Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Enterprise Search vs Centralized Systems
It is the known fact that data is doubling every 18 months, and that unstructured information volumes grow six times faster than structured. Employees spend too much time, about 20% of their time, on average, looking for, not finding and recreating information. Once they find the information, 42% of employees report having used the wrong information, according to a recent survey.
To combat this reality, for years, companies have spent hundreds of thousands, even millions, to move data to centralized systems, in an effort to better manage and access its growing volumes, only to be disappointed as data continues to proliferate outside of that system. In fact, in a recent survey by the Technology Services Industry Association, more than 90% of its members have a single support knowledgebase in place, yet the report decreases in critical customer service metrics, due to the inability to quickly locate the right knowledge and information to serve customers.
Despite best efforts to move data to centralized platforms, companies are finding that their knowledgebase runs throughout enterprise systems, departments, divisions and newly acquired subsidiaries. Knowledge is stored offline in laptops, in emails and archives, intranets, file shares, CMS, CRM systems, ERPs, home-grown systems and many others across departments and across the countries of the world.
Add to this the proliferation of enterprise application use (including social networks, wikis, blogs and more) throughout organizations and it is no wonder that efforts to consolidate data into a single knowledgebase, a single "version of the truth" have failed... and at a very high price.
The bottom line is, moving data into a single knowledgebase is a losing battle. There remains a much more successful way to effectively manage your knowledge ecosystem, all without moving data. The key to it is to stop moving data by combining structured and unstructured information from virtually any enterprise system, including social networks, into a central, unified index. Think of it as an indexing layer that sits above all enterprise systems, from which services can be provided to multiple departments, each configured to that department’s specific needs.
This approach enables dashboards, focused on various business departments and processes, which contain just-in-time analytics and 360-degree information about, for example, a customer or a prospective customer. Such composite views of information provide new, actionable perspectives on many business processes, including overall corporate governance. The resulting position of key metrics and information improve decision making and operational efficiency.
This approach allows IT departments to leverage their existing technologies, and avoid significant costs associated with system integrations and data migration projects. It also helps companies avoid pushing their processes into a one-size-fits-all, framework. With configurable dashboards, companies decide how,what, and where information and knowledge are presented, workflows are enabled, and for what groups of employees.
Information monitoring and alerts facilitate compliance. There is virtually no limit to the type of information and where it is pulled from, into the central, unified and, highly secure—index: structured, unstructured, from all corporate email, .PST files, archives, on desktops and in many CRMs, CMS, knowledgebases, etc.
Enterprise applications have proliferated throughout organizations, becoming rich with content. And yet all of that knowledge and all of that content remain locked within the community, often not even easily available to the members themselves. It is possible to leverage the knowledge of communities in enterprise search efforts. User rankings, best bets and the ability to find people through the content they create are all social search elements that provide the context that employees and customers have come to expect from their interactions with online networks.
Once you have stopped moving data and created the central index, you would be able to provide your employees with the access to pertinent information and knowledge. For many organizations, employees spend most of their time in Outlook. Other organizations with large sales teams need easy access to information on the road.
Also valuable is the ability to conduct secure searches within enterprise content directly from a BlackBerry, including guided navigation. Even when systems are disconnected, including laptops, users can easily find information from these systems, directly from their mobile devices. Again, without moving data, organizations can enjoy immediate, instant access to pertinent knowledge and information, anywhere, anytime.