The survey was conducted between July and August 2009 and involved 118 companies that had implemented enterprise search.
The ratings are based on four criteria: the difference in time the respondent spent searching for information at the time of the survey and a year earlier; the difference in time spent by staff searching for information in the same time frame; search solution performance, tuning time, and set-up time; and changes in customer support costs.
The top 20% of companies using enterprise search achieved notable productivity gains: executives surveyed spent six hours less personally looking for information each week, compared to a one hour reduction reported by executives at companies not among the best performers; and staff at top performing companies spent 28 hours less searching for information each week, compared to a one hour reduction at other companies.
At top performing companies, 67% of searches returned the most relevant results on the first search results page, while lower rated companies saw relevant results on the first page for only 42% of searches.
Leading companies also saw a 15% reduction in support costs, compared to a 3% increase among other companies.
A common approach at organizations placing among the top users of enterprise search was striving to create a single view of all enterprise assets. Sixty-seven percent of top 20 companies did this, compared to 27% of the non-leaders.
David White, senior research analyst for the Aberdeen Group and the author of the report, said that Google dominates enterprise search among smaller companies while Microsoft dominates in larger organizations.