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.
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.