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Digital Transformation

Gartner PCC: Enterprise Search That Works

Whit Andrews is a great presenter whose focus is on search, video, and a number of other topics.


Enterprise search is now mature.  The number of Google searches for the term enterprise search peaked over 4 years ago. The point is that search is now an adult technology which should be granted a level of maturity.  Question though, now that it’s all grown up, how can it achieve it’s potential.

Trends and future of search

Conversation – The conversation doesn’t start with the search result. It’s just reporting on it.

Transparency – why did I get these results back. In other words, how did these results get back to me? What drove that result

Federation – this is the recognition that it’s worthwhile to mesh different search results together in an overarching exercise. This can be very difficult.

These trends point to the maturity of the market.  Even the process of an enterprise search project is mature.  They know what to do.   They know best practices.  They have established how to continue to evolve search and results in an enterprise.

Best Practices

Look for tangible value in your use cases.  Look at cost facing and revenue facing value.  This could be call time reduction from you customer contact center or competitive intelligence improvements which drive revenue enhancement.

What value does it bring

  • Define what kind of vendor you want.  Is it one project or multiple projects?  Is there tangible value?  Is it intangible?  Is it a search based application?

If a team project then spend 30 days for demos and go.  Think $60,000 for license and services

If a search application then do demos, an RFP, a POC then buy and install.

If a CIO approved project then demos, RFP, test and select.  Maybe $30,000 services plus whatever license is needed.

If a strategic platform then demos, RFP, POC, Buy/install, pilot, release and repeat. this is $500,000 to $3,000,000 depending on needs.


Microsoft gets you 3 servers for approximately $75,000. Google will give you $30,000 per server.  That’s the baseline for a tactical search project.

How are organizations implementing search?

Houston Academy of Medicine – Texas Medical Center Library

They had 100 content sources available and  need to securely search across all these sources.  They started with their information architects (otherwise known as librarians). They then took their most important sources and federated them.  They normalized the results to pull out duplicate results.  Then put out results as link or with conceptual clustering.  This was very successful. They gave users access to credible sources they could never find before.

Capitol One

Capitol One wanted to cut the call time.  If they could make it easier to find information, they could change the training approach.  The approach started with measuring the current call time.  They phased the project and used real workers to score the product.  That included a content analysis and creation team.  (IT and business staff).  They picked a tactical solution that was much cheaper than the big search companies.

The results were terrific.  They cut call time by seconds which in call centers is huge.  They cut training time from 8 weeks to 6 weeks.  They have information on null results and figure out where they need to add content.

UK National Health Service

They needed to increase the use of authoritative evidence for medicine.  Their problem was they had a short staff. They hired a CTO and then hired external consultants.  They were not able to measure the results at the beginning but were able to meet their deadlines.  The project was significantly used by members.

Best Practice: Start with Staff.  They are the smart ones. You have to have the right people. They can then help to scope the project, select a tool, and implement it.

Best Practice: Scope and show management for the project.

Best Practice: select strategically

Best Practice: Implementing is never done.  (I completely agree with this. Search especially needs multiple iterations to implement and improve.)

Best Practice: Measure once, twice, and again.  Measure before and after.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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