Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: August 2012

Right Fitting Enterprise Search: Content Must Fit Like a Glove

This story brought me up short: Future of Data: Encoded in DNA by Robert Lee Hotz in the Wall Street Journal, Aug. 16, 2012. It describes how “…researchers encoded an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA, the basic building block of life, and then accurately read back the text.” The article then went on to quote Harvard University’s project senior researcher, molecular geneticist, George Church as saying, “A device the size of your thumb could store as much information as the whole Internet. While this concept intrigues and excites me for the innovation and creative thinking, it stimulates another thought, as well. Stop the madness of content overload first – force it to be managed responsibly.

While I have been sidelined from blogging for a couple of months, industry pundits have been contributing their comments, reflections and guidance on three major topics. Big Data tops the list, with analytics a close second, rounded out by contextual relevance as an ever present content findability issue. In November at Gilbane Boston the program features a study conducted by Findwise, Enterprise Search and Findability Survey,2012, which you can now download. It underscores a disconnect between what enterprise searchers want and how search is implemented (or not), within their organizations. As I work to assemble content, remarks and readings for an upcoming graduate course on “Organizing and Accessing Information and Knowledge,” I keep reminding myself what knowledge managers need to know about content to make it accessible.

So, how would experts for our three dominant topics solve the problems illustrated in the Findwise survey report?

For starters, organizations must be more brutal with content housekeeping, or more specifically housecleaning. As we debate whether our country is as great at innovation as in generations past, consider big data as a big barrier. Human beings, even brilliant ones, can only cope with so much information in their waking working hours. I posit that we have lost the concept of primary source content, in other words content that is original, new or innovative. It is nearly impossible to hone in on information that has never been articulated in print or electronically disseminated before, excluding all the stuff we have seen, over and over again. Our concept of terrific search is to be able to traverse and aggregate everything “out there” with no regard for what is truly conceptually new. How much of that “big data” is really new and valuable? I am hoping that other speakers at Gilbane Boston 2012 can suggest methods for crunching through the “big” to focus search on the best, most relevant and singular primary source information.

Second, others have commented, and I second the idea, that analytic tools can contribute significantly to cleansing search domains of unwanted and unnecessary detritus. Search tools that auto-categorize and cross-categorize content, whether the domain is large or small should be employed during any launch of a new search engine to organize content for quick visual examination, showing you where metadata is wrong, mis-characterized, or poorly tagged. Think of a situation where templates are commonly used for enterprise reports and the name of the person who created the template becomes the “author” of every report. Spotting this type of problem and taking steps to remediate and cleanse metadata, before deploying the search system is a fundamental practice that will contribute to better search outcomes. With thoughtful management, this type of exercise will also lead to corrective actions on the content governance side by pointing to how metadata must be handled. Analytics functions that leverage search to support cleaning up data stores are among the most practical tools now packaged with newer search products.

Finally, is the issue of vocabulary management and assigning terminology that is both accurate and relevant for a specific community that needs to find content quickly and without multiple versions, or without content that is just a re-hash of earlier findings published by the originator. Original publication dates, source information and proper author attribution are key elements of metadata that must be in place for any content that is targeted for crawling and indexing. When metadata is complete and accurate, a searcher can expect the best and most relevant content to rise to the top of a results page.

I hope others in a position to do serious research (perhaps a PhD dissertation) will take up my challenge to codify how much of “big data” is really worthy of being found – again, again, and again. In the meantime, use the tools you have in the search and content management technologies to get brutal. Weed the unwanted and unnecessary content so that you can get down to the essence of what is primary, what is good, and what is needed.

Do Google Yourself – Preserving and Protecting your Companies Online Reputation

With The Gilbane Conference just a few short months away, I’ve been thinking a lot about the evolution of themes and topics covered over the past few years. This year we are pleased to have a session lead by Russ Edelman and Toby Bell on Two Key Management Concerns About Social Media :ROI and Reputation Management. This is an increasingly important subject especially when it comes to the enormous impact online reputation has not just on an individual but a company as well.

15 Minutes. 15 Minutes is all it takes for an angry customer to chip away at the integrity of your businesses’ reputation by casting an instant smear campaign across all of your social networks. In some cases that 15 minutes is a generous figure as today’s internet users are more savvy than ever ,especially when motivated by what they deem to be an unfair experience.

Kasio Martin, a self proclaimed internet professional and blogger recently related in one of her entries how a series of bad experiences with local businesses and the subsequent online smear campaigns she launched against them received very different responses, prompting both positive reactions and further negative behavior from her.

“After the bad transaction I googled the business again. I left negative reviews on Insider Pages, City Search, Yahoo, Google Pages and Yellow Pages. These review sites outranked the businesses own Facebook Page in Google. The next time someone googles that business they will find my review 5 times before they get any other information about the company. This took me about 15 minutes to accomplish.”

The part of this scenario that strikes me the most is not just the short amount of time it took this customer to cause a major headache for the offending business, but also that the popularity of these sites she targeted make them the first picks in online search results. The company’s lack of response to her complaints showed even less integrity as it showed they either had a poor social media strategy or none at all. As to the effect they had on the business itself there is no mention but one can imagine that it served as a major discouragement towards attracting new customers.

Ms. Martin recounts an additional story in which her online complaints against a large chain restaurant were not only heard but resolved before the day was through:

“Because the restaurant was a large corporate chain, I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. But I received an email response within the hour. They informed me that they were getting that store on the phone and fixing this immediately. . . Within only a couple of hours they responded to me on Twitter and offered to help. . . Before the end of the workday they had resolved the issue and I didn’t have a bad thing left to say on any channel.”

