Search Systems Redux
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Presentation I gave at Enterprise Search Summit 2011. It suggests low-tech and relatively inexpensive ways to bring failing search projects back to life.

Presentation I gave at Enterprise Search Summit 2011. It suggests low-tech and relatively inexpensive ways to bring failing search projects back to life.

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Search Systems Redux Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Search Systems Redux: Restoring health to failing search projects Bob Boeri bboeri@guident.com Guident - 198 Van Buren Street, Suite 120 Herndon, VA 20170 - Tel: 703.326.0888, www.guident.comCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 1
  • 2. Agenda• Findability – What is it? Why is it so hard?• Findability project stages with a focus on search systems inside the firewall.• Ideas for improving findability on the cheap.• Findability ChecklistCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 2
  • 3. Search Project Big Picture Search Project Parameters Search Project Sweet Spot How long it took to finish How much it How well it cost turned out Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 3
  • 4. What most search projects have in common• Organizing and searching content, interface design.• Balancing recall and precision• Get compared with Google.• Team rarely understands SEARCH.the White Rabbit was still in sight, hurrying... There was nota moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, andwas just in time to hear it say,…‘Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’ Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 4
  • 5. Field of Dreams -- NOT After you roll out the search system, users will flock to it, right? No. • “if you build a search system they will come” usually not true. • Or only be because they must, at least initially. • When they come, very different search system expectations. Remember: Users want to find, not search.Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 5
  • 6. Why are search projects so hard? • Differing groups must work together. • Differing Expectations, knowledge and views: – Information Technology – Business Users – Finance and Accounting – Legal • New, often strange territory • Requires informed, holistic view to succeed.Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 6
  • 7. Some Issues with input to Search Systems SYSTEM Example Issues Content mgmt Metadata and Definitions? Access systems Content rights Other search systems Where are they? In CMS systems, on desktop… Social Systems Tagging Managed or Folksonomy? Scanners/OCR Poor OCR Search systems can’t find pictures of text. • Few –within or outside IT– understand all these pieces. •Few –within or outside IT– understand all the systems that are affected by a search project. • Money (or hardware) may not be the problem. Possibly less expensive approaches.Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 7
  • 8. IT Search Project Expectations – Big Picture Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 8
  • 9. IT Expectations – Details • Search projects begin and end • Business needs? • Install and walk away. • We configure, not customize. • Who needs training? Search is inherently easy. “Time required to support and maintain the <search> system 14%.” Response to poll question “What’s the top drawback of Enterprise Search, described in “Go Rogue with Enterprise Search,” InformationWeek, 14 Mar 2011 Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 9
  • 10. What IT Found and thought What’s wrong? We “selected all” features for the users. We selected the system based on architectural and functional requirements. It passed UAT. We’re meeting all our SLAs! “IT generally thinks it doesn’t have a search problem. 56% rank search in the bottom third of project lists.” “Go Rogue with Enterprise Search,” InformationWeek, 14 Mar 2011 Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 10
  • 11. What IT Found – Details • Users griping • Search systems - lots of moving parts: – What is indexing anyway? Is it like a database index? – What are incremental and full indexes? Optimization? What impact do they and other factors have on performance and system resources? – Search log? What search log? Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 11
  • 12. Business Search Expectations – Big PictureCopyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 12
  • 13. Business Expectations – Details • I’ll be as happy with it as with Google or Bing; works instantly • Don’t bother me with the details, just do it. • Always find what they are looking for • Leave IT to install the system; no ongoing need for business users to be engaged. • Why do we need training? “…straightforward search engine mechanisms are unable to provide the pattern matching, trend plotting and semantic analysis that may be required.” AIIM Industry Watch, Content Analytics, 2010Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 13
  • 14. What Business Users Found Slow! Can’t find what I want! Hard to use! Expensive! Why can’t I use it for eDiscovery? “Search is being brought <into the enterprise by> Business unit leaders, not IT, driving search Purchases.” “Go Rogue with Enterprise Search,” InformationWeek, 14 Mar 2011Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 14
