The topic of Enterprise Search has been a near-constant topic for me throughout my career as an analyst. What we can say for sure is that every organization has a search engine (or several), no organization could imagine not having a search engine, yet very few are happy with their search experience.
Searching the web, in contrast, seems simple. For all their flaws almost everyone relies on Google or Bing to search and find information every day of their lives. Indeed the question most often asked in the enterprise is “Why can’t our in house search engine work like Google?”. The answer to that is that enterprise search is nothing like Google, heck even Google decided to get out of the Enterprise Search game when it canned its Google Search Appliance product. So the question we might be asking is, “If even Google has given up on Enterprise Search, can it ever be fixed?”.
I’m going to be cautiously optimistic here and state boldly that yes Enterprise Search can be fixed. But the caution comes from the sheer complexity of fixing enterprise search. It isn’t going to be easy, but good search is not only of incremental value to employee productivity, but it can also be genuinely transformative and indeed critical to an organization. It’s a problem that is worth fixing.
So I am excited to announce that my long time partner in crime Kashyap Kompella (RPA2AI) and enterprise search legend Martin White (Intranet Focus) will be collaborating together with Deep Analysis in 2020 to tackle this knotty problem. We have recently been working hard on a new positioning report (State of the Market) to be published in the next few weeks. This will then be followed by a unique global research project to truly understand the search challenges organizations face today and to define concrete steps to resolve them. The study is ambitious the first of its kind, tackling usability, findability, the technical challenges of distributed content, AI, to analyzing and parsing results.
So if you are one of the many dealing with the challenge of delivering enterprise search, struggling to use your firm’s search engine or one of the technology firms building, selling and supporting enterprise search, keep an eye out for our upcoming report and consider reaching out to us. At this point, we are sponges waiting to absorb information and viewpoints. The best research comes from an open mind and listening ears and that is what we are bringing to this work. Three opinionated analysts for sure, but also three analysts that don’t yet know all of the questions to be asked, let alone the answers. For this research and its eventual findings to be of value, the effort needs to be collaborative. So consider this an invitation to collaborate.
2020 is going to be an important year for enterprise search, after a time in the doldrums interest is picking up rapidly. In some cases technologists are now promising that AI can solve all the traditional problems (it can’t), in other long disproven approaches are resurfacing as new solutions, Google is back with the launch of Google Cloud Search, and Microsoft has announced its ambitious Project Turing initiative. To top it all, the former king of enterprise search Dr. Mike Lynch, once CEO of infamous Autonomy, recently handed himself over for extradition on fraud charges to the Department of Justice in the US. So one way or another enterprise search is going to be headline news again this year! Let’s work together to ensure the news is ultimately good news.
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