While the Ms. Martin’s of the world may scare the faint of heart away from attempting to grow their business through social media, both scenarios show that regardless of whether or not you have made pages on these sites, that a Social Reputation is being made for your company whether or not you’re the one facilitating it.

Social Reputation can not be ignored, but it can be preserved and even strengthened through early intervention and constant diligence.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for getting you started:

  • Do Google yourself: This is simply the easiest way to find what’s being said about your company around the entire internet. For faster results try signing up for Google alerts for your company.
  • Do check your @mentions on Twitter and Wall on Facebook: See what’s being said about you both good and bad in seconds. This is a great public forum to address questions, comments and complaints from your customers.
  • Don’t ignore negative online comments: While the easiest solution to a jaded customer review may be to delete it or simply ignore it, this sends an undeniable message to others that either you don’t care enough to answer the complaint or that you’re not on top of your online presence at all.
  • Don’t let third party sites and blogs outrank your own in search results: If third party pages such as yelp, hub pages, and Wikipedia are the first returns when someone searches for your company then your customers/potential customers will receive biased opinions before they even make it to your own site. Stay active on all of your websites and social media outlets and you’ll be sure to have your companies mission and services heard first and foremost.

And finally,

Don’t let negative opinions get in the way of your business’s goals: There will always be critics of the work you do and the worst thing you can do is let it get in the way of the doing a good job. Stay true to your companies mission and purpose and ultimately that work will speak for itself, hopefully in the form of good reviews for a positive Social Reputation.

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For more information on the Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/index.html

To read more about Russ Edelman and Toby Bell’s Session at Gilbane Boston you can find out more @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/conference_program.html#c4

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/speakers.html

 

Gilbane Conference program and speakers posted

The Gilbane Conference program and speaker list are now available in addition to the conference schedule and pre-conference workshop schedule and program – there are just a few details to be added. Other changes between now and the conference will be minimal and will be reflected on the site if/as they occur, so check back once in a while.

The schedule for the product labs/case studies presented by sponsors will also be posted shortly.

IT Spending in the Financial Industry

In a previous post, we looked at IT spending across the landscape of all major corporate industry verticals of The Global 5000 sized firms and noted that the Financial markets lead the way in terms of spending on IT products and services. Finance covers a wide swath of companies and market niches so we are drilling down a bit further here to look at countries, sub-segments of finance and some specific company examples.

The major powers in the world are naturally where we find the biggest finance spenders. In this case, among Global 5000 companies the largest firms are US, UK, Japan, France, China and Germany.  Finance organizations in these 6 countries represent approximately 60% of the finance IT spending market. While many like to rush into new markets to be present when emerging growth starts to ‘pop’ focusing on the big players can obviously pay dividends.

Withing the finance sector, there are many types of organizations that specialize in various products and services. Looking at the 2 largest – banking and insurance, those verticals represent over 70% of the financial IT services market and banking is 50% larger than the insurance market. These two areas dwarf other niches including brokerage, private equity, holding companies and other investment services firms.

Looking closer at banking, US, France, China, UK and Spain are the countries with the largest IT spending. Drilling down further, we find the top 5 banks by IT spending metrics are:

  • BNP Paribas SA
  • Banco Santander, S.A.
  • Bank of America Corporation
  • HSBC Holdings
  • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

In the insurance portion of the financial markets, the major countries leading the way here are: US, Japan, France, Germany and UK. Using the same type of benchmarks applied to insurance company revenues, the Top 5 Global 5000 companies would be:

  • AXA Group
  • Allianz SE
  • Assicurazioni Generali
  • Nippon Life Insurance
  • Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

As you look at market planning and forecasts for serving the financial sector, lining up these segments, countries and individual companies with your own internal systems will help point you in the direction of some of the big spenders.

 

Gilbane Conference schedule posted

We have published the conference schedule for Gilbane Boston. We’ll be publishing detailed conference session descriptions with speakers in the next week or so including details on the keynote sessions. It is very tempting to provide more details right here but we are still in the process of a few speaker placements we want to finish up first.

The pre-conference workshop schedule, including detailed descriptions and instructors is also available. If you registered for a conference pass that included a workshop before the workshop options were available, you can make your choice now and contact customer service to have your registration updated.

 

IT Spending by Industry … a way to estimate market potential

Nearly every organization likes to measure its activity and spending by comparing themselves to other like firms in their peer group.  Over the years,  IT spending has been one area that companies always try to measure this way.

The vendors who supply IT products and solutions have used similar metrics to help define market segments and accounts that may spend more than others and be more attractive candidates.

We took this concept to the companies in The Global 5000 — the 5000 largest companies in the world that are both public and private, across all countries, all industries. Using available research data we find IT spending as a % of revenue that can range from less than 1% for the construction industry to 6% in the financial services industry. The next step was to apply these IT Spending percentages for each industry sector to each company in the database.

Adding up the totals across the database, we find a total of $1.4 trillion is spent on IT products and services by the 5000 largest companies in world. Looking geographically, the countries with the largest amount of IT spend are the 3 largest by GDP as we would expect — US, Japan and China. Those 3 countries represent 52% of the large company spending in the world. Taking this a step further, if you are a provider of IT products or services and participate in markets around the world, a good metric for your business would to have 50% of your revenue coming from these 3 countries.

Looking at this from an industry perspective, the largest spending industries are Financial Services, Oil and Gas companies and the Telecommunications segment. That’s where the money is.

When we look at key industries within various countries the data does show some key differences.  For example, in the US, Health Care and Retailers come up strong in the top industries. In Japan, Autos and Industrial segments rise to the top. All of these metrics are worth considering as companies look to decide what markets, industries and geographies to focus on.

We’ll look to explore more details on IT spending by industry and country in the coming posts.

For more details on The Global 5000 database — click here

 

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