Developing a Search & Findability Practice for the Enterprise – Ravi Mynampaty, Harvard Business School


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This presentation is a case study of how we are improving search at Harvard Business School (HBS) and building a practice area to support this endeavor. You will hear how we built the road towards the holy grail of one-stop Enterprise search as we travelled on it. This path initially included a set of incremental steps until we gained enough critical mass to formalize the process. While we have made significant progress towards the end goal, we are still very much on the journey. This talk will describe the path we took, where we are currently, and what the future roadmap looks like. Learn about the components of our search & findability practice, the skill sets of the people who comprise the team, tools we are using, and also some tactical steps you can take to improve search when you go back to work tomorrow so that you too can embark on this voyage.
For more information about Findability Day, go to

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Developing a Search & Findability Practice for the Enterprise – Ravi Mynampaty, Harvard Business School

  1. 1. Copyright © President & Fellows of Harvard CollegeDeveloping a Search & FindabilityPractice for the EnterpriseRavi MynampatyFindability Program Manager
  2. 2. About meA hustler making a living by pretending toknow more about search than he actuallydoes...@ravimynampaty
  3. 3. the heck should I listen to Ravi?
  4. 4. One search (input) box to rule them all.What Ive been chasing...
  5. 5. Whats this talk about?
  6. 6. Where did we come from?
  7. 7. Where are we going?
  8. 8. Religion
  9. 9. 10 Principles
  10. 10. 5 Tools
  11. 11. What the heck isFindability?
  12. 12. Search Patterns, Morville & Callender
  13. 13. Modified from Search Patterns, Morville & Callender
  14. 14. • Much of HBS web content not searchable• Inconsistent location of search input box• Plethora of search tools• Many search dead ends• Out of the box search engineCirca 2005
  15. 15. 2006
  16. 16. 2006Started with improvements to UI layer on Websites
  17. 17. 2007
  18. 18. 2007• Started incorporating Intranet and protectedcontent• Used three integration approaches:o Blended Searcho Brokered Queryo Query Resubmit
  19. 19. 2007
  20. 20. 2008
  21. 21. 2008
  22. 22. 2008• Have search engine do the heavy liftingo Metadata injection in indexing pipelineo Lightweight external metadata store• Continuation of tactical, iterative approach• Extend refiner option to 2nd-level of refiners
  23. 23. 2008
  24. 24. 2009
  25. 25. 2009Formalized 4 practice areas.
  26. 26. 2010
  27. 27. 2010Developed Findability Standards
  28. 28. 2010InformationManagementServices (IMS)
  29. 29. 2011/12
  30. 30. 2011/2012Rolled out standards
  31. 31. 2011/2012Rolled out standards
  32. 32. What have we learned?
  33. 33. Religion
  34. 34. FundamentalistIncrementalism
  35. 35. Principles
  36. 36. Principle No. 0Your search engine doesnt matter(so much)Its more about data and linkages between data
  37. 37. Principle No. 1Top requirement for a search technology:CONFIGURABILITY
  38. 38. Principle No. 2关系guanxi
  39. 39. Principle No. 3根回しnemawashi
  40. 40. Principle No. 4Reach out to people who agree with you
  41. 41. Principle No. 5Things users complain about will change
  42. 42. Principle No. 6Be sure to grease the squeaky wheel
  43. 43. Principle No. 7Do not fall into the "What if..." death spiral
  44. 44. Principle No. 8Sometimes the stars will align just right
  45. 45. Principle No. 9Search is sexy
  46. 46. 5 Toolszzpza:
  47. 47. Tool No. 1:Data Dictionary(courtesy of Erin Wise)• Identify content types (People,Publications, Events, etc.)• Identify data to be captured for eachcontent type based on:o Content structureo Functional requirementso Display standards• Identify data that should becontrolled, and provide controlledvocabularies
  48. 48. Tool No. 1: Data DictionaryCapture data consistently to facilitate display, filtering, search.
  49. 49. Tool No. 1: Data Dictionary
  50. 50. Tool No. 2: Biz Owner Questionnaire1. What is the overall business purpose/objective of this UI?2. What do you know of the current specificbehaviors of users of this UI?3. What do you know of the desired specificbehaviors of users of this UI?
  51. 51. Tool No. 3: Findability Audit Template1. Ensure XYZ content is searchable from the XYZ sitePlace a search input box on all WES pages. This search box should ...Current Status: Content already being indexed by the HBS search engine, but…Process: HTML in the page header will need to be edited manually to add search boxPriority: HighRecommended Timeframe: Short-termEstimated Effort: 3-5 days to implementDependencies: Enabling fielded search requires data enhancement
  52. 52. Tool No. 4: Baseline Analytics Reports• Reports to Track and Evaluate Search Keywords andQuality of Searcho Search Keywords reporto Queries with No Results, No clicks• Report to Understand from Where Visitors Are Comingo Referrer reporto Referring Pages report• Report to Determine from Where Visitors Begin aSearch: Pages on which Local Search Invoked report• Reports to Determine Where Visitors Go from a SearchResults Page. Report for Click-through from SERP.o Report for Query-Query Reformulation. The series ofkeyword phrases that a user employs during a singlesearch session.
  53. 53. Tool No. 5: Clustering search logs
  54. 54. 2013
  55. 55. 2013(Photo courtesy Paulina Wójciak)
  56. 56. 2014• Operationalize search analytics program• Automated loop of analytics feedingtaxonomy and metadata improvements• Implement Information ManagementInfrastructure• Integrate taxonomy/tagging w/search• Role-based relevancy at the group level• APIs
  57. 57. 2015• Formal user testing for search• Role-based relevancy at the individual level• Continue federation of available APIs• Rationalize Search UIs...and plenty more to come...
  58. 58. Remember...Become a Fundamentalist IncrementalistThank you!