Enterprise search strategy development – a Research Note

Given the potential benefits and challenges of enterprise search it is surprising that the 2012 Findwise Enterprise Search and Findability survey indicated that only 14% of respondents had a search strategy, though 30% were planning to develop a strategy in 2012/2013.  This result is consistent with the Digital Workplace Trends report from NetStrategyJMC and tends to support the view that search is not seen as a business-critical element.

Search does need to be planned. It is technically challenging, users have high expectations and a high dependency on the success of search and there is going to need to be a substantial investment in personnel for the search support team. It is one of very few enterprise applications that probably everyone in the organisation will use weekly. Enterprise search also bumps into many business operations. The search engine will need to interface with other applications and there are some legal and compliance issues. In the future the boundaries between search, business intelligence and content analytics are going to become increasing blurred and delivering access to enterprise search through mobile devices is going to be essential within a year or so. Web site search also needs to be taken into consideration. In addition SharePoint 2013 is certainly raising the profile of search as organisations begin to access the benefits and challenges of upgrading from SharePoint 2010

This new Research Note sets out a framework for a search strategy but of course the details will be specific to every organisation. It is based on some of the content of my book Enterprise Search and is in effect an annotated checklist of some (but by no means all) of issues that need to be taken into consideration.  At Intranet Focus Ltd. we currently have five projects underway in which the core element is the preparation of a search strategy. Do contact us if you feel our experience could be of assistance to you and your colleagues. Our advice is always vendor-independent.  

Martin White