Why Is It So Hard To Be Found?Why Is It So Hard To Be Found?
Across various industries, the one thing I always hear customers say is "How can I make sure I'm found?" This applies to both internet searches and searches within the firewall. Everyone wants their content to be found, read, appreciated and remembered.
May 5, 2008
Across various industries, the one thing I always hear customers say is "How can I make sure I'm found?" This applies to both internet searches and searches within the firewall. Everyone wants their content to be found, read, appreciated and remembered.For something so critical to content as search, you'd think that companies would have more to show for it than misguided enterprise search implementations and the now accepted verb "Googled". I've been around enterprise technology and software for a while and I've always had a hard time getting my arms around the space, much less the application of specific search-oriented approaches.
Sam Mefford, a search consultant with Avalon Consulting, made me feel a little better recently when he told me, "I'm moving away from the terminology Enterprise Search wherever possible, and moving to just Search, because most organizations simply aren't ready for Enterprise Search." After talking to him, it seems the challenge for enterprise search is the same as for other enterprise software sectors: A lot of work was put into technology and software development but the needs of users have largely been ignored. He says most studies show users spend up to 15% of their time searching, with half of that spent dealing with fruitless searches. Mefford told InformationWeek most clients have been focused on "Unified Search" which often relates to a one-size-fits-all approach. "It's important to start building 'search applications' that are more customized to specific user goals. We think it's better to help our clients develop very tailored applications that really empower end users." And that's where where the part about other software sectors comes into play. Enterprise content management (ECM), for example, has been plagued from day one with clunky user experiences and a general lack of detail when it comes to satisfying business users. Too many times, companies either lead with the technology or don't start with the right roadmap to define specific business objectives. I'm hearing from more search vendors these days that tell me they're starting engagements with content audits and other assessments that clearly lay out goals and objectives. By incorporating that level of front-end analysis, stakeholders can be unified with a common terminology and vision, something that increases buy-in and long-term adoption of the search solution. As much as I've grappled with enterprise search in the past, it really comes down to one thing. Don't do enterprise search for the sake of saying you have a search strategy in place. Before you enter the search game, let your users help you write the playbook. Full disclosure: I currently work with Avalon Consulting on various marketing communications projects.
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