Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Month: May 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

Thinking about Enterprise Search the Right Way

A major differentiator for search products used within enterprises to enable finding enterprise generated and re-purposed content is intent. For too long the focus has been on search for content based on keywords that are contained in target content. Target content has been determined by what repositories and document formats are explicitly included in the search engine “crawl.” This simplistic approach to search for the most appropriate content does not work.

At an upcoming session, EST-3, in the Enterprise Search track at the San Francisco Gilbane Conference, we want to change the discussion about why search is needed for enterprise content and how it should be implemented. This means putting a focus on the intent of a searcher. In an e-commerce Internet experience we assume that the intent of a searcher is to find information with an end goal of selecting or purchasing products. But much of the content that is crawled on the Internet is “discovered” by all kinds of searchers who begin with no particular intent but curiosity, self-education, or with a search for something entirely different. We all know where that lands us – in a pile of stuff that may contain the target of our intent but mostly stuff with little relevance.

Enterprise search has to be thought of as a value-added tool for enriching and improving our work experience and efficiency. If it is installed, implemented and tuned with little thought as to intent, it becomes another white elephant in the basement of legacy IT failures. Intent needs to be constantly explored and examined, which means that search administrators will routinely be talking to representative users, and surveying expectations and experiences.

In our enterprises we search for content for many reasons. It is what we do with that content that creates business value or not. Too often, organizations discover that the content workers need to perform at their highest levels is not found. This may be because search implementation(s) are not delivered to the desktop to fit easily into workflow, or the interface is hard to use. It can also be that required content never gets included as a retrieval option. Search experts can give us guidance to establish search tools in the ways that fit how workers seek information and find actionable content to better their work output.

On June 19th three such experts will talk about cases in which search solutions were designed for a particular audience. If you are in the audience to hear them, please comment through this blog on what you learn. New insights into applying search “the right way” are a refreshing addition to case study library.

Speakers:

Jean Bedord, Findability & Search Consultant, Econtent Strategies, Search for the Enterprise: Creating Findability
Mark Bennett, CTO, New Idea Engineering, Protecting Confidential Information within the Corporate Search Box
Mark Morehead, Senior VP, MuseGlobal, UWire: A Case Study in Using Search to Streamline Editorial Processes in the Enterprise

Gilbane San Francisco In-depth Workshops 3 weeks away

This year we have 5 half-day workshops following our conference with 5 excellent expert instructors. These are a great complement to the conference for those of you really need to dig-in to a topic.
A: Web Content Management Systems: Architectures & Products
Tony Byrne, Founder, CMS Watch, Publisher, The CMS Report
B: Enterprise Search: How to Successfully Adopt and Deploy Search
Lynda Moulton, Lead Analyst for Enterprise Search, the Gilbane Group
C: The Hive: A New Model for Extracting the Best from ECM Initiatives
Cairo Walker, Consultant, Enterprise Content Management Graduate Program, University of Technology, Sydney
D: Buying and Implementing Content Management and Global Translation Management Systems
Andrew Draheim, Globalization Consultant, Dig-IT!
E: Social Media 101: Building a Social Media Roadmap
Rachel Happe, Research Manager, Digital Business Economy, IDC
Registration information

Search your Enterprise Really Needs

In the forthcoming Gilbane research report, Enterprise Search Markets and Applications Capitalizing on Emerging Demand, I describe several distinctly different scenarios for search applications. The variety of search products underscores innovative approaches to applying search and diversity of needs. The Enterprise Search track at the upcoming Gilbane Conference in San Francisco will feature numerous examples of why and how search is being applied across small, medium and very large domains of enterprise content. Hearing from those experienced in implementing and deploying search solutions will inform you when positioning your search “must haves” as you narrow possible options.

Our first group panel will feature two consultants and a solutions provider each with a perspective on aligning the search problem you are trying to solve with a business case and the type of product being offered. As moderator, I will be looking for examples from speakers that will resonate with the audience to provide a connection between what has been demonstrated as valuable and workable, and what conference-goers are seeking. These sessions are about matching experience with investigation and creating an environment for exchanging information and allowing inquiry and research to flourish.

Much has been made of the rise of “social” technologies in the past year, but technology is only a tool. Any meeting gathering with product exhibits facilitates your first-hand viewing of technology and the vendors offering products. But more important, are the professional social connections that give flesh and realism to the application of technology. If you set out to ask just one question of each speaker you meet or fellow attendee, make it one that will help you build a realistic picture around a product you are considering to meet a need. For example, ask not about whether product “A” can perform function “XYZ” but what it took in terms of human resources to deliver that terrific interface that the speaker is showcasing. Social networking gives you that opportunity.

Professional conferences are learning opportunities and, compared to today’s college tuition costs, a great bargain. Also, educational institutions are relatively limited, exposing you to controlled scenarios or short-term experiences. What you gain at meetings like the Gilbane conferences is opportunity to benefit from long-term experiences in real business situations by asking those who have been there and done that, how it came about, got built and what the demonstrable outcomes are.

A look at these topics for session EST-2 shows how our speakers will frame their experiences: Venkat Rangan, CTO, Clearwell Systems, Search and Information Retrieval Needs for eDiscovery; Randy Woods, Executive VP, Non-linear Creations, Best Practices for Tuning Enterprise Search; Sam Mefford, Enterprise Search Practice Lead, Avalon Consulting, Beyond Silos: Changing ‘Hide and Seek’ to ‘Index and Find.’ I’m always looking for new perspectives on search and ways of helping my clients understand their options. This will enrich my own learning experiences, as well.

Webinar: Get (and Keep) Customers with Web Experience Management

Updated August 7
Thursday, June 5, 12:00 noon ET
Customers want more and better. More and better content. More and better capabilities for finding products and services. More and better capabilities for evaluating, trying, and buying. More and better capabilities for collaborating. The trends are clear. Customer engagement is the goal, web experience management the strategy. But how to make it happen?
Gilbane’s Bill Trippe, FatWire president and CEO Yogesh Gupta, and web experts at Linksys and the Colorado Department of Transportation discuss trends, required capabilities, and real applications in this online panel discussion. Learn how how your company can deliver highly personalized, interactive experiences with a solid WCM foundation and engagement building blocks such as dynamic content, optimization, collaboration and community.
Register today for Web Experience Management: Essentials for Engaging Customers and Winning Loyalty. Participation is limited, so sign up early.
Sponsored by FatWire.
Update: The recorded webinar is now available for viewing.

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