In the epoch of Big Data, organisations seem to be searching for needles in a bunch of haystacks when it comes to effective and relevant use of data available with the ushering in of social computing, mobility, cloud adoption, and the use of other collaborative platforms. Leaders have prioritised this issue as their success hinges on how they are driving value from both the unstructured and structured data.
Though there is continuous advancement of search technologies, there is inherent complexity in the nature of language because it is full of ambiguity, contradiction, multiple meanings, and many contexts. Moreover, the complex IT setting, accompanied with the evolving trends within time periods as short as few months, have rendered traditional search and knowledge management solutions ineffectual and resulting in productivity loss. However, one should not confuse between Web/Consumer search and Enterprise search. Enterprise search technology provides a user interface for users’ queries to find and retrieve relevant, contextualised information in order to gain instant access from various public source (website, www) and enterprise sources such as content management systems, email archives, enterprise databases, and file servers to identify and, in the process, perform light analysis and since not all users have the same access rights, metadata files are created across different repositories of information. This search enables retrieval from heterogeneous sources of information and results are ranked based on a complex algorithm, which can be customized by many factors, for instance, industry taxonomy, business rules, date and author.
With traditional keyword based searches, the scientific backbone is missing due to limited connectivity to diverse content repositories and different file formats, inability to address security requirements and user privileges, inability to reduce time to go-live, problems in scalability of plethora of information, and customisation to meet specific business and/or industry needs.
A study by Grand View Research (2015) reveals that BFSI leads the enterprise search market worldwide and will continue to have double digit growth rate in future, as illustrated on the graph (left).
Enterprise search is not a one-time activity. It is a process that the CTO team needs to continuously enhance to ensure that the workforce is not spending time on non-value added activities. Most of the large organisations concur with this thought which is why such organisations are estimated to have a significant growth, whereas SMEs are likely to exhibit a steady growth over the next six years, as indicated by the same study.
A few important suppliers in this market are IBM, Coveo, Concept Searching, HP Autonomy, Lucidworks, Attivio, Perceptive Software Incorporated. The vendors offer a bouquet of social, mobile, cloud and information and impact the information-centric enterprise search market substantially. According to a Gartner report, revenue in the enterprise search market is predicted to reach $2.6 billion in 2017 fuelled by a compound annual growth rate of 11.2%.
The delivery models, including software for installation on customers' premises, hardware-based appliances, and installations on the infrastructure of cloud service providers are the differentiators among the vendors. The figure (on the right) shows the vendors placed in four quadrants based on Gartner’s two broad evaluation criteria , namely, ability to execute (includes completeness of products and their success in terms of customers' experiences, vendors’ Sales Execution/Pricing) and completeness of vision (agility and creativity). Buyers’ expectations are gradually hiking with an increased drive for contextualisation and connecting the traditional and unconventional data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Companies aim at strategic collaboration to offer a combination of mass market solutions along with serving niche markets. While choice of the product is of paramount importance,the value of implementation partner and service provider cannot be undermined.
Hence the technology think tank needs to work closely with procurement to develop a process to measure the depth of the experience and skill that the vendor brings on the table.
Author: Debaleena Debnath
Debaleena is a digital media consultant @ speradigital.
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