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

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The Landscape of Enterprise Search

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