Magazine article Information Today

Search and the Strategic Value to the Enterprise

Magazine article Information Today

Search and the Strategic Value to the Enterprise

Article excerpt

It's impossible to know how much content on your intranet or corporate Web site people need to find, but can't. What is known is the amount of critical information generated across an enterprise continues to multiply like never before. According to IDC and Delphi Group, the average knowledge worker now spends an astonishing 25% of his or her day looking for information. But how much of that information is embedded in documents that have been forgotten, mislabeled or misplaced? How much is locked in incompatible repositories, on dedicated servers or individual desktops--and as a result is unavailable to employees, partners or customers, because it takes too much work to find it?

In many business environments, people struggle to find the content they need with the tools they already have in place. But consider human nature: If people are frustrated because they can't get the information they need, they simply quit looking. Or if they find what they're looking for too late, they may never again turn to that search method.

Multiply that inaction by the number of people in an enterprise and the results can be devastating--in terms of lost productivity, missed opportunities, faulty decisions and duplicated effort. It's remarkable how much value can be lost from a single Web page, spreadsheet or document that's not available to the people who need it the most.

On the IT side, an enterprise search solution that isn't delivering the information people need can be equally damaging.

Despite some recent improvement in the economy, budgets remain tight and IT staffing lean. There continues to be little tolerance for any integration, training or maintenance challenges that would unnecessarily burden limited IT resources. Of course, no vendor would make claims for an enterprise search solution with these negatives attached. So IT managers should be rightfully cautious regarding the universal claim of great ROI that many enterprise search solution companies make.

Today, three out of four Internet users use Google.com to find what they need on the Web. When consumers are confident with the way a technology works, they tend to use it, rely on it, and tell others about it. If they aren't comfortable, they don't use it. Even though enterprise users are often unable to choose their tools, this same behavior holds true for them. High adoption rates drive ROI and IT managers can attest to poor ROI when corporate users are slow to adopt unpopular or ineffective tools.

The Google Search Appliance

Using the same technology that powers Google.com, the Google Search Appliance is a plug-and-play enterprise search solution that integrates hardware, software and support. The Google Search Appliance was designed to deliver the most relevant content possible, no matter how large an enterprise. To achieve that goal, the Google Search Appliance crawls content on intranets and enterprise Web sites, capturing data on highly distributed, heterogeneous networks in a single coherent view.

Document creators and administrators previously had to manually weight, rank or tweak content to ensure efficient retrieval. A come-as-you-are approach to indexing makes far more sense. After all, data that requires a laborious makeover to be included in search results is not only going to be time intensive, it will be costly. Unless an enterprise search solution makes deploying content as easy as finding it, there's no competitive advantage.

ROI--People Finding Answers.

In today's cost-sensitive environment, no enterprise can afford to waste resources or miss opportunities. So removing the barriers and frustration that keeps people from the content they need is vital. Helping everyone in an enterprise to quickly and efficiently find the relevant information they need benefits your organization internally in countless ways: improved decision-making, less duplication of work, increased revenues and customer satisfaction. …

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