Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enterprise Search Summit 2012

Enterprise Search Summit is an annual event held in New York City, now in its 8th year. The focus of the conference is on real world experiences. It is a forum where business owners of enterprise search technology can share experiences, and develop insight on the future of search technology.
I had the privilege of attending, and presenting, this year. I saw three main themes from the presentations I attended. 
  1. We are not alone.
  2. Semantic web technology is moving away from cutting edge and towards mainstream.
  3. Mobile search is key for intranets to deliver value.
On the theme of "we are not alone", Kristian Norling of Findwise presented some initial results from a survey he conducted with Enterprise Search product managers. In the survey, the majority reported poor user experience with search, significant need for information retrieval, and minimal staffing.  He was kind enough to post his slides on Slideshare.
Results from the Enterprise Search and Findability Survey
View more presentations from Findwise
On the theme of Semantic Web concepts becoming mainstream, Tom Reamy presented on applying semantics to search text analytics - showing how to leverage semantic relationships with your search engine to provide better results. This is a mechanism to leverage the existing taxonomy and metadata within the content to provide business value and improve findability. These concepts are core to a Knowledge environment.
With mobile search, there were two great presentations. The first was by Colin Jeavons focused on the need for mobile search. By 2015 there will be 2 billion mobile devices across the globe. 
Should we deny our users the ability to use these devices access to our internal resources? 

The key differences are that mobile search is browse & go, not sit back and browse, it is expected to be precise based on location and expectations are being set by Siri for direct response to the users search queries.
The second mobile presentation was from Tyler Tate of Twigkat. He focused on direct UI changes required for mobile search, and was kind enough to post his presentation on Slideshare as well.
My presentation focused on practical steps any enterprise search team could undertake, with minimal budget, to improve the findability of their content. It focused on the challenges we faced, the solutions we implemented and the results of those solutions. I have shared this presentation on Slideshare, if you are interested.  
The material was well received. There were a number of thoughtful questions probing on how to implement the same solutions within other environments and a few people who were not at the conference have asked for the material based on the feedback from Twitter and LinkedIn.