The rise of enterprise search has put an increasing focus on searching ever broader collections of content and documents within organisations.
While enterprise search projects generally start with simple intranet search, attention quickly moves to searching document management systems, collaboration tools, business systems and fileshares.
Underpinning this work is the belief (or hope) that business value will be delivered to users by deploying a more extensive search tool.
Unfortunately it is often the case that searching more is not better than searching less.
This briefing will look at some of the challenges involved in implementing enterprise search, and provide practical tips on how to proceed.
Relevance and value
The fundamental goal of any search tool is to provide users with useful and relevant search results.
Within the enterprise, this means finding valuable information across the many different repositories, sources and systems.
The difficulty is that increasing the amount of information being searched almost always reduces the relevance of search results. Once called the ‘Altavista effect’, this was seen in the millions of hits generated for any set of terms entered into that search engine.
This is equally significant within an enterprise, and the challenge is to maintain (or improve) relevance as the volume of information grows.
Consideration also needs to be given to user needs and expectations. What types of queries are being entered into the enterprise search, and what sorts of results are expected? Gaining a deeper understanding of these questions helps to shed light on what to search, and how.
[CM Briefing 2008-05, read the full article]