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A synthesis of the relevant literature and commentary (focusing on the oil & gas sector although some elements may apply to other sectors) has enabled the identification of a number of potential trends, gaps, challenges and opportunities with respect to enterprise search & discovery. It is anticipated that practitioners may find this multi-disciplinary discussion and corporate brain metaphors of interest as a lens for thinking of long term directions.
A key trend is the convergence of established infrastructures and practices with emerging techniques and vast amounts of information, internal & external to, the enterprise. These areas are shown in the figure below, and include Records Management, Data Management, Business Intelligence, Knowledge Management, Workflow Applications, Artificial Intelligence, Information Retrieval, Knowledge Organization Systems, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.
The result is a level of connectivity and speed of communication that did not exist within most large organizations ten years ago. In context to enterprise search & discovery capability, this highly connected environment (network of systems with different functions) may be analogous in part to a corporate brain. A highly connected, self-organizing and adapting system. A system in which information is continually monitored, remembered, recalled, browsed and visualized; analysis, inferences & deductions made, forecasts predicted, hypotheses tested & ideas emerged. People, information, machines, communities and physical infrastructure are all connected in this brain.
Organizations are at various stages of convergence, of piecing together their corporate brain, possibly dependent on factors such as industry sector, culture and size. Applying a systems thinking approach, may help organizations avoid fragmentation and becoming too technology centric as they evolve their enterprise search & discovery capability.
Whenever empirical research studies are conducted around search and discovery capability within enterprises, it is common for the results of what is actually happening to come as a surprise to the organization. This may include performance and functionality of information technologies, search literacy of staff, social interactions or information management beliefs and practices. These findings may imply organizations are routinely operating off flawed beliefs and mental models. Building a capacity for introspection and becoming more self-aware may be a starting point for some organizations in this area.