  • 15. What Business Found – Details • Ease of Use: – Awkward interface – They need training about how to search inside the firewall. All that metadata! • Comparisons with Google or Bing: – System is slow and results not relevant. – Top results often not relevant • Weird error messages • IT doesn’t understand their search problem(s)Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 15
  • 16. How to fix things, quickly and cheaply? • Look at the full project lifecycle. Anything skipped, or misunderstood? Invite all players to participate • Probe the competence of IT in managing Search systems. • Confirm the clients’ and IT’s understanding of Search systems. • Confirm project essentials Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved 16
  • 17. Think Locally, Act Globally • LOCAL: Pick your battles, which problems you can fix first. By starting small, you can eventually grow. • GLOBAL: Get everyone thinking about search holistically, across the enterprise. • Help business team: Explain inside-firewall searching • Help IT: Search is different from most applications they are familiar with. Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 17
  • 18. Search Projects Lifecycle Design Functional and Technical Requirements Taxonomy and Metadata Analyze Enterprise Rights Build Management Pain Points – Change Initiate Current State – Performance - Management Future State Speed System Objectives 80-20: Who Governance Plan Scope – HW / SW Searches? Why? Requirements? Test the System andStakeholders - Allies Taxonomy Usability problem? Build Training, Sponsor Strategy – Tactics Deliver Feedback “To Be” Model mechanisms Monitor - Govern Taxonomies Continuous Improvement Train EvangelizeCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 18
  • 19. Initiate Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Unexpected allies? Librarians, taxonomists, records managers, ECM users, Technical Writers, Attorneys (eDiscovery issues), Business Analysts … • Squeaky wheels? • Goals and objectives? Business or Technical? Lower costs? Reacting to a lawsuit? • Green issues can include cost savings. “As part of their business case, 37% would find it “extremely” or “very useful” to demonstrate the ‘Green IT’ benefits of ECM <also Search>, particularly with regard to fewer photocopies and file copies. AIIM State of the ECM Industry, 2010. Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 19
  • 20. Initiate Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver Scope: – Anticipate trends (blogs, wikis, social tagging…) – Augment or upgrade what you have today, or will you replace it? – Training within scope? (It had better be.) – Cost savings a business requirement? How was it determined? Realistic?AIIM Findability Poll response to the question “I believe the ‘wisdom of the crowds’improves information quality.” Ages 18-30, 57% agreed. Ages 31-45, 49% agreed.Ages > 45, 33% agreed. AIIM Webinar, ECM in 2010. Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 20
  • 21. Training is a relatively simple fix • Training – For IT if they don’t understand search systems and all the moving parts • Performance • Thesauruses • Indexing… – For users if they think finding information inside the firewall is easy • Search concepts • Metadata • Taxonomy • Compare a rich internal search with metadata with Google search and its metadata. Copyright © 2011Guident - All rights reserved dictionary 21 Taxonomy refresh
  • 22. Analyze Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Interview business users, promoters and detractors. What are they saying? • Users understand taxonomy (folders, metadata, home page navigation )? • Usability issues – Difficult to use? – System slow or not finding what it should? – Is there a tactical quick win consistent with strategic goals? – Features you can remove? • Remember – Manage Expectations; • Performance; Precision versus recall • Under-promise, over-deliverCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 22
  • 23. Usability Example: Inscrutable errormessages Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • One of my personal favorites: Inscrutable error messages • Yet there is a reason for it behind after you dig deeply enough. Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 23
  • 24. Example: Indexing Errors / Strategies Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Indexing errors? • Make sure error logs are being analyzed to fix root problems. • Full (re-)indexing or index optimization occurring periodically? • Benchmark performance: – How slow? – Hardware issues? – Indexing strategy? – Search system administration? Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 24
  • 25. Analyze Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver• Configuration versus Customization• Searching ECM repositories? – Content Management Interoperability Service, CMIS. – Check out http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=cmis – Learn more: http://aiim.typepad.com/aiim_blog/2009/12/8-reasons-why-cmis-will- transform-the-ecm-industry.html#tp and http://aiim.typepad.com/aiim_blog/2010/12/8-reasons-why-2011-will-be-the-year-of- cmis.htmlCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 25
