

Sue Becker, Productivity Coach

Today we are pleased to welcome guest blogger, Sue Becker, Productivity Coach at Spark Productivity. Sue has spent the last 15 years inspiring business people to implement organizational solutions to be more productive and to spend more time enjoying life. 


 

One of the biggest time management mistakes people make is not recognizing that time management is really self management. Instead of looking for external explanations to know why time management is a challenge, I coach people to look internally. I help them to build the self discipline to do what’s important to help them reach their goals and to flex the self discipline to set aside time for unburdened fun as well as for becoming the person they were meant to be.

Once a person accepts that time management is self management, then they eagerly make decisions to break bad habits and to establish new, helpful ones. Two such attractive habits are working in focused, uninterrupted sprints and working priorities top to bottom.

HABIT OF FOCUSING

To establish a habit of focusing, recognize there are external as well as internal interruptions to mitigate. We often interrupt ourselves as frequently as external factors interrupts us. Some people open their emails every time the little ding sounds, thinking, “Surely it’s something more interesting than whatever I’m currently working on.” Other people answer the phone every time it rings or leave their posture open to passersby. Discover your patterns of self interruption, and then determine a system for preventing and/or releasing them.

Set up your own self-management system to stop you from giving in to the temptation of external interruptions. So when someone interrupts you, you can let that person know you’re working on something important and then arrange a later time to speak. Using pre-determined, rehearsed phrases like, “I’d love to talk to you, but I have to finish this by three. May I call you when I’m finished?”

Another strategy is to set aside a fixed amount of time when you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted. This can be an hour a day or an hour a week. It’s intended to make sure you have quality time to focus on important tasks without the threat of being interrupted. It’s critical to select tasks that are worthy of this valuable, uninterrupted time so you don’t squander it.

HABIT OF PRIORITIZING

To establish a habit of prioritizing, use visual cues to create a pattern of working on the most important thing. Place a note somewhere easily seen—in front of your computer or inside your planner—that says something like, “Am I moving closer to my goals?” or, “What’s the most important thing I should be doing right now?” When you’ve discovered your purpose in life and have your goals recorded, driving your behavior gets easier.

TAKING CHARGE

What’s the key? It’s to take charge rather than let your days be dictated to you. It’s also getting comfortable with the knowledge that establishing habits takes time. After all, it took a lifetime to create your current habits, so recognize that you may not change them quickly or easily; yet it will be worth it when you do.

One final way to take charge is to use tools that will help you be more productive. For example, using tools like X1 to speed up your search for items on your computer will free up time so you can get more done. Please join me on February 24 for a complimentary webinar that will show you the power of productivity that X1 makes possible. I look forward to having you on the call.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search

In 2015, What Should We Expect From Search?

ROIIt’s that time again: time to prognosticate about what the coming year will bring in our search software market. Lest anyone think search is a stale market, there are foundational deals now in place that illuminate how this market will evolve in an exciting way. This evolution will usher in a new era in the search market – one in which enterprises achieve positive ROI on search projects and actually love the technology. In 2015, companies will be able to deploy enterprise search and enable employees to actually find the information they are looking for.

The key to this enterprise search evolution is the recognition that success lies with an optimal end-user experience.  Over the past six months at X1, we have been educating the market on how to put end-users first with our whitepaper on why traditional enterprise search failed and our webinar on business productivity search.  How do we know that this end-user experience factor is the key to successful enterprise search initiatives?  Because we are seeing it play out in some exciting new deals over the last few months.

  • A large global technology firm purchased 15K+ seats of X1 SearchTM so that employees can quickly find the information they need to do their jobs.  This firm actually has set up its IT function to serve employees the way a consumer technology company would serve its customers.  The IT department creates a set of applications that employees can pull from based on their role.  X1 is a critically important application in each toolbox.
  • A large Government Agency within the Department of Defense purchased 10K+ seats of X1 Search and the Symantec Enterprise Vault Connector in addition to X1 Rapid DiscoveryTM so that employees would have a single-pane-of-glass view across information regardless of where it is stored.  This is a compelling example of how end-user requirements to have a single interface, in which to search across active and archived emails, drove a broader enterprise search initiative.
  • Another large Government Agency purchased over 20,000 seats of X1 Search Virtual Edition and X1 Rapid Discovery amounting to a $1 million deal.   This deal enables the agency to roll out its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) more broadly and meet several security requirements while ensuring that high-value employees have critical knowledge at their fingertips via X1.  Not only does this agency get the excellent X1 search experience, but it is able to fully leverage its VDI technology because of the complementary nature of X1 Search 8, Virtual Edition.
  • In addition, we have seen several enterprise-wide purchases and rollouts of X1 Search by professional services and financial institutions ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 seats.  These organizations understand that employee knowledge is the fuel upon which the business runs.  Giving users an easy way to find what they need to stay productive is key to maintaining profitability.

These deals show that the evolution to business productivity search as the dominant use-case for enterprise search is well underway.  X1 offers the best end-user search experience in the market.  Customer surveys (run by the customers, not X1) routinely show that 85%+ of Search 8 users truly like the product.  Most enterprise software approval ratings hover in the 20% range (based on my experience as an analyst at Forrester Research).  As we close the books on a banner 2014 at X1, we are extremely excited to continue this evolution in 2015.

We invite you to register for our next webinar on Feb 24 – Return on Investment: Attaining Business Productivity Through Search >

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Filed under Business Productivity Search