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The Landscape of Enterprise Search

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My presentation from Online Information Conference 2011: Challenges of enterprise search, 4 trends from the enterprise search industry and advice for those acquiring an enterprise search system

My presentation from Online Information Conference 2011: Challenges of enterprise search, 4 trends from the enterprise search industry and advice for those acquiring an enterprise search system

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  • 1. The Landscape of Enterprise Search Susanne Koch @susanneanette / @pandianews P andia.com Online Information Conference London, December 1 2011
  • 2. My topic today
    • A short introduction to the challenges of enterprise search
    • Four trends in the field of enterprise search
    • Challenges that face organisations looking to acquire an enterprise search system
    • And some advice
  • 3. Challenge 1: Diverse data sources
    • Not like indexing the Web:
      • Company web site
      • Intranet
      • Document management system
      • E-mail systems
      • In-house databases
      • And more
    Cc license of Flickr by Casimusica
  • 4. Challenge 2: Differing standards
    • Enterprise search engines index and compares information
      • Found in different platforms
      • Following different file standards
      • Structured by different taxonomies
  • 5. Challenge 3: Diverse content
    • Not just web pages, but
      • Archive documents and case files
      • E-mails
      • Spreadsheets
      • Manuals and procedures
      • Images
      • Videos
      • And more
  • 6. Challenge 4: Ranking results
    • Google’s algorithms use information from millions of users, billions of links
    • Enterprise search has data generated by some hundreds or thousands of searchers
    • This data has to be supplemented by other information, often on page text and metatags
  • 7. Some solutions
    • Recently, many enterprise search vendors have improved the usability, performance, and functionality of their systems
    • Some of them have managed to overcome some of the problems presented above
    • The trends presented in the following are not the only ones, but identify some major features
  • 8. Trend 1: Search within applications
    • Users no longer want to hunt for information across different systems
    • Some enterprise search solutions integrate with the systems holding the information and make it searchable from within that system
    • Autonomy and Exalead are doing this
  • 9. Trend 2: Combining structured and unstructured data
    • Search results do not have to be lists of links that the searcher has to analyse herself
    • Instead the search systems generate reports that summarise the data the search retrieved
    • The enterprise search engine may also attempt to visualize the data requested
    • Endeca is doing this
  • 10. Trend 3: Combining different content types in search results
    • The increase in rich media leads to a need for searching multiple disparate content sources with one query
    • Some vendors display results lists where texts, images, videos etc. are all presented and sorted not by content type, but by relevance
    • Vivisimo is doing this
  • 11. Trend 4: Integrated social functions
    • Some vendors let users create groups around a particular topic. A person looking for information can identify these groups or search the content tagged by them
    • This requires critical mass to work
    • Microsoft is doing this
  • 12. The buyer’s conundrum
    • Choose between complex and different products
    • Many decision makers lack specific experience in this field
    • Often there is no strong connection between those who are buying the solution and those who are going to use it
    • Difficult to identify in advance which information access problems are to be solved
  • 13. Questions to ask in advance
    • What specific functions are essential?
    • What kind of content is to be processed?
    • How frequently is the index to be updated?
    • How will the the data to be searched grow?
    • How might future search needs be different?
  • 14. What others have found
    • The buyer may not know what is needed until the system is deployed
    • Some times the vendor does not learn what the licensee really meant in the system requirements document until it is too late
    • Allow time and resources to go beyond what you, the buyer, think you want and find out what you really need
  • 15. Get the book!
    • This presentation is based on a new monograph
    • by Stephen E. Arnold:
    • The Landscape of Enterprise Search
    • http://pandia.com/enterprise-search
    Photos supplied by Photos.com where other information is not given