It was inevitable that the search market would rapidly expand into the mobile device market and the number of new and established vendors with options for your cell phone or PDA is a daily feast of reading. Combined with other new search options promising voice-enabled search, semantic search, search federating internal with Web and deep Web content, the possibilities for having search served up to suit anyone seem endless.

Tracking over 70 vendors with enterprise search offerings is plenty for me to focus on at the moment. However, as I read the publicity releases and descriptions inviting me to be briefed, in the back of my mind I know that business travelers need access to all kinds of enterprise content regardless of their locale. I worry that my skepticism about mobile search for enterprise content says more about my age than the technology. I might be thinking about struggling with tiny screens and buttons in less than optimal viewing conditions. But I am open to the possibilities and know it will become pervasive, as will all the other flavors of search.

Caution: before jumping into hot new offerings for enterprise search or any other technology, take a deep breath and think about some consequences of being that early adopter.

Security models for enterprise search in which content is being aggregated or federated from across numerous structured and unstructured content repositories is a very big issue, takes lots of planning, mapping, and time to deploy and test. Add the considerations of a start-up vendor dealing with your precious knowledge assets in a wireless world and you might think twice.

Recent CIO Research, CIO Vendor Report Card results for 52 top IT vendors broke out statistics in several areas. The responding audience ranked as their highest priorities two that would be very hard to judge for a new offering:

  • (Vendor) Delivers on Promises
  • Ongoing Support after the Sale and Implementation

Another statistic that was reported in the CIO Vendor Report Card was a measure of the likelihood that the respondent would be willing to recommend the vendor. This reminds us of a critical issue that early adopters of new products and technologies can’t easily resolve, finding recommenders or product case studies.

I don’t want to pick on mobile search especially; there is so much hot stuff coming down the pipeline that it is easy to get carried away. But a sign to take it slowly is when your own enterprise is struggling to keep up with new releases of products from known companies, and lags behind in fully exploiting technology you already have. The hottest “must haves” won’t even make it through initial deployment in this environment. Making certain that enterprise search is working well within the organization is a necessary and critical first step. Having a vendor with a track record and happy customers is a close second.