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Tag: Beyond Search (Page 1 of 3)

Beyond Intent

Intent, hidden within a search click, lies at the intersection of Search and Business, as in “let’s do some business”. That search click has extra-ordinary value because of the intent to buy — that’s why we’re searching, right?

Perhaps, or maybe we’re just browsing, or surfing, and we’re not in the mood for advertisements. It could be more militant than that; perhaps we’re still trying to research our choices and would see a sales pitch as tainting the honesty of the information. At least that’s what the founders of Google originally believed.

Although the model of the web was a set of stateless pages, and a Google search box certainly fits that appearance, people’s intent is not stateless. It ebbs and flows, from entertaining looking around, to researching choices and comparing possibilities, through sourcing a chosen product (now we’re talking about a qualified buyer), to selecting fulfillment options, and possibly all the way to figuring out how to return a product that we’re dissatisfied with. That last one is probably not the best time to present an ad claiming how wonderful that product is.

This is a “long running transaction,” a series of steps that fit together and flow towards (and past) a purchasing decision, but with back-currents and eddies. And it really is a transaction in the database sense where a failure during one step can cause the entire sequence to be discarded as if it never happened. Though if you believe Sergey and Larry, it will be worse than never happening, you may lose trust in your guide through that transaction.

Has the intent changed? Depends on what that means. On one hand, what has changed across those steps is the mode of the intent. If the intent was to purchase a product, then the research, comparison, purchase, and fulfillment were clearly pieces of that intent, though they call for different approaches: organic search for the research, product focused responses for the purchase, perhaps service-oriented for the fulfillment, and some combination for the comparison.

But what about that “I need to return this product because I hate it” step? The intent has clearly changed, but it is more necessary than ever to connect this new intent to the previous steps. If not, perhaps the search engine will continue to suggest that product to a disgruntled customer with very counter-productive results.

So, what is the unifying concept? Is it intent, organized by modes? Not if what is being unified is a complete user’s story about their purchasing experience.

“Beyond Search” at Gilbane San Francisco

We have a lot of search coverage at our San Francisco conference in a couple of weeks, including a conference keynote, a track keynote, multiple panel sessions, and an in-depth workshop. To complement all of this we are offering a 20% discount to registered attendees who order Beyond Search: What to do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen Arnold.

Steve is being interviewed by Lynda Moulton in the Enterprise Search track keynote, so you can pepper him with questions after you read the report. All registered attendees will automatically get an email with the coupon code to use for the discount. If you can’t make it to San Francisco you can still get the report at .

Find out more about what we’ll be covering in our search track on Lynda’s search blog. Though there is some overlap, also see the Search and Semantic Technology category

Enterprise Search and the Conference Season

My blog has been silent for several weeks as I wrapped up a study of the enterprise search marketplace. More information about the report will be forthcoming in the next week or so. In the meantime, the conference season is upon us with the Infonortics Search Engine conference just held in Boston, the Enterprise Search Summit in New York next week, TextAnalytics being held in Boston in mid-June and our own Gilbane San Francisco Conference being held June 18 – 20th. It is a feast for those in the market to buy or just become more familiar with the huge number of options. In my recent research on the marketplace I interviewed a number of people who had recently made a procurement of a search product. To a person there was significant pain expressed about how much time had been spent examining and rejecting options. With well over 100 search and “beyond search” products that are now commercially viable on the market, you need to find ways to winnow your choices efficiently. There is no better way to do this than to acquire publications that give you comprehensive information concentrated in one place PLUS going to conferences to:

  1. To meet vendors and assess the type of business relationship you are likely to experience with them
  2. Meet other users or potential users of the various technologies to learn, first hand, what their experiences have been buying and using search software

Attending conference sessions where case studies are being given by those deploying or using software is important, but discussions on the side can also be valuable. People who show up at our Gilbane Conferences are a sharing crowd and are easy to network with. As the track chairman for all the enterprise search sessions in San Francisco, I plan to hold at least one and maybe two roundtable discussions, open to anyone who wants to participate in a free flow of ideas about enterprise search. This will likely be in the location of the lunch venue – so we can pick at our food and each others’ brains, simultaneously.

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to showcase the themes for our search sessions in San Francisco, beginning with the Search Keynote. Last year in Boston we had a panel discussion of search executives and analysts; that was a great discussion. This June I am going to thrust Steve Arnold, author of our new publication Beyond Search, into our spotlight with a series of questions about the marketplace to discover things that he thinks buyers should be focused on over the next six months plus soliciting some thoughts on selecting appropriate technologies. He will surely add commentary on the changing vendor landscape and what it means. Once I have had a go at questioning him, the audience will have a chance to seek his guidance. This is a “not to be missed” session so please put it on your calendar – it will not be recorded.

To warm you up to Mr. Arnold’s style and range of thoughts on the subject, check out this recent interview he gave to Jess Bratcher of Bratcher & Associates.

New Research Reports and New Report Home

Our Publishing Practice released a new report this week: Digital Magazine and Newspaper Editions – Growth, Trends, and Best Practices. This is an interesting study especially because it is not an area covered much, if at all, by other firms. Bill Rosenblatt, who co-authored the report with Steve Paxhia, blogged about the report yesterday. You can download the report at no charge from our new “Research Reports” page.
The new page will be the place to find a listing of our most current reports and studies. You can also find information there about Beyond Search: What to do When Your Enterprise Search System Doesn’t Work, by Stephen Arnold, which we released in April (and which is not free – but a great deal!).
We have 5 more reports in the works to be published in the next couple of months, and realized we needed a home for this new series of publications. While you can find most anything on our site with our Google custom search, we have reports going back to 1993, as well as many other types of publications, and thought a new home for current reports would make for a friendlier site.

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