A GSA Case Study - Manufacturing Industry


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This global manufacturer required an Enterprise Search Solution for their internal Sales & Marketing Portal. Read how Search Technologies helped this Fortune 5000 company develop an implementation strategy for the Google Search Appliance. http://www.searchtechnologies.com/google-search-appliance-case-study-manufacturing.html


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A GSA Case Study - Manufacturing Industry

  1. 1. US: Phone: 703-953-2791UK: Phone: 01344 292 292www.searchtechnologies.cominfo@searchtechnologies.comA global, Fortune 500 manufacturer required an Enterprise Search Solutionfor their internal Sales & Marketing Portale to call out something from your text.BACKGROUND AND BUSINESS OBJECTIVESLike all Fortune 500 companies, this customer has a vast storeof corporate knowledge housed in multiple repositories, andaccessed through a variety of intranet portals.The Sales and Marketing organization needed easier access toresearch developed by an internal business intelligence group,as well as to other sales support materials scattered aroundseveral content repositories. As part of an overall corporateinitiative to leverage research and other intellectual capital toimprove corporate performance, the customer chose SearchTechnologies to help implement the first phase of anenterprise-wide search system.The primary project goal was to provide Sales and Marketingemployees with an easier way to find consumer andcompetitive research, information on sales trends includingseasonal adjustments, plus templates and worksheets used incampaigns. A new sales portal would enable these employeesto easily find all of these materials from a single search box,regardless of where the information was stored.The project would also demonstrate the value of enterprisesearch as a cornerstone of an overall corporate knowledgemanagement strategy.CHALLENGES AND REQUIREMENTSThe customer faced several challenges in the development ofa sales portal: Search was being underused across the company, in partbecause search results were perceived as beingmediocre. Search had a poor reputation Sales personnel needed to go to 10 different sites orportals to search for the information they needed. And,they had no access at all to the important intellectualcapital created by the Research GroupA lack of trustworthy document-level security was a keyfactor. In such a competitive industry, preventing the leakageof intellectual property is a priority, and this was getting in theway of enterprise search.In addition to these overall search challenges, the customerhad some specific requirements that a new search capabilityshould fulfill: Content needed to be extracted from several differentcontent sources, including WordPress, file systems, anda new content management system (Alfresco, with aLiferay portal) Search navigators were highly desired by users, althoughvery little metadata existed to drive them Many documents were very large, including PowerPointpresentations and highly technical PDF files. Support for a search spell-checker and a “did you mean”function were seen as importantThe customer previously facilitated internal research andstakeholder surveys to compile their list of requirements. Acomprehensive set of wire-frame designs had also beendeveloped. These helped to articulate the company’s visionfor its "ideal search system".SEARCH TECHNOLOGIES’ SOLUTIONArmed with these requirements, and aided by further, moredetailed requirements gathered through a Search Assessment,the Search Technologies team helped this customer todevelop an implementation strategy.The content sources to be indexed were approachedindividually. This included taking full account of document-level security requirements. These varied depending on thedata sources, and the variations introduced complexities.CASE STUDY:The GOOGLE SEARCH APPLIANCE in MANUFACTURING
  2. 2. End user features were discussed. For example: query auto-completion; "best bets"; stemming; results biasing; and searchnavigators.Taxonomy development was also discussed, and a plan wasmade. Metadata was lacking in the content sources. Auto-generation of new metadata, to a consistently high standard,was recognized as a foundation for better search.In discussions with the customer, it was decided that theGoogle Search Appliance, working together with SearchTechnologies Aspire Content Processing platform, provided afull set of functionality for the project.Using the Aspire, Search Technologies developed customconnectors to crawl documents from Alfresco, Liferay, andWordPress. The crawled documents are filtered to determinewhich ones are new, changed, or deleted. Updates are thenpassed to the Google Connector Framework. This combinationis much more efficient than repository crawling. It ensuresthat the GSAs search indexes are updated as content changes,rather than having to wait for a daily crawl of therepository. This approach mitigated a major security concern,and helped the customers search team to build a closerelationship with important repository owners.DEPLOYMENTThe system was delivered on time, despite a number ofunexpected challenges. The solution included: Aspire-based connectors for Alfresco, Liferay, andWordpress Normalizing LDAP Proxy/ LDAP Group Expansioncapabilities into a single security resource for searchpurposes. This addressed a specific and problematicfeature of the customers overall security infrastructureCURRENT STATUSThe customer’s Sales and Marketing team now has easy accessto all of the research, trend data, and supporting materialsthey need, through a simple query interface that looks just likeGoogle.com. The underlying complexities involving multipledata repositories and heavy document-level securityrequirements are taken care of automatically. Usersexperience a simple yet highly productive search environment.The information they find is up-to-date and relevant. Users arealso provided with contextual navigation options, enablingthem to browse the available information through DynamicNavigation.This fits a common scenario, in which the user is not exactlysure what they are looking for. Now they have the entirecontent set available to explore (subject to their permissions)through a combination of search and browse.Search Technologies also provided training, knowledgetransfer, and general guidance to the customers staff whotoday, are managing the implementation efficiently, andmaintaining search excellence for the benefit of their users.COMMENTARYThis customer engagement exemplifies a number of commonthemes, which can be summarized as follows: A key to the project was getting repository owners, whowere under huge pressure to prevent IP leakage andprotect sensitive data, to get to know and trust both thesearch team, and the technologies that were beingproposed. Security was complex, but this can be fullyaddressed through the application of best practices andcustomization There is often an emotional aspect to security, which thisproject was able to address Diligent content processing, to prepare data for indexing,through enrichment and normalization, helps the searchengine to perform at its best. Combine this contentpreparation with the core relevancy and tuneability ofthe GSA, and the result is a highly efficient searchexperience. "Just like Google." The GSAs built-in ease of administration, together withan overall approach that identified and mitigatedpotential complexities, ensures that this customer runs agreat search system at a low overall cost-of-ownershipAbout Search TechnologiesLeadershipThe largest IT services companydedicated to enterprise searchimplementation, consulting, andmanaged servicesIndependenceWorking with all of the leadingsearch software vendors andopen source alternativesExperience400+ customers and more than50,000 consultant days of expertservices delivered in the last fouryears alone