  • 26. Analyze Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Many copies of the same document? Data de-duplication could be a cost- savings measure (and help findability too). • What taxonomies or metadata currently exist? – They exist … maybe implicitly or by other names … site maps, for example. – Folder structures in ECMs – Metadata – Managed vocabularies, such as thesauruses and value lists • Who is in charge of information governance? • User Interface.For most content types, our respondent’s ability to “research” is 3-6times less than their ability to “search”, particularly for rich media files,but also office documents and emails. AIIM Industry Watch, Content Analytics, 2010Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 26
  • 27. Analyze Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver• Cost an issue?• Consider Open SourceCopyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 27
  • 28. Analysis – questions to consider Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Searchable versus displayable metadata? • Can you remove some “built-in” properties that are not useful? – Personal favorites: Character Set, – Mime Type “Too much irrelevant data will be found 23%.” Response to poll question “What’s the top drawback of Enterprise Search, described in “Go Rogue with Enterprise Search,” InformationWeek, 14 Mar 2011 Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 28
  • 29. Design Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Index more metadata? • Effect on performance (and training)? • Upgrade taxonomies? – Avoid business organizational (changes, hard to work with cross-organizational content) – Consider a process approach: What new business processes produce documents to be searched? • More or different hardware? – Memory? Servers? – How much? – Google Search Appliance? • Quick comparison with what you’ve got now. • Users love Google – 80-20 possibility? • Integration issues (e.g., target system metadata)Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 29
  • 30. Design Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Index design – Full versus incremental indexing – When – “on the fly” for everything? End of day or end of week? • Develop business processes to review search logs and act on them. • New repositories to search? If so, how to connect with them? CMIS? • Social Tool Tip: Can users share search queries? Can you set up a WIKI for users to share useful queries?Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 30
  • 31. Build Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • Test taxonomies or evaluate changes to current ones: – Scope and participation: Who, what, when, how? • Whole taxonomy, every node? Probably unrealistic. Hardest branches? Says who? • Knowledgeable participants as well as those who admit they don’t understand the current one. – Sampling techniques – how many and which documents to test and which branches? – Participants – – Consider unmanaged, social tagging to complement managed vocabularies. • Training or HELP is needed: – Sessions no longer than an hour. – HELP and tool tips. – Get and use ongoing feedback via internal blogs or wikis.Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 31
  • 32. Deliver – Install and Walk Away? Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver • No. • Ongoing Auditing and Governance – Are new metadata elements needed? – Who decides? – Are there new repositories to be searched? – Are there problems that need fixing? Information Systems Governance: …a subset discipline of Corporate Governance focused on Information Technology (IT) systems and their performance and risk management. IT governance implies a system in which all stakeholders, including the board, internal customers, and in particular departments such as finance, have the necessary input into the decision making process. Wikipedia, “Information Technology Governance.”Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 32
  • 33. Deliver – Install and Walk Away? Initiate Analyze Design Build Deliver• Deliver training• Advertise social feedback tools: Wikis, Blogs, even email• Keep users engaged and involved• Establish and maintain governance structures• Have high-level stakeholders publicize their approval Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 33
  • 34. In Summary• Andy Grove was right: Only the Paranoid Survive and get to deliver findability results successfully.• Use both the left (analytical) and right (creative) sides of your brain, and make sure your team has both sufficient technical and political skills, throughout the full lifecycle of your findability projects.• Don’t boil the ocean. You’ve succeeded if your users are happier and you’ve added search options or repositories to search.• There are plenty of basic, inexpensive ways to improve the search experience.• And don’t forget that findability projects never end, they just change their phases. Copyright © 2011 Guident - All rights reserved 34
  • 35. About GuidentRequest Findability Checklist Tool and Findability Quotes: bboeri@guident.com Government Sector Commercial Sector http://guident.com (c) Guident Proprietary and Confidential Information 35